far too much writing, far too many photos

When I arrived in the U.K. — two weeks ago now — the Christmas season was just getting to its feet. Lights were up, daylight hours were growing real damn short, and one could feel the very beginnings of the yuletide atmosphere that would be cranking some serious rpm’s before long. Pubs were finishing up with the annual holiday facelift — and mostly looking pretty good, I have to say. In short, although Christmas was still weeks away, its looming presence was making itself felt.

Decorations had not yet been hung at my friends’/hosts’ home, but a fair-sized pile of already-purchased presents sat to one side of the dining room, waiting to be wrapped, tagged, all that.

I am pretty much out of the present-purchasing routine, so don’t really experience that part of the holiday cycle any more. Have little family (and what there is withdrew from the gift-exchange biz a few years back), currently have no partner, my closest friends are scattered around the map and with the unpredictability re: where I’ll be at any give time we’ve all fallen out of the habit of inflicting seasonal gift-type thingies on each other. Which, I have to say, is mostly just fine. On the rare occasion when I get one, I appreciate it like you would not believe. Which I suspect is the way it’s actually supposed to be.

Anyway. The afternoon I arrived in the Midlands, rain fell, wind blew, the air felt strangely mild. During the night, clouds and rain went away, the temperature dropped. I slept like, well, not the dead exactly — more like the comatose — and when I stumbled down to the kitchen around 9 a.m. the following morning, sunlight slanted in through the windows, flowers in baskets outside shivered in the cold breeze. And for most of my stay, it felt like early winter. Which of course it was.

Three mornings in a row dawned like that, with the sun climbing slowly above neighborhood rooftops, golden light slanting into that comfy kitchen. (I reminded D. on numerous occasions he had me to thank for bringing Spanish sunshine along, he graciously acknowledged my wonderfulness.)

The morning I hopped a train south for London — five days after touching down in Stoke-on-Trent — rain fell (the Midlands getting all weepy about me pissing off). London was better. And when I say better, I mean the rain didn’t come down every single minute of every single day. Though I did carry an umbrella at all times ’cause there was no telling when the local world would start with the rampant moisture falling in all directions at a moment’s notice.

London was well along into a shameless display of Christmassy spirit — shop windows all done up, streets hung with lights, holiday markets vending holiday hooha, burkha-wearing women adorned with cheery reindeer antlers. (Sorry about that last bit — though there were in fact burkha-wearing women strewn about in a strange show of London’s ongoing melting-pot-style evolution, none that I saw had been draped with yuletide ornamentation of any kind.) All of which I enjoyed in a shameless display of craven Christmassy cravenness. Even went out to a panto at the Lyric Hammersmith — very silly and easily the most professional panto I’ve seen to date, with Patrick Stewart supplying the voice for the giant in the tale. Not that I’ve seen many pantos. Just that one and another here in Madrid some years back thrown together by a group of British expats who mostly used the mounting of stage productions as a good-humored excuse for drinking.

Christmas archways, London:

And when I returned to Madrid, I found the Christmas season had elbowed its way in during my time out of country. Municipal mucky-mucks had thrown the big ceremonial switch in a big ceremonial, er, ceremony, igniting Christmas lights everydamnwhere. Where once vaguely jazzy muzak had provided the soundtrack in the barrio’s supermercado, vaguely jazzy renditions of Christmas carols now played. Tickets for the national Christmas lottery were on sale, lines stretching out the door of state betting shops, in some cases stretching down the block, around the corner and off into the distance –- the lotería de navidad is always an impressively huge deal here, but some of the lines I’ve seen during the last week beat any display of lotería fervor that I’ve ever seen.

And in a more basic show of the shift of season, while I was away all tables/chairs disappeared from outside cafés and restaurants, a clear indication that the cold season had taken hold. A change that at first left me feeling a bit sad, bereft, but one has to accept and move on. The trailer that houses the local maker of churros and porras remains in place at the big roundabout down the street, the occasional purchase of highly addictive chocolate-covered churros is an acceptable way of drowning one’s melancholy.

España, te amo.

3 Responses to “seasonal blather”

  1. Reviewer11

    I enjoyed reading your blog entry. I hope this season brings you lots of happiness and peace. :D

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. :)

  2. rws

    thank you, r11 — wishing you the very best in return. :)

  3. Reviewer11

    Thanks :)

Leave a Reply

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © runswithscissors. All rights reserved.