Saturday, December 26, 2020
A Christmas Quest
Well, Christmas is over for another year. Ours was pretty quiet, as predicted. I gave Dave his two gifts in the morning -- a new knife for the kitchen and a t-shirt from Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia, the site of one of Giuliani's shambolic press conferences for Trump. (I was pretty proud of that one.)
Around noon, while Dave happily stayed home and cooked, Olga and I went for a long walk on the Heath.
On our way through Hampstead village, we saw these two police officers on horseback, their horses kitted out with special Christmas gear. Festive!
There were quite a few people on the streets, taking advantage of a rare sunny day. I overheard one woman complaining about coronavirus restrictions preventing her from visiting her apartment in Tenerife. Cry me a river, lady!
The Heath was also crowded with families out for some fresh air, probably after a frenzied morning of unwrapping presents. One little girl, no doubt exhausted, was having a full-scale screaming meltdown. Her parents were trying to bribe her into behaving by offering her chocolate, and she wasn't having it.
Olga, in a frenzy of squirrel fever, demonstrated her tree-climbing skills. (At one point she was up on the highest part of the log on the left, barking wildly, but I didn't get the picture fast enough.)
Perhaps craving a new experience to mark the holiday, we veered off our normal route...
...and went through the grounds of Kenwood, the grand 18th Century house on the northern edge of the Heath. You can see in the background some of the people out enjoying the sunny weather. The ground was as wet as a saturated sponge, though. I squished with every step.
Eventually I got it into my head that I wanted some mulled wine. Unfortunately the restaurant at Kenwood was closed because of Covid.
So we walked up Hampstead Lane to the historic Spaniards pub, but alas, it was shuttered too.
(Coincidentally, as I was reading "The Pickwick Papers" yesterday afternoon after returning home, I came across a scene that takes place in the Spaniards' tea garden! One character says to another, "I'm sure you ought to feel very much honoured at you and Tommy being the only gentlemen to escort so many ladies all the way to the Spaniards, at Hampstead." I escorted a female staffy, and I felt honoured too.)
Anyway, I pretty much gave up on the mulled wine idea and Olga went squirrel-chasing through Sandy Heath on our way back to Hampstead village.
And then, walking down a secluded street, we found...
...this lovely little place, which answered my mulled-wine prayers! I drank it as we ambled through the nearby Hampstead churchyard in the chilly afternoon air.
Back home again, Dave and I Zoomed with his family, which was fun. I also phoned our British friend Chris, who we haven't been able to see in months. He and his wife are both in their 70s and he's not in great health, so they need to be particularly careful about Covid. He mentioned what a terrible year it's been, and I told him I'm firmly convinced things are getting better. And I really am, too. We've dumped Donald Trump, we have Covid vaccines.