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Friday, January 26, 2007


London's mixed nature is always the more apparent to Granny when returning from a more mono-cultural place - Berlin, for instance, let alone her island. Last night she went to pick up a newspaper from the Indian newsagent that carries local papers from more counties in Ireland she ever knew existed. She then tripped a few doors along to the Chinese Bakery-Come Takeaway where you can get whole meals for £2.50 (she went for chicken in black bean sauce with rice if you're asking) served by an aged Chinese man round and smily as a Buddha, who calls everyone, young, old, male, female 'Boss.' From behind him in the kitchen came the odd word of Chinese - no more than that; the whole staff, just like the Indian woman in the newsagent were watching Coronation Street while they worked. Granny wonders if being hooked on Coronation Street would count no less than the cricket taste as evidence of assimilation. She doesn't see why it shouldn't.

It's cold. Granny is wearing: one sleeveless thermal vest + one short-sleeved thermal vest + one t-shirt+ one purple polo neck sweater (cashmere - from Uniclo - heaven) +one big, green woven wool shirt, twenty years old from a woollen mill in Oxfordshire, (nicked from Beloved the moment Granny saw it; her favourite garment these days; her generation started the trend of wearing clothes belonging their male admirers - in her young days it was the only way, short of surprising the assistants in men's clothes shops, to get big sweaters in good dark or bright colours; she sees no reason to change this habit, even in a more unisex age) + a black fleece jerkin + her black sheepskin boots. (The one's that AREN'T slippers..). When she goes out she adds a thick black coat. This just about keeps her warm. Thinking of global warming - and, of her fuel bills - she does try not to up the temperature indoors; this is good of her. But she is not yet quite geriatric enough for hypothermia to be an issue, so has no excuse not to try, at least.

As you would guess, London is not sitting in a heatwave. Nor is it literally arctic. But it feels quite Arctic enough to her, thankyou. Which does not mean she did not enjoy opening her window two mornings ago and seeing SNOW. It so surprised her, her jaw, literally, dropped. Yes, she knows that's a cliche, but almost for the first time she realised that it does actually happen. Her jaw unhinged itself spontaneously and fell; she could almost hear it.

The snow had all gone by mid-morning. Living in the Canaries may leave Granny feeling the cold even more than she always did, on the other hand it does make her appreciate the glory of that ephemeral whiteness. But she of course was not forced to go out first thing and brave the predictably chaotic transport system. She spoke to a friend shivering on a platform, having waited twenty minutes for a District Line train. Lucky Granny on the other hand, layered in her wool, was safely indoors and happy to stay there.

She's off here there everywhere over the weekend. Which means she won't be back here before Monday at the very earliest. Meantime she has put up two more chapters on her unpublished story, here. Just to keep you happy. OR NOT. It's up to you.


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