Sunday, December 7, 2014
Frosty, Sunny Day, with Santas and Violin
Yesterday we actually saw sun. I know, unbelievable, right?! We've been living in a gray shroud for so long that I forgot what it's like to walk around on a sunny day with a camera. Everything seemed so intriguing, full of color and mystery.
When Olga and I first went out in the morning, the sky was crystal clear and a crust of frost covered the ground.
Olga was so funny, prancing across the ice-covered backyard like a gazelle. She's not used to ice on her paws. We took a little walk, and then I attempted to clean out the bird-feeders (in which the uneaten seed had congealed into a grass-sprouting clod of moldy organic matter). I managed to empty one of them, but the other -- which I couldn't open -- remains a garden-in-the-air.
Then I set out with the camera on a photography walk for Bleeding London. I headed to NW10, west of us, and walked all day -- as long as there was light. I covered 72 streets and even forgot to eat lunch.
I saw numerous Santas flocking to central London for some kind of Santa pub-crawl. No wonder the old man is so jolly.
Finally, after walking all day, I went to Oxford Street to run some errands. When Dave bought his new black suit a month ago, the shop forgot to remove one of the plastic-clamp theft-prevention devices. We didn't discover it until yesterday when Dave tried to put on the suit for his concert in the afternoon. So I dragged the pants around with me all day in a backpack and took them back to the store in the evening. The clerk I spoke with was very apologetic and removed the clamp right away.
(Which raised an interesting question in my mind. A la yesterday's post about Ferguson and race perceptions, I wondered if she would have so readily accommodated me if I'd been a black man showing up with a pair of pants still clamped with a theft-prevention device. I did have a receipt, but still -- I wondered. And why didn't the crazy clamp set off alarms when we left and entered the store?)
Finally, I went to Primark to get a holiday sweater. I never wear holiday sweaters, but a coworker showed up at work this week with one that I loved, featuring the skyline of London silhouetted against a night sky. He told me where he got it, so I went for my own. Let me tell you, the experience was hell. Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon in the Christmas shopping season? It was literally pedestrian gridlock. The inside of Primark was equally insane, with hordes of locust-like shoppers throwing garments willy-nilly. In the end, though, I got my sweater. (Just £9!) I took a picture of it, but Dave thought only a video would suffice because -- oh yeah, I forgot to mention -- it lights up! You can see me modeling it for ten seconds here.
After those ridiculous errands I caught a bus home in the evening darkness, and I was so thankful to be able to sit down that I almost cried. At one point as our bus sat in traffic, my nerves a bit frazzled by the crowds, I looked over to my left and saw a man through an apartment window, serenely playing the violin. What a great urban moment! I immediately felt better.
(Top and bottom photos: From yesterday's walk.)