It was in the early hours of Christmas morning when I was awoken by a loud crash from the direction of the chimney breast.
I look around and my wife who is a very light sleeper hadn’t stirred.
Now given the time of the year and the time of night someone younger or more impressionable might have thought it was Father Christmas about his work in the chimney.
However being a grizzled old cynic I thought it more likely to be either a burglar or perhaps the wind blowing over my chimney or even subsidence.
I lay awake for about ten minutes trying to work out what the noise was and hearing no further noises I decided it must have been a dream and went back to sleep.
A few hours later awoken suddenly again this time by three excitement crazed children dragging their sacks of presents behind them on thing was for sure there would be no return to sleep after this disturbance.
When the children had opened all their stocking presents they rushed off downstairs for breakfast leaving a scene of devastation behind them.
After breakfast I went back upstairs and showered and then went into the bedroom to dress for the day.
On opening the wardrobe door I discovered the source of the crash that had woken me up several hours earlier.
The rail in the wardrobe had collapsed and all the clothes were in a heap at the bottom on top of the shoes.
“So it wasn’t a dream then” I said to myself.
Five minutes later and wearing a slightly creased shirt I made my way back downstairs to what sounded like bedlam.
The rest of the morning went according to plan; the children opened their main presents from under the tree and disappeared off to play with their favourites.
By twelve o’clock the dining table was laid complete with my late mother’s best table cloth, Christmas napkins, party favours, best china, glassware and the brand new table centre while emanating from the kitchen was the sound of steam rattling the saucepan lids together with the mouth-watering aroma of roasting Turkey.
In the lounge my wife was holding court with myself and her parents looking on as she was opening the few presents that still remained.
I left the group to go and boil the kettle for a drink as I entered the kitchen I looked at the electric cooker and there was one ring lit with nothing on it so I checked the other rings to make sure that the saucepan with the potatoes had heat under it which it did.
So I went to switch off the vacant ring only to discover it was already switched off.
Now there had been a little water spilled on the hob from where one of the pans had begun to boil over so I mopped up the spillage and using reverse psychology I turned the rogue ring on believing this would in fact turn it off, it didn’t it just tripped the breaker in the meter cupboard instead.
I went to the cupboard and reset the breaker and it tripped immediately.
So then we decided to wait for ten minutes before we repeated the exercise which ended with the same result.
It was decided that we could not use the cooker as it was just too dangerous.
With my wife almost in tears I said “it’s not the end of the world darling, and nobody died”.
So with true Dunkirk spirit we made the best of a bad situation.
As luck would have it the Turkey was cooked as was the stuffing, sausages and the Potatoes where boiled.
The remaining vegetables we were able to cook in the microwave and all we had to forgo were the roast potatoes and parsnips.
Now it wasn’t the most successful Christmas lunch we ever had but it could have been a lot worse.
“Bad things always come in three’s” I think we all thought it but equally all refrained from saying it out loud.
The next day, Sunday, passed off without incident for us anyway, my wife had to hit the stores in the Boxing Day sales to choose a new cooker.
Its late in the evening when, sitting down in front of the TV we see the news for the first time that day and we here the dreadful news about the Tsunami for the first time and even then it didn’t even hint at just how big a tragedy it really was.
Two hundred and fifty thousand dead in a heartbeat from Indonesia to sir Lanka and beyond and still counting.
We had our new cooker delivered on Thursday 30th December we were inconvenienced for five whole days.
Five days before normality was restored to our household.
Many of The survivors of the Tsunami will never have their lives restored to what they knew before Boxing Day.
Count your blessing, and make the best of what you have because it’s a lot more than many.