Sunday, 19 December 2010

Skating on black ice.....

I was amused whilst watching Miranda last night ( I honestly don't really like the show but I honestly really do like her....go figure) when her Dad, deliciously played by Tom Conti, kept referencing the treacherous black ice. The treachery of black ice was of course my own Dad's first fear, the moment snow flakes appeared in the sky and, as a child, I eagerly awaited it, imagining it to be much like the blanket of oh-so-wanted white snow. Except black. It's fear spread throughout all plans and events, curtailing trips after dark, cancelling carol concerts, pantomimes and parties, my Mum's brow furrowed as my Dad looked skyward, weighing up the possible outcome of any journey anywhere and deciding staying in would be best, while I tearfully looked on. Now, Miranda calls upon her own experiences I believe, and is a good deal younger than me, so therefore I must assume that all Dads, of all ages, fear the treacherous black ice, above all else. And it made me laugh. Perhaps that's why I like having her in my home.

However, I did not let the treacherous black ice, white snow and inevitable gray slush stop me from venturing out this weekend. Oh no. I travelled in the blizzard to Gypsy Hill to admire my friend, the Doctor's, enormous conifer. We drank small black coffees in his large, newly decorated, open plan kitchen. And while cars scudded and slid gingerly down the hill, we walked through the squeaky, fresh snow to the Dulwich Picture Gallery to see the Norman Rockwell exhibition. Our friendship was forged in New York, so the paintings of apple-cheeked-Americans in milk-bars and on front porches, set against the bleak midwinter setting, suited us perfectly. It got dark and we stayed out, drinking whisky & ginger in a wood-panelled pub while the Doctor mused on how much it looked like upstate New York. I thought it rather more like Dorking but no matter. Then we snow-ploughed our way back through the empty streets, to Gypsy Hill, to eat tapas, alone, in an empty restaurant. It was delicious, it had effectively been cooked....just for us.

Sunday brought more fun in the snow. I met my mate Dave for our annual Christmas do. Once, many years ago, whilst between careers, we came up with a sure-fire-quick-fix business idea, called 'Done & Dusted'.....but that's a whole other story. The business never really got beyond the planning stage but we did implement the office Christmas party and we make sure we never miss it. This year we decided to meet for brunch at the feverishly fashionable, A Little Of What You Fancy, much recommended by Fashion's Most Wanted, in Dalston, the 21st century, uber-hip, cutting-edge home of all that is mad, bad and the next big thing. And it was delicious: creamy scrambled eggs with slabs of excellent bacon and spicy Bloody Marys fortified us for a walk to Brick Lane, popping into the Geffrye Museum, because we never had before and it seemed churlish not to. Then we fought our way through the dazed Sunday tourists and confused leftover-clubbers, to 18 Folgate Street, Dennis Severs' House. It has taken me 6 years to finally get here having walked past it forever. We were told to leave our 21st century selves outside, and so we said goodbye to all that is hip and groovy and Spitalfields, and entered the 18th Century, Huguenot home of the Jervais family. Lit only by candle and open fires, we wandered alone (unheard of in these days of health and safety) and in silence, although the urge to whisper did overcome us on several occasions. Amusingly, there are notes dotted about the rooms reminding those of us unable to shut up to do just that. It is the most brilliant experience. The house is a time capsule of it's day, appearing untouched and as if the various family members have just left the room, their meal interrupted, a half empty glass of wine on the table, a guttering candle in need of replacing, a log spitting in the grate and outside the sound of horses hooves as a couch drives by...... every one should go.

Top tip: If you haven't sorted it by now, forget it, because the tree tops are glistening and even if the children aren't listening....I think I hear sleigh bells in the snow.....


  1. I do wish you'd put photographs on your blog - you so make me want to see more. Have a lovely Christmas xxxx

  2. Slush is SUCH a strange colour - I've just come back from slippin-an-a-slidin around town and it's the most miserable colour on earth. Maybe because it's such a difference from the lovely white snow it started off as.

  3. Dear Jo, you should put some pics on, that would be lovely to go with your brilliant writing.

    My dad always went on about black ice too! I like Miranda, I particularly like Patricia Hodge in it and Tom Conti was a good bit of casting.

    I'm so glad you went to Elaine's. We should go for dinner in the New Year.

    I LOVED Dennis Severs house. You're right everyone should go. It's great at Christmas. Speak soon xx

  4. What a plendid outing. I've added this restaurant on my list of things to do next time I'm back in England. Not sure I'm hip enough to be let through the door though, so I might have to name drop:)

  5. Happy holidays, dear lady! Stay warm.



  6. Hello, I just discovered your blog from a comment you left on Ms. Moon's blog (Bless Our Hearts).
    I used to blog also, but gave it up last year. And, yes I am wearing shoes from 2 different pairs in the little photo that should pop up. That's just how I am.
    For the record, I'm an American and in my 60th year on this planet. I found that the big birthdays (ones with 0's on them) that start with even numbers are more difficult than the ones that start with odd numbers. 40 was difficult for me, 50, not so much. I'm not looking forward to 60...
    Merry Christmas and you're damned straight about Christmas - if you haven't gotten it together by now, it's not happening for you this year.

  7. Just stopping by to say hello daaaaahling. Good for you for getting out and about in this horrid cold. The weather has been keeping me in lately. I just hate the cold. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you a happy new year.
    *kisses* HH