Sunday, December 31, 2006

Here and there

We began our New Year break this morning with a trip to the sales where everything was half price at Harvey Nichols and Harrods. M bought a grey Jil Sander suit and several shirts and I bought an armful of Nicole Farhi sweaters. We were thankful we had gone early; as we left around lunchtime, the stores were thick with people jostling one another for bargains or just to ogle.

We stopped off for lunch at the British Library, feeling like students and academics again, and then wandered around the fascinating and comprehensive London: A Life in Maps exhibition at the British Library. The map above shows the havoc wreaked by the great 1666 fire that wiped out much of London's core. Among others, we saw the earliest view of London, from a Roman medal dated 296 AD and a history of the A-Z from 1652 onwards.

Back home and walking down Green Lanes, the rain poured and the skies darkened and the street glistened cheerfully despite the wind. The bright, multi-coloured shop lights were welcoming and warm, headlights bounced off the slick road surface so that it looked like PVC, water dripped down from plastic store canopies, and two little Turkish boys struggled with their black umbrellas in the wind like two old men. Everything seemed alive with illumination.

Regardless, we were thankful to arrive home. We switched on the heating and snuggled up on the couch with steaming mugs of green tea, slices of moist stollen cake, and the weekend FT. Later we cooked a Korean-influenced soup with soba noodles, leeks, red chillies and beef fillet strips and watched the interminable Junebug. I watched this first at the cinema and don't remember it being this tedious. I guess you have to be in the mood.

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