And just like that, it was February.
Which means one thing, dear Reader, which is that we both survived January. Again. Punched it on the nose and landed it, looking slightly surprised, on its slightly frozen derrière. Much like a snowboarder, apart from the ‘looking surprised’ bit, as they seem to want to sit down on their frozen behind at every available opportunity.
And for myself, I survived January without my usual January Coping Mechanism which is to escape to the Alps for a week’s skiing. In fact, at the time of writing, I should be supping a hot chocolate in a mountain restaurant, preparing for the very final run of the week down to the village, or chalet, or bus stop. Or something.
But I’m not, I’m here on my sofa, looking out at leaden skies through bare windswept branches. However the skies are a brighter shade of lead than they would have been at this time on a January day. So let’s raise a glass to that.
Speaking of which, on Hogmanay morning, I got up early for a smart meter installation. It was snowing. I wandered along the promenade. There were people in the sea, swimming, and four guys were getting one of the beach volleyball courts ready, raking the frozen sand.
I picked up a newspaper, solely for the crossword, and headed back via Twelve Triangles, my local bakery and purveyor of not-underpriced sourdough loaves and excellent croissants. I’m glad they seem to be considered an essential shop.
I queued outside for about ten minutes.
“Hi! How are you today?” asked the cheery girl when I finally arrived at the counter.
“I’m great!” I replied, “although queuing for bread, in the snow, makes me feel like I’m in Communist Russia.”
She said nothing to that. I fancy she may have been something of a Communist herself.
Am reading quite a lot of books these days that were set in the last days of the Weimar Republic in Germany, ie before the Nazis came to power. That, and a recent watching of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, have served to remind me that the Communist Party were a force in Western Europe, and even in Britain, not so very long ago.
It’s intriguing to me to think that it had such a toe-hold in the west in (relatively) recent times. Growing up, as I did, in the 80s and 90s, Communism was always a Russian/Eastern Bloc/Chinese thing.
And has remained so, except when I confess to my sister that the newspaper I buy for crossword purposes is the Daily Telegraph, which sparks such a vigorous reaction that I wonder if Communism hasn’t in fact gained a toe-hold in my own family.
A few days ago, right at the beginning of my week of non-skiing, I made an emergency run to Sainsbury’s, on account of developing a sudden but quite definite hankering for a Croque Madame and an equally sudden realisation that I had no eggs with which to make this happen.
On recalling that I had picked up a croissant earlier from the aforementioned Essential Bakery, I did wonder if my subconscious might have been trying to make it up to me that I wasn’t actually in France.
Today I made my fourth lunch-time Croque Madame in five days. I think the subconscious has taken charge of things.
Here’s to being able to go skiing again. And to brighter days. Roll on Spring.