Tomorrow is Twelfth Night, so I’m taking full advantage and putting the Christmas lights on one last time. Pickle is oblivious to the ceremony. She’s too busy trying to scratch the furniture and stealth-wee on the beanbag before I sit in it.


It always seems a shame to take the lights down for superstition, and yet it helps break up the seasons. Packing up all the shiny things forces us fully into the dark month though. There’s no avoiding it. This is the month where I wish I could get a call to go work on a film set in New Zealand. (I wish that most months, but January would be the best). Stating the obvious, and for my huge antipodean readership, it’s bloody cold mate. Plus the light goes fast. Spring seems far far away, and there’s a whole lot of rain before summer comes round. Silmarillion? Anyone?

This morning was winter-perfect. Sharp clear skies letting all the heat escape. A bright winter sun in the morning, helping us not get sad so long as we’re awake, even if the heat is disappointing . I sleep with my blinds open so the light hits my face early. That and the cat jumping on me render an alarm obsolete. I rolled out of bed this cold morning, made hot breakfast, pottered around in warm soft clothes, and wrote facing the freezing river.

I’ve become momentarily obsessed with Waitrose rösti. 0.75p for a serving. Drop an egg on it. Breakfast! That and a gallon of coffee meant I didn’t need to leave the house until the working day was winding up. A quick meeting nailing down price and insurance details left me pretty much ready to take custody of a huge great big Luton van for a whole month, to turn into a fabulous ridiculous pantechnicon. Then I was in the centre of town with 45 minutes to get to Waterloo, so I had a good brisk winter walk.

People are wrapped up tight. They’re not looking where they’re going in the cold. They’re walking hard forwards and expecting other people to get out the way, which is fine if you’re the only one, but there were far too many people far too cold tonight and they were bumping each other. More homeless people than usual were working the crowds, looking mightily pissed off. Some were just clocked out sitting against a wall. Even the ones that usually make a lot of noise seemed unusually subdued. I had no cash for them. I rarely carry cash anymore, just as I use it less and less. The cashless society is very convenient for bookkeeping, but on nights like this it’s probably killing people. I saw a busker with an izettle (“No cash, no problem!”) but that only works if you have a bank account and a working iPhone. I wouldn’t want to be living on the streets in this shit. How could I cook my Waitrose rösti?

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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