- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 23, 2001

LONDON (UPI) A latter-day Scrooge who says he hates Christmas is paying $435 for the privilege of spending two weeks of the yuletide in an underground nuclear bunker with a copy of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
As he prepared to descend nearly 100 feet into the concrete chamber, a remnant from the Cold War days of 1952, Colin Wood told the British Broadcasting Corp. he just wanted to "get away from it all."
Mr. Wood said he was fed up with Christmas, a season that always found him bickering with his family.
His brother gave him the Dickens book the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. In addition to the company of his fictional kindred spirit, Mr. Wood will have a Christmas dinner of cold baked beans, cold Spam and a glass of water.
He won the privilege of spending the festive season thus in a bidding contest with 49 others equally eager for more humdrum and less ho-ho-ho.
What he got for his money were the keys to the Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker, in southeast England.
The bunker is more than 90 feet underground and has 10-foot-thick walls of reinforced concrete and blast doors made from tank metal, all guaranteed against nuclear and biological attack and visits by Santa Claus.
Michael Parrish, who owns the bunker, told the BBC he has spent the occasional night in it and predicts Mr. Wood may get more than he has bargained for.
"If you are on your own and 30 meters underground, it is pretty dark and quiet. It does play on your mind."
Still, he insisted, the bunker "is nice and warm, permanently 60 degrees, and not uncomfortable."
While it doesn't have a shower, it does have a supply of government-issue toilet paper, although the rolls read: "Use both sides."

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