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.)


  1. OMG, I love the sweater. Your story about the pants made me think of one of the first times I went to London. I bought an evening bag at Harrods along with a few other souvenir type stuff and instead of carrying them home I had them shipped. Two or three years later I was in Las Vegas one evening after a show with a friend who wanted to wander through the shops but, every shop I entered I set off the alarm. Security would check me over and of course find nothing but, after the fourth or fifth shop, my friend was a bit embarrassed by me so we quit the shopping thing. A few months later, I was digging through that evening bag when I found hidden in a seam, a security tag from Harrods. It wasn't an expensive bag so I'm not sure why it warranted a security tag but, I still have it. I've removed the security tag though.

  2. I would so wear that sweater! I think it was worth going through hell for.Ok; I was raised in the north of USA.I then moved to the bible belt of the south.I love it here but sometimes these folks are a leetle backwards.I have learned to keep my mouth shut at times.'Nuff said.Have a good day..

  3. You and your sweater are adorable!!!!

  4. I truly do not get the christmas mania. but that's a pretty cool sweater for someone else to wear. gret photos in the post. I think they deactivate those devices before the remove them. I could be wrong. In London a black man might not have been treated badly (don't know how racist if at all England is) but I guarantee, here, they would have confiscated the pants and called the police.

  5. I loooove that video of you in the sweater! Adorable!

  6. all of your photos are *sigh*! I want to draw the frosty brown leaves . Your video is superb, so cute!
    The Santas are too sexy for their suits!
    You have so much energy, a surplus! Please send me some!

  7. Your story about the theft-prevention clamp reminds me of something that happened YEARS ago when I worked retail. I rang up a sale for a well-dressed black man, and when he handed me his credit card, he was careful to show me his ID as well. I made a light-hearted remark, saying I didn't need to see his ID because he looked like an honest fellow, but I was saddened to realize he probably showed me his ID because other store clerks *didn't* believe the credit card was his.

  8. Sir, you are a scholar and a gentleman. That sweater is everything!

  9. Oh, my god. The sweater! You! Dave's laugh! I'm in love with you both AND the sweater.

  10. That sweater is fabulous! I'm curious - did Dave wear the pants anyway? Sounds uncomfortable :)