We went back to Glasgow last weekend to help Dad and Anne decorate their tree and see some friends.
The younger-than-us people sitting across from us on the train thought we were Mormon, because of Sarge’s beard. We figured they meant Amish, but further figured they were too drunk to compare and contrast. We arrived in Glasgow laughing and cold, with some doughnuts to test on my people. The second batch looked more like doughnuts. So much more that Sarge wanted me to get a picture of them. I didn’t.
We got to the house and had doughnuts with eggnog. And I actually got that warm feeling inside that meant the holidays had arrived in my heart and mind. And maybe it meant I was a little tipsy, too.
We then decided to put the tree in the stand, and spent a lot of time and problem-solving skills trying to make it fit and not fall over.
‘If we wedge a door-stop in there, saw a bit off the end…’
Sarge volunteered to do the actual sawing, and ended up with a band-aid on his hand, after ‘grazing’ it. I said his injury meant he had to repeat it next year.
For my part, I sat in the middle of the living room eating chocolate mints and saying, ‘No, it’s crooked…yes, it’s fine…no, it’s crooked again.’ I’m not the best person for the job.
When we went to bed, the tree was up. Without decorations on it. I wonder if naked Christmas trees will be a new family tradition.
The next morning, the gift I ordered for my Dad arrived. Before we left, he asked to open it.
On the way to meet friends at a coffee-shop, I took a picture of what the world looks like. It’s one of my favourite shots of the year.
I then had hot chocolate at the coffee-shop and talked about the snow and other things with friends until it was time to get the train back to Edinburgh. The train stopped, and we met friends at the pub, where I declared, ‘It’s too cold to snow tonight.’ I’m eating those words.
On Sunday, there was another snow dump on the way to the book-group. Even though Invisible was my choice this month, all I remember saying at the meeting is, ‘I can’t feel my face.’
Sarge and I went to the shops after books and coffee and thawing out. Christmas shopping that isn’t online might not be the best thing for even the strongest relationships.
‘Right, wanna break up?’ I asked.
I then realised what I’d said.
‘I meant, in the shop. In the shop. For shopping. On second thought, let’s shop together. Don’t go.’
I wanted to get something else for him in case the stuff I bought online and without misunderstandings didn’t arrive. I told him to pick a DVD . Because I didn’t want to break up in the shop. Or anywhere. He picked something. And his real gift arrived the next day.
That was the day my front wheels began to squeak and rebel against all the snow and salt they’ve had to contend with. Beautiful and photogenic snow makes for angry wheels.
And Sarge came home with a can of WD-40, saying it was the least romantic gift he would ever give me. It actually made me giddy. Because nothing says ‘I love you’ like a can of WD-40.
Sarge: Made White Russians (Kahlúa over ice, with added vodka and fresh milk, finished with cinnamon.) Turned pint glass into doughnut cutter. Prepared to fry doughnuts in wok by making doughnut holes with spirit measurer, previously used in making of White Russians.
Lorna: Took pictures. Hummed the theme to The Odd Couple, for a possibly apparent reason.
Sarge: Filled the wok with oil and guestimated temperature. Finally fried doughnuts.
Lorna and Sarge: Watched The Big Lebowski with The Big White Russians while eating some of The Big Doughnuts.
I realise I didn’t do much except record the whole thing for posterity and provide the random soundtrack.
It got lighter in the summer and darkened in the winter. By the time I was eight it no longer changed with the seasons, no matter how much lemon juice my Nana squeezed on my head. Maybe that’s why I felt such infinity with fish as a child.
My favourite doll was a redheaded kilt-wearing thing of beauty from the ‘International Collection’. I wanted her hair. When I was ten, I called my own hair ‘the definition of non-descript’. The ‘blonder highlights’ my cousin put in when I was eleven just looked fake to me, and actually fried my hair.
I moved to Scotland and wanted red hair, wanted the hair my Grandma had in her graduation photo. I’ve since been told that it was painted over using ‘artistic licence’. But it was still my Holy Grail of Hair. Grandma and my old kilted doll.
So began my relationship with the box/gloves/various hairdressers I really miss.
I’ve always liked the red side of the colour wheel. Being red has always made me feel more confident. If I needed a pick-me-up, I would make an appointment to ‘brighten up’. Four hours later, I emerge from salon with hair that should come with a UV warning.
I’ve been every colour on the chart from chilli to plum and other food colourings, to ’54’ and ‘63’. Like I said, red shades to me equalled confidence and brightness, easy laughter with an air of mystery. It also meant £80 and four hours of salon-time every six weeks. Or two boxes of store-bought colour, gloves, and the help of friends who now know my hair is indeed as thick and stubborn as it looks.
I’ve always thought the time and money and stories and blackmail photos were a good investment.
But I’ve forgotten what my actual colour is. The one after the roots. Sarge asked me once, and I couldn’t tell him. And then I got curious.
And so, I’ve let my hair go. This may not be the time to do such a thing, with holiday photo opportunities around the corner. I’ve decided I don’t care, and I don’t want to chop my hair off and make the roots less ‘noticeable’. They’re my roots, I like them.
I think I should turn 30 knowing what colour my hair really is these days. I can be confident and full of laughs no matter what my hair colour is. However, considering I’ve just written a bunch of words about the state of my head for all to read, I should perhaps work on that air of mystery!