The sixth of the month and wrote and posted six Christmas cards. It had to be done. Not only will writing the cards be a task tackled, the vagaries of our postal system means that if I get them all written and posted this week there’s a chance they may reach the people I am sending them to before 2021. I felt very virtuous as I popped them in the postbox. Then Celia and I set off for a walk to Tate Britain and beyond to enjoy the Divali lights covering the main entrance and to wander St James’ Park in darkness, look at the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, then onto Covent Garden which was heaving. En route from Trafalgar Square Celia treated us both to vegan hot chocolate. It was made with hazelnut milk and delicious. Had I had a spoon I should have scraped every last little bit from the cardboard cup. We looked at lit windows of flats above shops, noted closed restaurants and wondered if they would ever reopen, dark pubs where there ought to have been light and life.
Lots of people were walking about. It was the same in the City yesterday. Families, small groups of friends, couples, all socialising outside. It’s cold but dry and there are no strong winds. We aren’t allowed to meet up in our homes so we have taken to the streets. There were dogs in Christmas outfits; dogs not dressed festively; a cockerpoo who took a shine to Celia. We stopped to look at the ducks and geese in St James’ Park. Amazingly there were ducklings too. A couple of rats scurried sleekly beside the water. They looked fat and healthy.
We were out for nearly four hours. Our circuit took us first to Vauxhall and over Lambeth Bridge, then behind Tate Britain down to Westminster Abbey. When we reached St John’s Smith Square we saw there was a queue. Inspection of the notice board revealed a carol event this evening. We crossed St James Park to the Mall where there were the telltale trailers that signified filming. What was it? Netflix, said the security guard. Netflix is big, I said. Does it have a name? Anatomy of a Scandal. He couldn’t tell us more, not even who is in it. But we shall feel in the know when it is released. I don’t have Netflix, and I’m not sure Celia has either, so that’s probably as close as we’ll get to seeing it.
Twice convoys of cars flying orange flags passed us, each with a police escort. The second time they were heading towards Buckingham Palace. No security guard on hand to tell us why or who. At Trafalgar Square there were lots of car horns being tunelessly sounded, and a van with a sign saying We’re Farmers Not Terrorists; No Farms, No Food. Maybe we had missed a demo. We stopped to look in Waterstone’s window in New Lane. Celia cheered when she saw Charlie’s nephew Ben’s book in the display. From Covent Garden we walked down to and over Waterloo Bridge. The Christmas fair on the Southbank will have to wait for another day.
To the east St Paul’s seemed to be the only building without cranes or lights, and was somehow all the more impressive for being shadowy and grey in the evening. The area outside the station was busy, but it grew quieter as we passed the Old Vic, reached St George’s Circus and then the Elephant. The big Chinese restaurant, Dragon Castle, at the top of the Walworth Road was in darkness, but Deliveroo cyclists were in evidence, ferrying food from restaurants to people’s homes. In the block where Macdonald’s is housed all the other businesses have closed or relocated. The block is due for demolition. I wonder if Macdonald’s might go to where Argos was until recently, meaning it will be at our end of the Walworth Road. If so even more discarded Macdonald’s meals will doubtless be brought into the garden by our foxes, who it seems are big fans of fast food.
It was the best walk we’ve had in weeks. Just lovely. Maybe tomorrow or Tuesday I’ll post some pictures.
Stay safe. Keep well. Go walking.