I was in a garden centre in September and the day I was in, they were putting out their Christmas decorations. I started to feel just a little bit smug and thought to myself, "This has nothing to do with me this year." The day before this garden centre visit, I booked a diving holiday in Egypt for the three of us.
We'll be leaving on the 18th of December and will return on the 26th. Yes, we're going to be away for Christmas. I don't want anybody to think that we're not celebrating Christmas this year, we're just celebrating in an unusual way.
There are a couple of reasons why we're going to celebrate Christmas by going diving. Henry and I have come to diving later in life than most divers do. We have a limited amount of time to enjoy the sport so we like to grasp the opportunity when we can. Once you've been forced to stop diving by age and infirmity, you can't go back. If we continue to enjoy good health, Henry has about 10 years of diving left in him. After this happens, we don't want to look back with regret at not grasping each and every opportunity to dive.
The other thing is the vulgar commercialism of Christmas. If one considers how much is spent on food, drink, tree, decorations, lights for the house, Christmas cards and presents, it all adds up to the cost of a nice holiday in the sun.
Photograph of a Regal Angel fish that I took in July 2006 in the Red Sea.
We've never been able to leave the house in the winter before now. In the past we had a heating system that was run by a coal fire in the stove. The stove or range heated the boiler and that warmed six radiators and the domestic hot water. If we weren't here to keep the fire going, then the house got cold pretty quickly. If we left the house for a few days, it took AGES for the house to heat back up again and there was always the worry of burst water pipes. But since last year, we have a proper central heating system with thermostats and a nice big Belgian oil burning furnace.