Christmas 2019

When my father died in 1985, the remnants of my family fractured and three years later I left home. I found myself living in the northern county of West Yorkshire, a place very different from my hometown of Cambridge. It was there that I spent one of the loneliest years of my life. I lived in a small terraced house in the Sandal district of Wakefield, and slept in a small room that backed on to the railway line. Thirty years later, I can still remember the feeling of lying in the dark, listening to the trains speeding down to London and wishing I was on one of them. Eventually I was.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

Whilst I went north, unbeknown to me my mother went west. Hereford is a small cathedral city that lies about 16 miles east of the border with Wales. To me, it feels remote and isolated, but that’s only because I’ve spent so many years living in and around London. For my mother, she’s managed to create a happy life there over the last three decades. It was, however, many years before I was able to visit her there.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

My blood family now only really comprises my mother, my niece, and myself. Over the last five or six years we’ve spent Christmas together in Hereford. For the three of us, it’s sort of become traditional.

A tradition doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s been going on for generations. I think you can make your own traditions. What’s more important is how long you want it to continue, rather than how long it’s been going on. My mother is 86 now, but I’m hoping for many more Christmases together.

That’s what I wanted to talk about.

Christmas 2019 / Nunnington, Hereford / Fujifilm X100F