Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Xmas closedown

Another year staggers towards its end and all over London offices are closing for the Christmas holidays. After several freezing days, with ice and frozen snow still on the ground in beautiful Ruislip, it looks as though some slightly warmer weather is on the way to ensure that once again the bookies have a profitable time of it. Although the definition of a "white Christmas" in the UK is, I gather, if a single snowflake falls on the Air Ministry roof. Now how you would tell if one flake falls is beyond me, unless they have a couple of men permanently posted up there with binoculars and flasks of hot tea, like the ARP lookouts during the War. You can imagine them bunkered down near the air conditioning outlets to keep warm, huddled in their greatcoats and balaclavas, trying to write down observations with stiff unyielding fingers in their RAF-issue notebooks with biros that are frozen and rip the paper, constantly scanning the skies for that one elusive white fragment that means so much to those who have once more succumbed to the desire to make futile bets.

"There's one now Sir, coming down from the east"
"No, Thompson, its a piece of paper - check the markings man"
"Sorry sir. But what's that there, by that cloud?"
"My God, could it be...Thompson, can you see it on the binos? Is it?...I think it is. London's certainly going to take a pasting tonight. Get on to Wingco and pass the alert. Those poor civilians down there - it's going to be traffic madness when that flake hits the ground. I'll call Eurostar and stop all trains until February just to be on the safe side"
"It is just the one snowflake sir"
"Thompson, never relax your guard. The cunning devils just want to lull us into a false sense of security. There'll be more on the way. God knows if we can deal with them all. We'll just do our duty Thompson, no-one can do more. "
A harmonica plays softly in the background as the two men gaze up sternly, resolutely, fearing the worst, knowing that the nation is relying on them to see it through.
Fade to black

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