When I was 11 we went to spend Christmas with my aunt and uncle in Canada. My grandmother had died the previous Christmas, and my parents were able to take a holiday. Things were going well for them financially so they could afford a family trip across the ocean.
Our plane was the last one allowed to land at Montreal due to heavy snow, so we were lucky not to be diverted to Toronto. Back home in England the country was enjoying strikes and power cuts and shortages; in Canada we were treated like heroic refugees, and provided with cakes and sweets and inquisitive sympathy, much to our bemusement.
However, there were no other children to play with so I kept myself busy on my own. The snow was a revelation; we never had heavy snow at home in London’s suburbs, although what we did have was wet and made excellent snowballs. The Canadian variety was dry and powdery and my uncle had to water it for me before I could build a snowman.
When I wasn’t outside exploring the strange new world of toboggans and ice hockey, I was in the basement with the record player. For some reason I had brought two records with me from England. Both were chart hits, and the better of the two was this song. It was a voice from home, alien to the new world I found myself in, but robustly linking me to England and English Christmases, the best in the world.