First of all, today is the birthday of the Emperor of Japan. That means, among other things, a day off for the Japanese people.
And I won’t be doing too much more moaning and groaning about how much I hate winter. The Winter Solstice is past and the days are getting longer.
I’ve got to tell the world what a damnably foul mood I’m in. Winter is the season I dislike most, and this is the worst winter week I’ve known for years. The last time winter brought me down to such a depth of gloom was early 1987.
And I feel exactly the same way now. Sub-zero temperatures, snow and ice everywhere…
I will not mince my words. I HATE WINTER.
I hate the dark mornings and the even darker evenings.
I hate the cold wind and the freezing fog.
I hate the snow and ice.
I hate having cold hands and feet.
I hate having to keep the heating on all day and constantly drinking hot drink.
I hate having to constantly watch my step when walking across snow and ice.
I hate not being able to get out on my bike.
I hate all the disruption to our everyday lives the winter weather causes.
In short, I HATE THIS WHOLE «blankety-blank» SEASON!!!
At least it’s the worst Saturday we’ve had for years. It didn’t look too bad early in the morning – cold and icy, yes, but tolerable – so I decided to make the most of the morning before I did my weekly stint in the Charity Shop.
I cycled to that giant behemoth in Edmonton called IKEA for a little window shopping and pop into IKEA’s restaurant for a mid-morning snack. I arrived there at about 9:30. When I looked out the window of the restaurant my heart sank lower than it had for ages. Ten centimetres of snow augmented by a blizzard greeted me.
Now I am no fan of snow. In fact I hate it, and making my way home in a blizzard is misery. I did think of jumping on the bus but the traffic was snarled up to a horrendous degree. And so began a bike journey to Tottenham Hale.
I phoned the shop to tell them I’d be late, and they said, “Don’t bother coming in. It’s not worth it. We’re closing early today anyway.”
So here I am in Costa in Walthamstow mall. Anyone with sense would just go back to bed, but I spent most of the previous night in bed and I just can’t spend the whole day like that.
Besides, I can take pride in myself for one reason. Snow never stopped me going where I want to go and it hasn’t stopped me today. And I doubt it’ll stop me from going to church tomorrow.
It’s been a whole lunar month since my crash and only yesterday did I venture out on my bike. I cycled from Stansted to Epping. An exhausting ride — the weather was just the same as it was on November 13th, cloudy with an unremitting south-west wind blowing against me the whole way.
Today my journey was the very same route I took that unfortunate November day but the weather was sunny, day and quite mild for December. And not surprisingly my mood was just the opposite of what it was four weeks ago, or 28 days or 672 hours ago.
And my collar bone is knitting together, though my left arm is still not 100% functional.
I’m having a pot of tea in “Gossip” cafe in Broadway Market and then it’s my weekly stint in the Charity Shop…
For one reason or another, I didn’t get to telling you about Molly’s birthday do last Saturday.
Molly, or to give her full name, Miss Margaret Carleton, reached her century on November 30th and we had a party for her on the Saturday before. The highlight of this do was the Queen – well, a look-alike of the Queen – dropping in to deliver her 100th birthday telegram to Molly.
And to look at Molly now, she could well live to be 200!
You may remember that I do a weekly stint at the Charity Shop of Prideaux House. Well, Molly started this shop way back in 1972. It’s still going today and so is the Community for Fellowship and Reconciliation, although Molly retired in 2005.
When she was born, Britain had an empire which covered a huge chunk of the world. All of Ireland was under British rule. China was still an empire, ruled by the Manchus. Russia was still ruled by the Tsar Nicholas II and Germany was still ruled by Kaiser Wilhelm II. And Japan was still ruled by the Emperor Meiji.
And in England it was still easy to tell where London ended and Middlesex began.
The world has changed beyond recognition in the past century. But one thing that hasn’t is the good side of human nature. It manifested itself last Saturday to make Molly’s party a success!