So, Monday and a to do list. I have not had a working landline since Thursday. What, are you thinking, is this an old post? surely this is something that happened in October. Yup. TalkTalk strikes again, and again customer service has been found wanting. After acknowledging the problem, and promising to be in touch they weren’t. I sent daily messages, which were ignored. So finally and reluctantly I faced the online chat support.
Two hours later and with my stomach rumbling, an appointment for an engineer to come on Wednesday afternoon was arranged. Then an hour and a half after that an email saying the visit would be on Thursday morning, which I had already said I could not do. Another half hour online, the appointment rearranged, though I see no email confirm this so I am more than a little disbelieving. It is amazing how life sucking these exchanges are.
However, I did get ten more cards written and posted, a box of bits handed into the charity shop, a jigsaw bought for Charlie for Christmas, and some other gifts sorted. Not Celia’s. Or at least only half Celia’s. I am sure I had her Christmas present organised, but I can only find half a present for her in the cupboard, and I have no idea what the other half was. So I have been thinking, and I believe I can get a good other half. I know Celia reads this, so I am not saying more, though I should alert her to the fact that Charlie’s present is from the charity shop, and only after I had paid for it did I think to ask if it had been checked to make sure it is complete. It hasn’t. I have the receipt, so if he finds pieces are missing, could you let me know please Celia?
Back to our walk yesterday.
We set off from home just after three. Already the sun was starting to sink. it was cold but dry with no wind. We strode through the little park to Kennington Park Road then onto Vauxhall.
The river looked cold and beautiful, with pink streaks from the sky reflected in the water. This was where the Cockerpoo took a shine to Celia. Then over the bridge and left to Tate Britain.
Don’t tell me art is a dispensable extra, a frippery optional thing. Dozens of people were there. All happy, all enjoying it. It drew the crowds. Art and culture are necessities, just as love and food and warmth are. You can see people expand, relax, grow. I think of Mother, deep in her dementia, responding to poetry, holding my hand and squeezing it to the rhythm of the words, turning to me as I read to her like a flower turning its face to the sun. Man cannot live by bread alone. Nor woman.
I have more pictures, and I think this probably merits a post of its own. My favourite was the tiger, burning bright just across the river from where Blake lived.
If I had that tiger I think I would be a very happy person.
Behind the Tate there were the administration buildings and the rooms used by schools. Presumably children had made the window decorations. This one caught our eye for all the wrong reasons.
We mooched beside the Hilton hotel before crossing Horseferry Road (the clue’s in the name) and onto Smith Square then round to the Abbey. The Christmas decorations outside the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre drew my disapproval.
I love the Abbey. I work there a lot. Rather, I worked there a lot. I miss it. Seeing it makes me quite sad. I need to go in, see the people who work there who have become friends, raise my eyes to the ceiling of the nave, feel the cold stone through my shoes. But yesterday Celia and I wanted the loo. There’s one between Methodist Central Hall and the Abbey. Last time we walked this way it was free. Yesterday the 50p tarif had been restored. Celia didn’t have change. I scraped 50p together and we scuttled through the turnstile as one. I should say that I at least am normally very law abiding, but as you may remember from lockdown and Celia’s blatant use of gym equipment in the park, she can be a touch rebellious.
In St James Park we looked across to the Eye lit up in pink. Actually I can see this from my bedroom window, but it still seemed special.
No tree? said Celia as we waited for the lights to change in our favour by Canada House. I looked at her in surprise, but where she was standing the combination of traffic lights and sculpture hid Norway’s annual gift from sight. quite a feat, given its height.
Onwards and past the National Portrait Gallery, across the road and the Edith Cavell memorial which I always find moving and humbling. I am sure my thoughts on the eve of my execution would not have been so noble.
While Celia bought our lovely hot chocolate I waited outside. I love looking above business fronts to see if people live in the floors above. They do in New Street. Someone had painted the face in the keystone above the shop. Unfortunate I thought, as it looked all too like Peter Sutcliffe, aka the Yorkshire Ripper, a serial killer of women at the end of the 70s.
Maybe I am more susceptible as I was a student in Manchester while he was at large. The police were convinced he was only interested in murdering prostitutes. That word only is shocking. It transpired he murdered any woman he could, and his murders extended into Lancashire. When I think of walks home in the dark from the bus stop on empty roads, my blood runs cold at what might have been.
Sunnier thoughts in Covent Garden. I could not believe how busy it was. I looked at what people were eating. Not because I was hungry but because of the ‘substantial meal’ requirement which has become the Scotch Egg test. Apparently sales of Scotch Eggs are soaring. Don’t take it from me. Read about it here. I didn’t see anyone in Covent Garden eating Scotch Eggs. Macarons, pastries and cake seemed the *substantial meal* of choice.
The tree by St Paul’s, the actors’ church in Covent Garden, not the cathedral, was lush.
After that I din’t take many photos, and the way this week is panning out I’m not sure when I am going to get another good walk. But I do have an appointment for a haircut tomorrow morning. So hurrah for that.
Sweet dreams. Stay safe. Keep well.