All in all Christmas was great. One of my favourite ever, truth be told.
We had the obligatory mad Christmas Eve rush to Liberty to buy ribbon and then to the John Lewis food hall to replenish the stocks of Christmas food that I’d systematically eaten my way through in the preceding weekend. The queue in the food hall was all around the hall and half way around the glassware section too – anyone who is familiar with the Oxford Street store will know that this is probably longer than the queue around the perimeter of the Vatican at Easter. We got there in the end though, but without any bread which had been long sold out.
I spent pretty much all of the evening of Christmas Eve decorating the flat, which is why I’ve not posted about that yet. that took rather longer than expected. I assembled our Covent Garden Market purchases into garlands and vases, we decorated the tree and lit the fire. It was fun and the flat looked pretty good. Then we hastily wrapped some presents and went to bed. It was all a bit close to the wire but that’s half the fun of it really isn’t it?
It was so lovely to host Christmas in our new flat. Neither of us have tired yet of the deep joy of being homeowners again, renting just isn’t the same and we’re so happy in our Lilliputian flat. We had all of our parents staying with us in various denominations over the few days of Christmas. The AeroBed was up and down like a yo-yo. Richard and his Dad cooked a lot. I assembled a lot of bread and cheese and washed a lot of plates. I hate washing up. We lost my mum to ‘flu for one day, and then we lost Richard’s mum to Hay Day. Richard, Arthur and now Evan subsequently got struck down with that addiction too. But all in all it was a great success, I think.
Richard gave me a pair of antlers which is pretty much the best present anyone could have got me. They are awesome. Needless to say he didn’t wrap them but he did put some pretty bows on the tips.
Showing our new home to our family made us happy. We had lots of walks on Primrose Hill to show off the pretty view. It rained a lot.
And as nice as it was to have house guests for three days, and as much fun as we had, I slightly enjoyed hoovering them out of the house on the 28th and getting the flat back to normal.
Then there were two blissful days at home with no plans. We had a wander through Covent Garden to see the Christmas decorations and wandered down to the river to see the Tim Walker exhibition at Somerset House which was excellent. I wished there had been more of his throught process and more about how he constructed the sets, but it was great to see the huge doll, the skeleton and the spitfire. He really is quite extraordinary. What I really loved is how age-agnostic his view of beauty is. Women such as Dame Vivienne Westwood look as beautiful as any of the models on display and of course have years and years more character to their faces.
I think this quote of his is the best description of photography I’ve ever read.
I think about a secret room. Nobody knows where the room is because it’s hidden at the top of a tower in a very old house. Even though I’ve been there before, I can’t always find it, but if my intentions are true and my mind is clear, I may well find myself walking up the same spiralling stone staircase that leads me up to the door, that leads to another door, and maybe another door … Sometimes the doors are locked, sometimes they are open. Once inside, the room itself is empty but upholstered floor to ceiling, wall to wall, in a deep black velvet. High up at the furthest corner from the door, there is a tiny rectangular window with a highly sprung, small black shutter that opens and shuts with a very loud CLAP!
And that was it, Christmas was over in a flash and it was time to head down to Devon to see in the new year.
(One of the real joys of social media is the ability to feel that you are sharing in your friend’s celebrations all around the world, in some small way. It is such a lovely thing to be able to see realtime photos of friend’s christmas decorations, presents, trees and tables and see festivities played out on Instagram. I hope you all had a fabulous time.)