Vignettes – 08/12/10

A cold morning – running for the bus.

Young inner-city school children with Santa hats on. Laughing. ‘Tis the season. It never ceases to amaze me when I see young kids going to school in the morning in central London. To many this is a big, scary city, but these kids travel on their own and are at ease as they live in the inner-city.

The bus turns. I see the homeless sheltering at what looks like a soup kitchen.

An impossibly busy day.

Leaving at 7pm there is an interminable wait for the bus according to the display. Two men hug, several times, as they say goodbye to one another close to the bus stop. One is on a bike. They look like colleagues. Or old friends. I love outward displays of fraternal affection.

I decide to walk home. I walk down Whitehall. Lots of people in party costumes – it’s that time of year. Others are in black tie. At Trafalgar Square two men are dancing – a kind of waltz. Lots of tipsy people around and it’s not even that late.

At the top of Whitehall I see a police car having pulled over a licensed minicab. The minicab driver is Eastern European and being given a dressing down by the old bill. I catch his eye. And sympathise. And then move on. I can’t help feeling sorry for him the way he’s being spoken to in a very patronising manner by the policeman.

I walk past Horseguards Parade. A lone guardsman of the Queen’s cavalry stands on the pavement in full dress uniform. I wonder what it would be like to be in the armed forces. For a long time I had wanted to.

I keep walking, glad of my new winter coat, my new fur lined boots and my wrap-around ear warmers which are perhaps the best thing I’ve bought this season.

At 10 Downing Street I see the usual 5 or so armed police behind the large, black gate. Talking animatedly; gossiping even.

I keep walking. At the Foreign Office I can see in through a window. I see a decoration hanging up and Sky news on in the background.

I reach Westminster Abbey and the bells are ringing in all their glory. It’s atmospheric.

I’m quire prepared to walk all the way home (total walk is about 40-45 mins) but a bus suddenly appears and so I jump on it and very soon I’m home.

At the flat – all is immaculate. My cleaner has done a good job – as ever – and has written me a note, thanking me for the Christmas bonus I gave her. She’s even left me a Christmas card.

6 thoughts on “Vignettes – 08/12/10

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  1. Ahhh very atmospheric – I do enjoy these kind of posts. I have always been rather intimidated by the bustle of London – you wouldn’t think so when I live in a big city, but I’ve never liked crowds even in my home city of Leeds.

  2. Wow….Christmas time – what a pleasure to read your snippets. I don’t have anywhere as exciting to walk and see such stuff but I see a lot of variations on Christmas decorations in the houses as i drive along!

  3. My daughter used to cross the city by metro on her own in Moscow when she was only 15. The first couple of times are stressful for both parties, then you get used to it…

    Also, my husband and his friends regularly tell each other they love one another, and hug. Even when sober!! I think it’s good to be able to share emotions and appreciation of one’s friends. It doesn’t seem to be such a hang-up in other countries.

    I had my hair cut tonight and gave the stylist a card and Christmas tip, large box of excellent chocolates for the juniors. She said it was the first she’d received this year which I found really sad. Have people lost the art of saying thank you?

    Excellent post, hence the lengthy comment…

  4. Daphne – thank you! And yes, it can be intimidating sometimes, even though I’ve lived here 10+ years.

    Birdy – I do quite like watching the world go by. Crazy with all this snow mind you.

    RO – totally agree with you that we should be able to share emotions and yes, it’s much more of a hang-up in this country than most others, sadly. And yes, lots of people have, sadly, seemed to have lost the ability to thank one another – especially at Christmas.

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