Even the crowded plane and the guy sitting next to me nursing a bad cold could not dampen my spirits. I had wrapped Christmas presents in gold paper and attached golden bells that jangled and jingled as I marched through the airport. Friends on Facebook had warned that these would be opened but I sailed through the TSA checks without a hitch. I popped Zicam pills every couple of hours to protect myself against the poor suffering man sitting next to me, and arrived at Heathrow early, finding my taxi driver almost immediately. Mum’s little house was the only one in the close lit up brightly when we arrived about midnight and it was the early hours of the morning that saw us finally going to bed after many hugs and cups of tea.
We did run out to get service for my iPhone. It was great to be ‘live’ again but my joy was short lived. The reception was fine in Castlepoint where I got my EE SIM card but as soon as we got back to Mum’s house the bars dropped on my phone and the service almost died. Apparently underneath Mum’s house and the surrounding properties lies the UK’s largest military oil reserve. At the back of Mum’s property I could see an electric fence a few yards away and this circles the base. It’s put out that this is a fire training ground but no-one’s seen any fire trucks go in. There’s often guards at the entry point, helicopters overhead and dogs are sometimes heard barking from within. A siren goes off at noon every Friday. I found a history of the site here. I think this site must affect my phone signal and internet but haven’t had the opportunity to ask neighbors. I met Godwin across the road who is friends with Mum, but forgot to mention it. I found it very annoying at first but after a couple of days I started enjoying my ‘technology break’. I just checked e-mails occasionally when we left the village.
Bett and I drove straight to Phil’s where I finally met his Mum, Joyce. We’ve been exchanging Christmas and Birthday cards with e-mails for years but never met. Yet it seemed like we had known each other for ages, it was lovely to finally see her. We all chatted over coffee, reminiscing on the past and laughing. Phil is in the photo above, dressed in his Fez Head Morris dancing gear.
The rest of the weekend passed in a blur of love, hugs, laughing over memories, more hugs, Kenny Cramps cider, and just an overall atmosphere of loving friends and family. I have 2 adopted families in Maidstone, Dad Derrick who has always been like a second father to me and the Bosmans, my dear friend Cathy who took me in when I was 18 years old and whose wonderful family treated me like one of their own.
The next morning DD took me for breakfast then later saw me off dosed up with coffee and aspirin. I picked up Boo and we headed off to Cathy's house where she greeted me at her open door with arms held out even before I stepped on her pathway. It was lovely to hug my old friend again and before I knew it we were following her and Phil to brother Billy's house in Harrietsham.