Monday, November 7, 2011


Last night I braved Oxford Street, playing shoulder charge chicken with the thousands upon thousands who cram into London's main shopping area every day. It was 6 o'clock and I'd just left work, opting to wander down to a MinkPink, Evil Twin, and Staple sample sale in Poland Street rather than hanging around for work drinks (thus I sketch my character for you, dear invisible and maybe non-existent readers - I choose clothes over free booze).

The air was warm, and it was mostly not raining, which is a perfectly legitimate description of London weather. The occasional splash of water did plonk itself down the teeny space between my eyelashes and my glasses, startling me and leaving me momentariily blind as I tried to wipe the dirty rain away and leave my eyeliner in place. However, I didn't need an umbrella, and my new suede boots were looking to survive unscathed, so it was mostly not raining.
I'm a fast walker, a determined walker. I know when to stare down my opponent, and I know when to barrel through with my head down, pretending oblivion. I have even been called a charger, and like to think mysef invincible. At least until I am faced with a Woman+Pram. Before such obstacles I valiantly defer pavement. Having nannied for years, I know the rage of the pram-pusher. But on Oxford St, between the meandering tourists, the thoughtless window shoppers with their sudden stoppages, errant children, hunched and harried Londoners, and the inveterate walk-and-texters, I mostly win shoulder charge chicken. Or at least draw, occasionally banging shoulders or handbags with another charger, colliding with an oomph! and a half hearted apology that I can't even hear myself make over my headphones.

Enough witticisms to set the scene. 

This was my first time after dark (not hard when it's now dark at 4 pm) along Oxford St this year. It. Was. Magical. Wandering along past Selfridges is something that makes your jaw drop in wonder, before grinning like a kid and maybe even slowing down the charge to admit a little Christmas-esque caper. The Oxford St lights are lit! There are giant sized presents and umbrellas dangling strung above the road in the best fanciful Mary Poppins way. Debenhams looks like striped candy! M&S is a wall of twinkles! Trees which I've never even noticed before (aside from registering that they are things that definitely won't get out of my way. I do yield to trees, I'm not insane) are all a-sparkly and wonderful and pretty. Christmas traditions make sense up here, you know? Have you ever smelt chestnuts roasting? Have you? It's magical. And I remembered barrelling up out of the tube one morning last year around this time, to find that it had started snowing. There was a peculiar hush that morning, as the lights glimmered, and the cars and buses were silenced by the snow. It felt like Christmas. 

And last night, I had my first little taste of this season's Christmas sprit.
 Pretty pretty art installation in Selfridges
Just waiting to see my first knitted jumper, and have my first suicidal impulse while listening to excessively crap Christmas carols on repeat. 
Then I'll know it's Christmas.
PS. Sample sale was awesome sauce

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