It’s cold and damp but…

… you have to make the effort! 🙂

We spent the morning lazily until it was time for lunch. Once this was out of the way, it was time to answer the call of our daily coffee.

No cats
No cats

We went through Myddelton Square, wondering whether we would see the two cats. We had once caught sight of one of them curled up in the room but since then, nothing. Today, even the window was screened and the window box has been emptied. (Yes, I know, not having anything to show, I am reduced to showing you what is not there! Give me marks for trying, though! 🙂 )

Christmas came early for someone
Christmas came early for someone

Outside one of the houses was this impressive set of empty boxes awaiting collection for recycling. It wasn’t obvious from the labelling what had been in the boxes. New furniture, perhaps.

Nearly every other window allowed views into the illuminated interiors of houses and in almost all of them, there were people sitting in front of computers. We guessed that at least some of these would be people “working from home” – a sign of the times.

Christmas wreath

Christmas wreath
Christmas wreath

Wreaths on front doors had begun to appear some weeks ago but their numbers are now gradually increasing. Is there a traditional formula as to what is included in these wreaths? Pine cones seem a popular component among others.

Treetop neighbourhood
Treetop neighbourhood

Now that the leaves have fallen, the trees are revealing their secrets that are normally hidden. This tree contains a number of nests but whether these are birds’ nests or squirrels’ dreys, I do not know. I hope the neighbours all get on together.

Modest wreath

Modest wreath
Modest wreath

In Chadwell Street we spotted this relatively modest wreath. Once again cones – both pine and fir, if I’m not mistaken – occur in the mix.

Personally, I find the use of wreaths as Christmas decorations somewhat counter-intuitive because wreaths seem to me to be associated with funerals rather than birthdays. Perhaps that’s a misconception in my part.

Decorated shop

Decorated shop
Decorated shop

During lockdown, while many shops have been locked up and dark, in a few there has been activity as their owners prepare for reopening. This one, though, is the only one I have seen so far that had Christmas decorations on the outside. It is called Islington Makeup Artist but if it has a website, I haven’t been able to find it.

The Banana Tree
The Banana Tree

This is the local branch of the Banana Tree chain of restaurants. We have eaten here a few times. It too seems to be preparing for tomorrow though it, like many others, has been operating a takeaway service throughout lockdown.


Bicycle rack planters

I have seen a number of these pieces of street furniture dotted around. At first glance, you might just think they were rather small planters but the bicycle symbol and the rails along the top on both sides shows that they are dual purpose, serving both as decoration and as cycle racks. I have yet to see one used for the latter function. Perhaps because of their small size and their disguise they have escaped the notice of their intended users.

You might remember me showing you the shop with the missing letters. Here is a reminder:

Missing letters
Missing letters

We were amused when, passing that way today, this is what we saw:

Letters restored!
Letters restored!

They have repaired their sign and, as you can see, the lights are on. They are busy preparing for the end of lockdown tomorrow. You might know that Camerich sells furniture.

City Road closed
City Road closed

We went to Jusaka for our coffee and saw that City Road had been closed off by the police. The result is that traffic has been brought to a virtual standstill as cars and buses are having to divert, in some cases forced to turn right or left where this is normally prohibited.

Snarled up traffic
Snarled up traffic
Photo by Tigger

In the coffee shop, they said they had heard that there had been a “crime”, but that that was all they knew. I expect we will hear all about it in due course.

In the meantime, coffee in hand, we hurried home amid queues of static vehicles.

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‘S’ is for Sunday and shopping

Including today, there remain three days of the current lockdown. What will happen then? I think London will be placed in Tier 2, meaning that there will still be restrictions on our movements but there will be more freedom of action. Past experience suggests that this will result in the infection rate rising again, possibly leading to yet another lockdown.

There are hopeful indications that a vaccine will be available “soon”, and that mass vaccinations can begin. Will this finally bring the pandemic to an end? That will depend on how many people are actually vaccinated (anti-vaxers will presumably resist), how effective the vaccine is and how long its immunity effect lasts. I think we should hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

As is our wont, we set out for Sainsbury’s at about 10:45, which brings us to the store when it is open but the first rush of early customers has been absorbed.

We each had a list of items to collect. I sped off to fetch mine and then rejoined Tigger for the rest of the shopping. Today, we had no difficulty finding what we wanted. If there were empty shelves, I didn’t notice them. I hope this is not just the calm before the Brexit storm.

Vegan croissants
Vegan croissants
Photo by Tigger

I have often described our cafe breakfasts of coffee and croissants. We do like our croissants! Tigger spotted these vegan croissants in Sainsbury’s. They amused her without tempting her to buy any so I cannot say how good they are.

The scene in front of Sainsbury’s
The scene in front of Sainsbury’s
Photo by Tigger

The road in front of Sainsbury’s is still a mess of barriers and building works. Extensive remodelling of the Angel Centre is still proceeding and a row of barriers has narrowed the roadway for traffic. I don’t know what is because of the building works and what is Sainsbury’s arrangements for regulating the flow of customers.

As usual, we walked through Chapel Market on the way home.

Chapel Market, bottom end
Chapel Market, bottom end

There is still a huge gap in the middle of the street which in “normal” times would have been filled with stalls and customers, especially this near to Christmas.

Chapel Market, top end
Chapel Market, top end

Most stalls were grouped at the top end. As I passed the dead fish stall, I held my breath but started breathing again too soon and received a noseful of dead-fish stink. How anyone can bear to work among that miasma of rotting flesh, I do not know. I also hold my breath when passing butchers’ shops for the same reason. I will admit that I wasn’t as sensitive before I became a vegetarian but in the decades since adopting that lifestyle, the odours given off by those places has become more and more disgusting to me. It makes me wonder how people could ever have started eating dead flesh in the first place.

Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations

I noticed that the Council has installed flashing lights on the lampposts as Christmas decorations. Unfortunately, because of the brightness of the daylight, the photo cannot show the lights or their movement. Perhaps we’ll manage to catch them one day after dark.

Christmas trees
Christmas trees

There was at least one sign that Christmas is coming: this large stall entirely filled with Christmas trees. Trade was not as brisk as one might have expected. Perhaps it will pick up after December 2nd.

Christmas tree wrapper
Christmas tree wrapper
Photo by Tigger

I expect you have seen these devices. Around the outside of the drum is netting. A Christmas tree is passed through the centre of the drum and is wrapped in netting to make it easier to transport.

This might be a good selling point
This might be a good selling point

One of the downsides of having a real tree for Christmas is that they tend to make a mess by dropping their foliage. According to the notice, these trees do not shed their needles. If this is true then that is likely to be a good selling point.

We of course stopped at Mercer & Co to pick up coffee on the way home.

After all, a ritual can still be a pleasure even if it is a ritual!

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The tiger who tweeted

Long, long ago – well, fourteen years ago, to be precise – when I started this blog, filled with beginner’s enthusiasm, I linked it to both Facebook and Twitter, and even put links to these accounts in the blog’s sidebar.

Time passed and my interest in social media waned. I no longer followed either account and removed the links from the sidebar.

The other day, in a moment of curiosity, I signed in to Twitter and took a look at my account. I saw that not only were my posts still being tweeted but that people were both “likeing” them and leaving comments. I was somewhat embarrassed by this because I pride myself on always paying attention to comments and replying to them as appropriate.

I have therefore resolved to follow the Twitter account from now on and to respond to people’s comments. To this end I have installed the app on my phone and have added a link to Twitter in the sidebar of my blog.

While you are of course welcome to visit my blog and leave comments in situ, if Twitter is your preferred medium of expression then by all means make your comment there and I will see it and reply to it.

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