Four am on the 1st of February – and she is awake. The snow is beginning to fall. For me, snow is still the thrill of it all. I love snow, will not complain … no, don’t complain, and revel in the silent whiteness. I am standing at the window, transfixed on the flakes. Silent gorgeousness. A few of us wake at this time, we work, we worry, we rise to babies, and we watch the snow beginning to fall.
It’s the beginning of the Macbeth month in London. The shortest, and the bloodiest. Christmas joy pales, January sales lapsed … now to wait for the crocus and snowdrops. To endure, only today was special … white magic came. Rising to give a tour of the hidden icons of London, daunting to say the least. Having lived here for a decade has me well prepared, thanks to Uniglow
Just call me the Michelin lass. Can barely get the arms to meet with all the padding beneath. Two pairs of socks, tights, more, more and more. The black outer uniform, gloves, beanie and she is good to go. Oh, and the music – cannot live without the music and forever grateful for the present. It’s coffee before the tube, oat milk heaven. Hope I don’t have to stand all the way to Victoria. I do. I do not care, there is snow.
Son sends the picture of morning at Sandhurst. Landscape.
My clients are a mum and daughter team, mum’s first visit to London. How to make her fall in love with my city when the horizontal, ice rain whips at every turn? Coutours does not flail in frosty climes. Little giggy, get warm dance in Trafalgar Square and tea at St. Martin in the fields crypt. We are happy, we are learning from each other. Great women.
But for me, rainy days are shopping days and I need to go to the department store.
Did I add that the umbrella flipped? Walking against the beast. Fingers frosted. Time for comfort food and retail therapy.
It is most definitely a mash and mushy peas day. We have the finest restaurants and coffee shops in the world, but days like this, it’s the comfort food, comfort comments, ‘how are you love?’ followed by ‘oh darlin’ colder than a witches tit innit? For sure darlin’ – for sure. And what is so special is all the learning I do on the tours – going back to what the winters were like in Shakespeare’s time. God awful in the murky streets of London with little warmth, little work and literally no money. No wonder gin had such a popular following! A tot for a pence, would have begged for it – death by cold was not an attractive option when sober.
We have amazing stores. John Lewis, Debenhams, Selfridges, Harrods – vast stores of goodies. Designer everything, choices like petals on the prettiest flower. I traced the fabrics with my fingers, pretend choose lamps for the pretend home. Waved evening dresses before the mirror, decided on shoes I could not afford. Spritzed the perfumes, smelt the cheese and decided, once more, to discard all I have and start again – when I have lost the pounds around my untoned sculpture of me. Do that everytime, don’t you? Going to shed and start again, the mantra of my life.
Big stores remind me of happiness. When I was a young girl, in a small town, twice a year, my mother and grandmother, would take us on the train to Johannesburg, for shopping. Starting at John Orr’s, we would begin at the top with anchovy toast and tea and then the expedition began. One floor at a time. An entire day of lists to be ticked. Home, clothes, luggage – costumes for the seaside. Patient in the following with the reward of a toy at Lilliputs before going back to the station. We shared much on those days, those mother and daughter days. I loved my mother more when we went shopping together. She seemed so organised and in control. Just the girls. The tradition continues with my girls.
Rainy days on holidays were always for shopping. Greenacres, Stuttafords, ‘De Hup’ as my grandmother would say … to the stores when rain descends!
And it was a rainy, snowy day today. A nostalgic trip to the department store. May they never disappear. mecca of offerings and sharing lipstick trials. Bought dumbbells (do not comment) , lingerie (love great lingerie) and a Barbour T-shirt – had to have the British injection on that one.
Going to be a long February. “What’s done, is done” Macbeth
Oh the snow, she intrigues me, oh the tour, she was wonderful. Oh, the shopping on a snowy day, she was exactly what I needed.
Be kind this February… be kind to this soul.
We have much to do.