So let me list the things that I should be glad of:
- My fourth day of earnings! Having seen no cash come in for so long, every day of earnings seems to be a bonus.
- Because I had to get out to go to work, I got to witness the first morning of hard frost we've had so far this season, and the Flats were covered in icy mist, while the rising sun was a glowing orange in a fairly clear sky. The sun was further south-east than I've ever seen (it's normally hidden behind clouds at this time of year!) At last, it seemed obvious how primitive peoples could accurately identify the solstices, and equinoxes, and thereby a calendar.
- It was cold and crisp, but everybody seemed happier and chirpier today. Any weather is better than gray clouds, and rain, when you've had more of it than you can bear.
- My ucky feeling of illness over the weekend seems to be receding, with sure tell-tale signs of energetic sneezing showing that my immune system is kicking back properly at last.
- Brentwood is not in London. Hooray! As I wandered about during my lunch-break, I felt as gleeful as a prisoner escaped. Even a road leading towards the Travis Perkins seemed to be an exciting adventure!
- The people at work are nice, and it's coming up to Christmas, so they're probably even more cheerful than I could expect them to be.
The weekend was a struggle, though. While the stomach cramps were subsiding, the ucky feeling of something half way between a cold and a flu marinated in my bones. On Saturday, a bike ride to Stratford to stock up on beer from Morrison's, and then a night time march about in the neighbourhood, just about made me feel alive. Picked up Iain Sinclair's book, Thameside, and from first flippings, I don't know when I'll feel able to get into it.
Then Sunday opened up to be a beautiful sunny blue skied cold day, and I wished I had a conservatory with a ceiling high enough for a patio heater, and a sunlounger. Nonetheless, in the middle of the day, I almost dozed off while sitting and staring at, feeling unable to get out the front door. Here I must congratulate myself, for I willed myself to get out on the bicycle, and had a very useful trip to Waitrose in Woodford.
Now what can I say, except that with my demanding standards in food, I would shop at Waitrose all the time, if money were no object. And on a Sunday afternoon, their clientele were a universe away from the mish-mash grubby-fingering nouveaux emigres at the Leyton Asda. The joy of entering into sophisticated civilized shopping circles was not lost on me, nor was the new freedom to pick up things that I would normally have denied myself. And people actually spoke English there! And they had high-minded values such as expecting quality, variety, and traceability of their food!
The trouble with being me, is I can be a complete chav peasant, or a complete bourgeois snob, but I can't just be one or the other. I have to satisfy both aspects of me, and the Waitrose aspect has been too long denied.
But the best part was that I parked my bike at exactly the same time as someone else, and then came out of the supermarket to find him packing his shopping onto his bike. Although I still felt at a relatively low and ucky ebb, I thought I must engage him in conversation. I've never met any other guy at any supermarket who was crazy enough to pack their piles of weekly shopping onto their bike. And so ensued a half-hour long chat outside the supermarket. He was a very nice fellow, and I really regret that I did not have the wherewithal to steer our conversation into a friendly pub, because it is so, so difficult to find friendly people in London that you can enjoy a chat with. Of course, I sussed out that he was a Geordie, because his accent so reminded me of one Terry that I met years ago at a university course. And of course, this explains why he was so friendly. Geordies are verbally approachable and are friendly and sociable with it, for they are brought up with the imprint of this responsibility. This means they are really good at making connections with strangers, but they can be a bit shy about taking that connection to a higher level of intensity when they desire it.
Well, I hope I bump into him again, and since he lives in Wanstead, that might be not so strange. He's even greener than I ever used to be, which without being a Swampy-style eco-warrior, is difficult. A man who owns a car by virtue of it having been given to him, but only manages to do 1000 miles a year in it. I know people who do 1000 miles a week, easily, and gave up despairing at them! I might be a very disillusioned Greenie, but I felt very comfortable around him because of his values.