Reasons to be cheerful December 22, 2006Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
Well, only one reason, really. It’s December 22nd. Which means we’re not heading towards December 21st any more, which means the days are getting longer, and we can all now live in hope (and peace and prosperity, probably) until June 21st 2007, whence it’ll all be downhill fast once more. And so on. And on. And on.
I went out for a constitutional, bracing walk today. That’s as exciting as it gets round here in the build-up to Christmas. But it was surprisingly festive, firstly because the weather is so lovely – about +9, and no depressing wind. So crisp, but in a boiling way – and some ill types really do seem to have caught on to the Christmas spirit. Folk were laden down with huge plastic bags, the type that you can only get in those overlit shops staffed EXCLUSIVELY by youngish men and selling things-with-plugs only which INSTANTLY have me rooting through my virtual manbag looking desperately for virtual SSRIs.
My walk had a goal, actually. My mother sent me 20 quid so I thought I’d go and put that in my bank account, but I forgot that banks close at about 9.15am on Fridays, so my wallet is still awash with pounds – and nothing else, as I was also planning to tell the bank-folk that I have lost my card, which happens as regular as clockwork about twice every three years, which I think is not a bad average – and I turned round, defeated. But not that defeated, actually, as I can probably count on the Russian to throw the odd morsel in the direction of my slavering dewlaps over the coming days and the mood on the street was just so damned jolly. Apart from the folk with big bags, I heard young ladies harmonising a (nunrecognisable) pop song and another youngster giving his female companion a rather public massage.
I fingered the Russian a feelingless text. “Fancy taking me out somewhere?” But he answered that he was in the process of administering himself some complicated hygienic procedure – Russians ablute in the most complicated ways imaginable. They may only be rivalled by the Japanese when it comes to obsessive cleanliness – so I carried on walking aimlessly. I texted the ex. My phone buzzed into life. Actually rang. Which happens so rarely that it normally gives me a panic attack. I picked up heroically. It was the ex (not surprisingly), ringing to be festive, but we couldn’t hear each other and he was driving, in the famous fog, and then we agreed that it would be a shame if he died at the wheel for the sake of an inaudible pre-Christmas greeting so we gave up the ghost.
Speaking of the fog, I heard a Finn on the BBC complaining about being stuck in Heathrow. “We have and always have had snow for eight months of the year in Finland and we can cope with it. You have fog for one day and everything breaks down. It’s ridiculous.” I breathed a sigh of relief on my country’s behalf that he’d probably never not been able to take a train because of snow, leaves or betomatopipped poo on the tracks. And then wondered about the fog. Is fog our national weather-marker? Our meteorological brand? Finland has snow. Our logo is fog? I thought it was rain. But, UK folk, be warned if you ever go to Russia that you will also be asked, especially if you come from London, about fog AND smog. It’s the same word in Russian, but I had to go and check in my dic when it came up in conversation 94 times within five minutes of me landing in the country. “Maybe it’s also a posh word for ‘and'”, I thought to myself. Then I learnt Russian for, “No, that’s bollocks,” so that I could truncate with due alacrity any conversation that ever started with, “Is it true that the smog in London…?”
Fast-forward to London and the Russian and me sitting in my mother’s kitchen. My mother is originally a country girl but moved to London in her teens. I resolved to get the smog thing sorted once and for all and then seek an EU grant for the Russian to go back and do some capacity-building awareness-raising in Russia and set the record straight on our weather. “Mum, this smog thing then. Fact or bollocks?” “You cou’n’t fuckin’ see yerands in fruncher fuckin’ face,” answered my mother, transforming temporarily for no good reason for the purpose of this blog into a cockney fishwife.
So there was smog. But now it’s gone. Because London’s so clean. And there’s salmon in the Thames. So that’s another reason to be cheerful.
What else is there to be cheerful about? Ooh, lots of things, probably. At least nine other things, no doubt.
Darlings, and, to take advantage of the festive spirit, a bit of blogging/technical advice please. I asked Geoff, the man with the world’s shortest blog, if he approved of the move over here and he did but added, “I’ve got to say, though, BiB, only some kind of wanker would have a header picture – is that what it’s called? (This is me, not Geoff.) The illustration across the top of the blog – like that.” Well, OK, I may be sexing up his words slightly, but he hit the nail on the head, and I do want to change that image in time for it to be in the shops by Christmas. But, darlings, can I do it? Can I buggery! I’ve tried a million times, and it keeps finding something wrong. I’m sure I’ve changed the pic I’ve got in mind to the right number of dots, but something always goes wrong. But, by Christmas 2008, I hope I’ll have my very own personalised illustration. But just in case you can’t wait, here’s a sneak preview.
The photo was taken by all-round winner EiNY and is a view from our very own house, which I like because it seems nicely Berlinish, with an old, un-done-up house and a done-up one nestling alongside each other. So does it suit, darlings? Does it suit? And how do I get it up there?
December 22nd greetings to one and all!