Saturday, December 9, 2023

A Deep and Dark December

Here's a photo from my walk home last night -- a lost hat atop a fence in front of Snowman House, a council building near Abbey Road. As blogger Andrew mentioned in his comment on my previous post, it gets dark pretty early at this time of year. The photo above was taken at 5 p.m.

And here's a photo of Olga from our walk yesterday morning. Because there's a shadow you may think there's sunlight, but that was actually cast by a street lamp. At 7 a.m., the sky was pitch black.

So, yeah, we are in "a deep and dark December," as Simon & Garfunkel famously wrote -- just a few weeks from the solstice. By the time I walk to work, at 8 a.m., it's light out, so I do get a little bit of daylight on my walks. But even at midday the sun is often pretty weak, filtered through gray flannel clouds. Fortunately I don't have Seasonal Affective Disorder, at least not that I'm aware of. I may have Seasonal Annoyance Disorder, but that's a different thing.

The painter has finished in our flat, which means our bathroom renovation is finally, finally done! After six months! To be honest I'd gotten so used to living with that unpainted hallway wall that I'd stopped seeing it, but I appreciate having it completed. Now we'll see if any lingering dampness damages the paint, God forbid. Today I'm going to mop the floors to do away with any residual film of dust, but the guy was pretty clean and didn't leave behind anything obvious.

I spent yesterday hoisting boxes of books. We're trying something new in the library -- selling our discarded books. There are companies in the UK that will buy used books, usually for a pittance (anywhere from 8p to a pound or two apiece), and I found one that accepts old library books. So I scanned the ISBNs on all the books in several boxes of discards, and got an offer on about 50 of them. I packaged them up and they're to be picked up on Monday. Overall payment -- about £40. It's not a lot of money but it's better than nothing, which is obviously what we get when we pass them on to charity.

Oh, and Dave ordered a new TV last night, which should arrive today. We spent last night watching TV on one of our laptops, which we set up on a chair in front of the couch. There was a lot of squinting involved.


sparklingmerlot said...

There are people that take books and send them overseas for kids that would otherwise have no access to them.

I cannot imagine your school really needs 40 quid.

I am in an extremely grumpy mood at the moment and I apologise.

Frances said...

Sorry, but I agree with S. Merlot! Giving to a charity would be a better outcome. ..and less trouble for you!

Moving with Mitchell said...

Sounds to me like giving to charity might be a better option given the amount of work for little money. But then I'm not trying to run a library and charities do get overrun with books.

With the shadows in the photo, I didn't recognize Olga.

Linda Sue said...

In the states there is a program to send books to prisons, sorely needed, especially non fiction , informative books, history, science, art. That can be tricky, though as they can conceal stuff.
Photo of Olga in the shadow is so trippy, like the photographer is taking it from the vantage point of the shadow, very cool. More fairy lights are essential during dark December!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

"Snowman House" is a great name for a council building. I wonder if it was named after the children's book "The Snowman" by Raymond Briggs - which, incidentally, I have just bought for Phoebe. Are there other council buildings nearby called "Grinch House" and "Peppa Pig House"?

Ed said...

I spent nearly ten years living a lot further north than I do now and winters were a real bummer for me. Due to my work schedule and the shortened daylight hours, I would literally go all week long without seeing the sun. Then when the weekend came and it was sunny, I felt like I was on steroids. So I've always assumed I have a mild case of seasonal affective disorder though not enough to need treatment. These days since I set my own schedule, it is never a problem.

Tasker Dunham said...

I lived in Aberdeen for a time. Daylight was 10.00 to 3.00. On the other hand, it was never properly dark in summer. In winter you looked forward to midnight walks on the beach.

Andrew said...

It must be nice to finally see the end of bathroom and hallway issues.

It is dark for you and you have great Christmas lights on display. Not dark here until 9pm at Christmas doesn't work so well for lights.

Personally, I would be quite excited about a new tv to replace such an old one. And then the setting up starts...

Sabine said...

You have been very patient with your landlord. Six months! Here tenants can reduce their rent payments if any repair has been ignored - despite regular requests - for a couple of weeks. It usually speeds things up dramatically. Have fun setting up the new TV!

Colette said...

I look forward to hearing how you like the new smart TV's. Assuming that's what you are getting.

Sharon said...

It's 7:14 as I write this and looking out the window the sky is light in the east with just a hint of the sun about to rise. I do remember when I was working in Chicago how dark it would be at 5:00 pm. It was a shock when daylight savings time ended but I soon got used to it.

Ms. Moon said...

I don't think I could deal with that much darkness. I'm sure it helps, knowing that soon the days will start to get longer.
Your TV situation is reminding me of a favorite family story of when our TV's audio was barely working. And so, in true McGiver fashion, we set the little microphone that came with the Fisher Price My Little Microphone toy in front of the TV's speaker and turned that up to high so that it sort of played through the My Little Microphone's "sound system."
We got tired of that after awhile and a new television was purchased.

Boud said...

I see that there's federal proposed legislation to leave the clocks at whatever time we're on now, starting now. I hope this time it passes. It takes me ages to adapt each time the clock changes.

I grew up in North Yorkshire, UK, and this time of year went to school and home in the dark. Then in summer, light almost all night.

Jeanie said...

Three cheers on the bathroom reno completion. What a relief. And the new TV!

You're right about the dark. At least I can get out in the daytime but waking in the dark and having it dark around five or a little after is very disheartening. After that I just want to shut down with a book or show -- and it's too early!

ellen abbott said...

I'll be glad when the days start getting longer or rather when dark takes longer because right now the sun is low enough when I head to yoga class that I have to sit up very straight and lift my chin so that the visor barely covers the sun shining in my face.

we got rid of so many books when we moved here. some we sold, some we donated to a library, some we donated to a resale shop, and some we just flat abandoned. we don't buy books anymore and haven't for years. the library is right down the street.

Ellen D. said...

Speedy delivery on that new TV! "Speedy delivery" always reminds me of Mr. McFeeley on the Mr. Roger's program. Do you remember that?

gz said...

Good to see the painting being left until it had dried properly. The other option was to use non-vinyl paint initially so that it could breathe.

Olga does have that " Do I have to" look! Is she ok with walks in the dark?

Susan said...

Due to coyotes hunting, we do not walk with the dog at dusk or dawn. Living in the countryside has a downside. Your new TV arrives quickly and that is great. I've found Swifter wet pads grab the fine dust pretty well, especially dust in corners. They also work well on walls. A woodworking tradesman told me about Swifter.

Allison said...

Congratulations on the completion of the painting of the wall. One wonders how the wall got that wet that it took so long to dry. When we lived in Seattle, we went to work in the dark, and came home in the dark. It was somewhat depressing. However, it would be light at 9:00 at night.

Bob said...

People here are furious about Daylight Saving time but we are neither pitch dark at 5PM or 7AM so they best be quiet!

I love that moody picture of Olga; she almost blended in with the shadowy spots!

Kelly said...

I'm not sure "annoyance disorder" is seasonal. I think folks get that year round. I certainly do.

I think that photo of Olga is outstanding!

Marty said...

I'm amazed at the people whose TV viewing is limited to their tablets and laptops. And can you imagine trying to get the sense of a production by watching it one your phone?
(When I first opened to this post, I thought the pom-pomed hat was actually a giant decoration on a building.)

The Padre said...

6 Months Is Baffling But It Is All About Perspective - And You Have The Right Attitude About It - Good On Ya - Lovely Olga Girl Shot There - Congrats On The New TV - Enjoy The Rest Of The Weekend

Be Brave ,

Catarina said...

I need a new hat! : )
When I was reading print books, I would buy some at the local library. They would cost from Can1$ to 2 bucks. One of them, "Unbecoming" by Rebecca Scherm, which I haven't read yet, was "Withdrawn" from the library system. Don't know why.
The days are getting longer... slowly but surely. : )

The Bug said...

I laughed at you & Dave squinting (but only because I know you're getting a new TV).

jenny_o said...

Hopefully that wall is good and dry so you don't have to re-visit the problem down the road. And the light switch - I'd be worried about it being a wiring issue but then again I worry about everything home-related now that my husband isn't here to reassure me. So who knows.

I've been looking for a hat just like that, except new :)

Catalyst said...

Well, since you're gonna do it, I hope you get a HUGE screen. You'll love it.

37paddington said...

Any chance we'll see the bathroom reveal. What a relief it must be to have it all done!

Margaret said...

London is at 51 and Seattle at 47 so we also have early dark, which I don't care for much. (makes me hate the time change even more) Glad to hear about the new TV. I watch Apple TV on my laptop but it's on my lap, so it's not too bad.

River said...

What? Floors need mopping? Who knew? Why wasn't I told?

Steve Reed said...

Caro: Don't apologize! That's what we usually do with our books. As for our monetary needs, well, no comment!

Frances: Charity is also a lot of work. I still have to box up the books and arrange to have them transported, and some charities specifically don't want library books.

Mitchell: She blends in with those shadows, doesn't she?! The book selling was an experiment. We may well decide it's not worth it.

Linda Sue: There are charities here that repurpose books but sometimes they don't want ex-library books, which tend to be stickered, stamped and well-used.

YP: Isn't that a great name? The neighboring building is Casterbridge House, and I thought they were perhaps both associated with Thomas Hardy. But I don't know of a Hardy character called Snowman.

Ed: I'm fortunate because the part of the school I work in has big windows. I think if I worked in a windowless space I would suffer.

Tasker: I can't imagine living with those weird summer days and nights! I saw them in Iceland when I was there.

Andrew: Yeah, the setting up is going to be a process!

Sabine: Well, it's not a matter of ignoring the work. We all had to wait a long time for the wall, which had been saturated by a slow leak over a long period of time, to dry out enough to paint.

Colette: My favorite thing so far is I've been able to eliminate so many cables!

Sharon: Yeah, we all adjust. I'm glad I didn't come straight to London from Florida. That would have been a shock! Living in New York for ten years helped cushion the blow.

Ms Moon: Ha! You know it's bad when you turn to Fisher-Price technology!

Boud: Yes, so you know what I'm talking about. Even more so!

Jeanie: Exactly! It's tempting to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and the TV until I realize it's only 4 p.m.! LOL

Ellen: I buy very few books and I keep almost none of them. Realistically, there aren't many books we'd read again.

Ellen D: Absolutely! I watched that show all the time as a kid.

GZ: The paint that we've used in the hall is non-vinyl. So hopefully if there's still residual dampness it can breathe. The bathrooms, however, were painted with vinyl paint.

Susan: I've heard of Swiffer but I don't know if they're even available here.

Allison: It was a very slow leak over a long period of time from our shower connection. It saturated the wall.

Bob: She is camouflaged!

Kelly: Yeah, I thought that as I wrote it. Not really a seasonal thing. LOL

Marty: When I lived in Manhattan I didn't have a TV and watched everything on my laptop. I didn't mind it then but now it's hard to imagine.

Padre: It wasn't the fault of the landlords or the workers. It just took that long for the wall to dry out.

Catarina: If it's still there I'll mail it to you! :) Libraries routinely discard books that are worn out or go unread to make shelf space for new ones. No library keeps everything. (Well, unless it's an archive.)

Bug: I'm glad it amused you. It didn't really amuse us. :)

Jenny-O: I think it's the switch rather than the wiring, but I certainly don't want to try to fix it myself! Electrical stuff needs an expert.

Catalyst: We did not, because the TV sits in front of the living room window and we didn't want to obscure the view or the light. We got the same size we had before. (32 inch)

37P: It IS a relief, although I think there's a good chance this hallway wall will give us more problems down the road.

Margaret: I used to watch movies that way when I lived in New York and didn't have a TV. I agree -- it's not too bad!

River: Ha! Believe me, I can count on one hand the number of times I've mopped. But after this construction it was necessary!