For the first time in eight years we were not responsible. Christmas happened without us. Poplar is always full on at Christmas, particularly Christmas day trying to create family for those who really are on the edge in one way or another. But we are no longer at Poplar and Christmas happened without us!
I am fast realising that our eight years at Poplar formed me far deeper than I realised. We couldn't not do anything on Christmas day so we helped out at Camberwell Salvation Army. We picked up and helped out - to be honest we missed the responsibility but it was good to be a support to Southwark and Camberwell SA.
Perhaps there weren't the same characters but nevertheless as most years the kind of characters that have nowhere to go at Christmas give far more to me than they probably realise. Slobbery dentureless kisses from flirty 80 year old's are priceless!!
My highlight on Christmas day however came at the end of the day when one of the other volunteers thought I was a 'punter' and gave me one of the presents that she had just carefully wrapped!
While we were at TSA - Grandma and Grandad did a sterling job of looking after our girls, however, it seems that eight years at Poplar has shaped my 11 year old daughter, Bethan.
"Dad, can I come with you next year - Christmas didn't seem right really!!"