In my fabric cell I'm returning things to my hospital bag when my mobile rings. I gingerly try to retrieve it before disturbing the other women on the ward. I move with the ease of a woman who's just been sawn in half. The scar on my stomach throbs and shock has stopped my legs from working properly.
In the clear plastic cot by my bed is my little pink bundle with masses of black hair - my nan was right, heartburn did mean a hairy baby.
My phone located I see it's my sister and when I answer it she says to me 'Can you hear it?' At her end she turns the music up in her kitchen & I hear Jona Lewis singing his famous Christmas song. 'Can you hear it?' she repeats. 'Yes' I reply, 'it's Christmas'. 'Had you heard it before?' my big sister asks. 'No' I replied 'I thought Christmas had been cancelled this year'. 'No it hasn't' she sobbed 'and you've given us all the best present'.
For as long as I can remember Jona Lewie has meant it's Christmas. The least Christmassy of Christmas songs about troops in the trenches in WWI it just resonates with me.
I remember my nan making us all get down on the floor to do the 'Oops upside your head' dance to it
I remember the desaturated 80s video
I remember being with my mate Phil driving home from university for Christmas & playing on the radio.
'It's officially Christmas' I declare once I have heard it.
I didn't know that my sister felt the same about it until a few years ago but it's a tradition now. We text each other to say 'Radio 2 now, Jona Lewie'. I got a text from her yesterday telling me that she's heard half of it now so it's a fraction Christmas.
Listening to it on CD is OK (as I am doing right now), but an impromptu broadcast makes it official.