It was around supper time last night when I realised the lurgy was leaving me and health once more was returning. Today, if not completely rebooted, my energy levels are up and I’ve cracking through my to do list. So the Walworth falafels are prepared. some are in the freezer, some are cooked and cooling down, ready to go in the car tomorrow when the plan is to head to das Boot. The forecast isn’t all that, but I’ve said no to work at this end of the week, and Older Nephew is able to join me for a day and return my keys.
High up on the to do list is MasterB’s 2019 calendar. It always takes far longer than I anticipate. I’ve made PDFs of two versions so far, but there has been a lot of swapping of photos, and I’ve sent copies to two people for their constructive criticism. A few days break from it will probably be a good thing.
I caught up with Celia this morning and we had a constitutional over to the Old Kent Road so I could recycle my electric blanket at the municipal site. Gentrification has not yet caught up with most of the Old Kent Road, which is the eastern boundary of Sunny Walworth, and it is dominated by large business properties designed more for practicality than aesthetics.
Still, there are gems in between. The Livesey, once a library, then a museum, now a place for children who cannot for one reason or another attend main stream school, is one of them. The Royal London Friendly Society building is another, though at ground floor level it is an ugly display of corporate bookmaking. Neither Celia nor I knew what the RLFS was, but thankfully the internet has enlightened at least one of us. If you want to be similarly enlightened, click here.
There’s a building that has a municipal air which houses a church. There are many churches of various hues along the Old Kent Road. This one has a very fine artwork on the outside giving a pictorial history of the area. the Romans, Chaucer’s pilgrims, Henry V all feature.
This morning, before the rain started, I was walking along thinking how nice it would be to see Michèle. I looked across the road, and lo, there she was. She saw me too and we waved at each other before she crossed to my side, and we walked and talked for a few minutes, going into Marks and Spencer where I completely forgot what I wanted to buy, before arranging to meet up on Tuesday evening.
While I was away Cousin, as is her wont, began to probe me about places where I might move. She knows I hanker after a larger home with a private garden for MasterB and myself. How about Cambridge were Older Nephew lives? That’s almost as expensive as London I answered, and logged on to RightMove to prove my point. And found three properties which would do me, one very well, within my price range.
But do I want to live in Cambridge? I have no idea. The thought of starting again, making friends and contacts with whom I am comfortably at ease is daunting. How long would it be before I would see a Michèle on the other side of the road? I’m not someone who minds her own company; indeed I relish and value my time alone, but choosing to be alone is quite different to not knowing anyone well, not having friends who are companionable, people who share the same values and interests. Continue reading
MasterB is fully recovered from his anaesthetic, and the fur on his throat is beginning to grow back.
He’s not so keen on the return of the hot weather. We enjoyed two days of lower temperatures and I assumed wrongly that summer would resume a more reasonable temperate course. The humidity builds up, and you think there’s going to be a storm, but then the winds come along and blow the humidity away leaving us with more temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s. Too hot for central London, and a country where we are ill equipped for extremes of weather.
I am starting to fantasise about rain; proper rain, though a good long shower to soak the earth and freshen the air would do. We haven’t had rain here since 28th May. And it would be really nice to have day off from watering the plants.
Guarding a watering can
It’s been a lovely weekend of blue skies and warm sunshine in London. Just a soft breeze and the temperature somewhere in the mid 20s C. Pretty perfect. The neighbours stayed quiet last night, no loud voices or braying laughter drifting through open windows until all hours, something that happens all too often for my liking in warm weather. So MasterB and headed off to bed bedtimes. I read for a while, finished a crossword and fell asleep.
Around two in the morning I woke as someone shouted “Put your hands up”. I thought at first I’d Been dreaming then realised there were quite a few voices. MasterB was growling, and when I opened the shutters to look out of the window, for once he didn’t leap up onto the sill to look too. Whatever it was, he didn’t want to get any closer.
It turned out to be lots of police officers and one man not in uniform. He was the one with his hands in the air while his pockets were searched and he was patted down. I heard an officer tell him he was under arrest and to put out his hands as he was to be cuffed. Continue reading
To see more unlikely pictures, click here. Continue reading
Two months too late, the words of those Christmas carols about snow and cold weather are perfectly suited to London. My apologies to those of you who live in places where snow is a regular winter occurrence and who are wondering what all the fuss is about. I live in the south of a country where the climate is temperate, so any extremes mean acres of newsprint and all conversations dominated by talk of the weather. Actually we always talk about the weather, this may be a big island, but it is an island and the weather can change in a matter of hours. A lot of visitors from overseas, even somewhere as close as France, have the misplaced belief that it rains in London everyday, heavily. Er no, it doesn’t. Drizzle is more our style, Rome and Paris have more rain than London. That’s a fact. Yes, I do get irritated by people who seem to think Brits are born with webbed feet. Climate crisis is changing that though, and downpours are becoming the new normal. The snow is probably part of the same pattern.
So my pictures from today start in our garden.
I woke in the night and knew there had been more snowfall. There was a quality to the light that is peculiar to snow. I looked out of the window and saw everything covered in white.
Purple in the snow
Our poor flowers are suffering. There’s a pale pink hyacinth that’s completely buried.
Our plants today are bowed down with the weight of the snow.
Hartley was out and about early, but then must have retired inside. His apewprints were everywhere, and I saw him eyeing the bird feeders.
Mosaic with growth
When the snow goes I need to weed this mosaic. Continue reading
The current bout of cold weather is being called the Beast from the East. I think I prefer the poem:
The north wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what will poor Robin do then? Poor thing. He’ll sit in a barn, And keep himself warm, And hide his head under his wing, Poor thing.
Not a lot of snow in London, snow is a rarity here. I got my washing mainly dry on the line this morning, though until the sun reached it, some of it was stiff and frozen. It was bitterly cold, and my cuddle with Hartley was shorter than he wanted. He was curling up on my lap preparing for a snooze when I stood up and headed back indoors to the warmth of the flat. I didn’t think it was going to snow, the forecast showed a twenty per cent chance but the skies were blue. But as I knuckled down to some of the endless paperwork the room became very dark, and I looked up to see real snow, serious snow, swirling about. It started to settle. For about half an hour it continued, then stopped. Tonight there is some left, a smattering, and it will freeze, so tomorrow pavements will be icy and treacherous.
But it is pretty.
I had to photograph the honey fungus on the cherry tree to send pictures to a tree surgeon so I took a few more photos of the garden while I was at it. I don’t know where the robin was, but this male blackbird seemed happy enough.
I checked the bird feeders to make sure the resident avian community won’t starve.
As I mentioned in a reply to a comment from Pat the other day, I had a nice wander around West Norwood Cemetery at the weekend. It’s a big place, forty acres, and has a nice rise to the chapel and crematorium at the top, with splendid views across London. There was hardly anyone about, not even many dog walkers, which surprised me given what a great space it is close to streets of houses.
Even in death, maybe especially in death, it’s easy to pick out the rich, the powerful, the self-important and the famous. I couldn’t always find a name on the various tombs and mausoleums, but it was pretty obvious which ones had been particularly costly. Some are the size of beach huts, some largish summer houses. It was an uncomfortable thought that some of our dead are housed better than the living; homelessness is rife in London. It’s a national scandal. Today a homeless man was found dead yards away from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the UK government.
Grand resting place
Striking a pose in death
At least one pigeon had found itself a upmarket abode.
I’m ending the year feeling much better than I anticipated this morning. The cold which I started on Christmas Eve was gazumped midweek by a much more aggressive version which has left me in no doubt that I am not stoic invalid material. As a headache gripped my brow in a rusty vice and left me feeling sick each time I bent down I yearned for my health to be restored so I could enjoy my cat, my home, my life.
Friday was a particularly low day. I went out to work telling myself I’d be fine. My nose ran almost constantly and grew redder and sorer by the minute. I began to feel self-conscious and embarrassed at the number of times I had to blow my nose and find yet another bin to dump a wodge of used hankies. Yuk. I went to bed early, then up betimes yesterday for another day at work. Less nose blowing, but still gripped by the vicelike headache and prone to sudden outbreaks of sustained coughing. However by the afternoon I was convinced I was on the mend. Home via the shop to stock up on more boxes of paper hankies where I realised at least half the local population is in the same boat as I am. I nabbed two of the last three boxes of my favourite brand.
I made myself stay up until half past seven and then climbed gratefully between the sheets where I slept for twelve hours with some interruptions for coughing, nose blowing and glasses of water. I thought I’d be fully rested and on the road to health this morning, but instead I should have gladly turned over and slept some more. MasterB desperately needed time and attention from me and was keen to play. Off I went to work feeling as though my body belonged to someone else somewhere else and my feet were not truly making contact with the ground.
Then magically, mid afternoon, something shifted. I’m still coughing, still blowing my nose rather frequently, but it’s almost eight o’clock and I don’t think I’ll be in bed for at least an hour. I’ve eaten a meal with pleasure rather than out of a sense that I need the sustenance, and I have a glass of wine at hand, my first for nearly a week. Admittedly I’ve not drunk any of it yet, but just looking at it makes me feel more festive. I’ve even lit the candles and decided the Christmas decs can stay up for another day or two. Continue reading
At some point I am going to move home. Don’t hold your breath, it’s not imminent or anything like. But I am starting to look around at other neighbourhoods.
I’d like to stay in this neighbourhood, but I don’t think that’s going to be possible, or at least I have to face the more than real likelihood that it isn’t.
And that’s a problem. I may have to have therapy. I’m not joking. I’ve lived in this patch of south London for all my adult life. It’s become part of me. I have become part of it. My life’s history has become totally enmeshed with this place. I realise my memories of how it was are now of interest to local and social historians. How many of us still remember the milliner’s that vanished when a swathe of small shops was demolished to make room for a supermarket?
Not many. Continue reading