At 6.50 p.m. on December 23rd 1994 I was travelling by train from London to Hastings to spend Christmas with Fiona.
When purchasing my ticket at Charing Cross I noticed a discarded copy of the magazine The Big Issue by the ticket office window.
I picked it up and on the train I started to read an article which outlined several creeds e.g. Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and even Scientology.
It specified that Christianity was unique amongst faiths in that in it alone was there an instance of God reaching out to man.
In all others it was a case of man making his act of supplication towards God.
Having finished the article I flicked on a few pages.
To my surprise I saw a photo of Fiona.
This was another article where public figures spoke about their worst Christmas.
She was unique amongst them in that she had dodged the question and preferred to address her best ever Christmas, saying that she was hoping this would be it, and mentioned having pulled Santa Claus on December 3rd when she had been one of my opponents in a chess simultaneous display that I had given dressed as him.
I then flicked over the page and saw comedienne Jo Brand’s version.
She said that her worst ever Christmas had been when she had missed the last train home from London to Tunbridge Wells and had been forced to spend the night at a youth hostel with her boyfriend. She was turfed out from there the following morning.
Brand was also from Hastings.
As I read her account I glanced up and saw a man, burdened with what I took to be Christmas shopping, half-heartedly toying with the idea of opening the door as the train was starting to pull out of a station. He had arisen from his seat a little too late.
He abandoned the effort and then looked rather sheepishly towards the people sitting around me and asked "Tunbridge Wells is the next station, isn’t it?"
The Big Issue magazine is unique, certainly amongst British publications, in that it is a charity magazine sold only by homeless people with one half of the cover price going to the vendor.
I guess this would have been their Christmas issue.