The fourth and final Colin and Martin Christmas story sees the two men leaving Yorkshire to begin new lives in Australia.
Martin Kellam has no qualms about saying goodbye to what remains of his family, while Colin’s parting gift to Martin’s brother is a well-deserved punch in the nose.
Before leaving, the two men have one final Christmas in London with Colin’s parents, who are pulling out all the stops to make it an occasion to remember.
Martin enjoys teasing his husband. He knows Colin can never resist going in search of presents before Christmas Day. As this is their last winter Christmas, Martin boxes up a lump of coal and puts it somewhere where Colin will find it.
The festivities are brought to an abrupt halt when Colin’s mother reveals disturbing news that throws Colin and Martin’s emigration plans into turmoil.
Despite Martin’s much-needed comfort and reassurance, Colin is torn between family obligation and the future he and Martin have longed for. Can Martin show him that he can have both?
“No, I have no regrets about leaving Yorkshire,” Martin said, rubbing a thumb along the side of Colin’s hand. “There’s maybe one or two regrets about leaving Britain.”
Colin nodded. It hadn’t been an easy decision to make. Colin had found another -- better-paying -- driving job after losing the one with the supermarket. But the time he and Martin had spent on Matt’s sheep station a couple of years earlier had persuaded him that although he didn’t mind being behind the wheel, he was better suited to something in the open air. And you couldn’t get much more open than the huge fields on his Uncle Matt’s property.
“Matt said it’s difficult to get a decent cup of tea in Australia.” Martin said.
Colin laughed, recalling his uncle’s complaints about how he missed a good English cuppa. When they’d visited Matt they’d remembered to pack a large box of PG Tips. And Martin had insisted on them each taking even larger boxes this time. He’d pointed out that the luggage weight allowance was greater for this journey because they were emigrating.
“We’re almost at the border with Lincolnshire,” Colin said a few minutes later. “Want me to stop the car so you can kiss the hallowed turf of Yorkshire one last time?”
“You can kiss my arse.”
Colin flipped on the indicator.
“What are you doing?”
“Pulling over so I can kiss your arse.”
Colin turned off the indicator and continued driving.
The music coming out of the in-car stereo pulled Colin out of his silent farewell to his adopted county. He reached over and pressed the track advance button on the CD player. “Enough!”
Martin chuckled. “Thought you liked Wham!”
“They’re all right, but Last Christmas five times in the past hour is enough to ...” Colin struggled for the right term. “Turn me into a Jehovah’s Witness.”
Martin’s chuckle grew into a full laugh. “Well I like Wham! I bet George Michael looks just like you.”
Colin shook his head. They’d had this discussion many times before. Martin pretended to get a crush on a celebrity, insisting whoever it was looked just like Colin.
Martin reached out and fiddled with the CD player’s buttons.
Colin groaned when the familiar thumping intro came out of the speakers.
* * * *
Martin had worried he might not be accepted by the Australian immigration authorities because of his blindness. That had turned out not to be an issue. When Colin revealed a teenage conviction for assault, this had also caused Martin a few sleepless nights. He needn’t have worried however, because Trent, the agent they’d hired to help them get through the convoluted process, had reassured them that as Colin’s conviction had occurred while he was still a minor, it wouldn’t be taken into account.
“Besides,” Trent had said, chuckling, “I reckon being able to hold your own in a fight will be an advantage down under.”
Colin had laughed; Martin had been less certain.
But Trent had been right; Colin’s brush with the law hadn’t posed a problem. Because Colin had a job already lined up, and there was a good prospect of employment for Martin as a medical secretary, the Federal government of Australia plus the officials in New South Wales had passed their application fairly quickly. Though not quickly enough for Colin, who, as always once he’d got an idea in his head, wanted it to happen overnight.