Darkness on the edge of town (50.2021)

It feels like it’s been grey forever. The days are short and never really light. The cloud hides the sky most of the time.

I lose track of the days. On Tuesday I think, at least it’s the weekend tomorrow. But it’s not. On Wednesday I think it’s Friday, but it’s not. What day is it?

The news rumbles on with stories of the Omicron variant and it’s rapidly increasing infection rates. France closes its borders with the UK; so does Germany. Holland goes into lockdown with only essential shops remaining open.

This would all be hard enough to deal with on a sunny day but when it hasn’t been sunny for so long it’s starting to feel like we are living in a pool of grey gloom: physically, mentally.

Despite this I have still got out of the house this week, despite all advices being to stay at home.

Husband and I went to see Ghostbusters Afterlife (because who knows for how much longer cinemas will be open?) It was a good film, entertaining, and incredibly familiar for anyone who has seen the original. In many ways it was a love letter to Harold Ramis. Which is no bad thing.

Going to the cinema meant I had to miss Yoga book club – but guess what – so did everyone else! I checked my WhatsApp coming home from the cinema and saw someone post the link to the Zoom meeting. And then 20 minutes later another post saying, “Well I guess no-one is showing up…” Yes, I know I was one of those, but then I also had not read the book. Because we were supposed to be reading not-recent-release books and this one was and it was not available from my library and for a book I wasn’t interested that much in reading I wasn’t going to buy a copy new.

Husband and I went to one of our local hipster microbreweries on Friday night. They were closing for the year on Sunday and needed to clear out their chill room ready for new stock coming in the new year. This meant all beers were effectively half price – no bad thing for usually outrageously priced hipster beers. This particular bar has 20 taps so they have a lot of beers on tap. Mostly IPA which we don’t drink, but enough others (a stout, a porter, a few sours) for us to spend a happy evening sipping away. It wasn’t quite like an evening in a brown café in Belgium but it’s probably the closest thing we’ll get to that for some time.

Saturday morning dawned slowly. Or at least it did for us, waking up tired and with sore heads. We went out to Holloway Road as part of our quest to corner the market in the best 2nd hand jigsaws in all of North London. I haven’t been down to Holloway Road for some years and it was surprising to see there is a part of London that hasn’t gentrified yet.

Maybe it’s because of Covid19 and me not getting out much, but I was surprised to see people were still buying lots of stuff – and lots of branded stuff. I feel I am living on the edge of consumer culture, looking in, so it surprises me to see so many people who still fetishise brands and conspicuous consumption and spending beyond their means. Yes, I know this is what Christmas means to some people, but it hurts me somehow, to see all this spending, all this consumption, all this greed, if you like, which will lead eventually to so much waste and in the midst of a climate crisis it feels so wrong.

Me, I’m happy with my 2nd hand jigsaws from charity shops. We came home with two or three more (yes! so happy about that!), a handful of books and some bagels from the (happily unchanged) Happening Bagel Bakery at Finsbury Park. It used to be the Happening Beigel Bakery when I first lived around there 20-some years ago but they changed the spelling in the meantime. The quality of bagels and the range of breads and cakes however is just the same. Mmm. Delicious.

We started to plan our Greek Christmas Menu and had even put a shopping list together. But – hold everything – our one and only guest for Christmas has caught Covid19 and cannot leave her house for the next 10 days!

We’ve never had a two person Christmas before. Doing a big spread for Christmas doesn’t make sense if there’s only two of us, so plans need to be amended. *-Sigh-* If there’s only two of us, how can we play board games all day? You need at least three people to make board games worthwhile.

We are hoping to be able to do a bigger meal with guests for New Year’s Eve, subject to us still being able to avoid Omicron.

Fingers crossed on that.

Fingers crossed on that for all of us.

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