21 December, 2006

London fog

Yes, truly! It's my favorite sort of weather emergency: lots of coverage on the news, but nobody gets hurt. At least, it can last until Saturday when our friends from New York get ready to fly here for Christmas. The fog is simply blanketing the country, even London itself, in a misty, sort of frozen fluff. All the airports are closed, which is of course massively inconvenient for everyone. But if one does not need to fly, it is very cozy outside. John and Avery just came in from Christmas shopping and I am not allowed to go in the living room. But the smell from the tree is drifting into my study. It's amazing how much more you appreciate a Christmas tree if you have struggled to put one up, then struggled even more to get it down and out of your house, and then put up another one. Now I plan just to sit back and enjoy its glittery, fragrant magic. Don't you love the little horsey riding jacket ornament? It just came yesterday, in the post all the way from Indiana. Thank you, Nonna and Grandpa Paul.

The guys who came to deliver it yesterday were such central-casting Londoners. The head honcho assured us, "You need a picture hung, or a new tap put in? We can do that for you, no worries. You pay us by the hour, we do whatever you need doing. You're nice people, I can see that. Give me that saw, I'll take the end off that tree for you." At one point he somewhat surprisingly lifted up his sweatshirt to display a large tattoo of a cross. "I'm a real good Catholic, so Christmas is big for me."

I'm catching up on friends' Christmas adventures by blog, and stalking oysters, for Christmas Eve oyster stew (I think I've tracked them down at the Partridges Farmer's Market on Saturday), and putting tips in Christmas cards for our porter and cleaning lady, and listening to Avery while she wraps presents. It feels like the calm before the storm: will we be able to pull off a suitably festive Christmas for our Jewish visitors, for whom this could be the first and last Christmas? Although my friend Alyssa warns me that if Elliot has too much fun, we could have him on our doorstep every December 25th for the next 75 years. That sounds just about right.

Tonight we're headed to the Barbican (don't worry, I'll have John with me so I won't get lost again) to hear the the Choir of St. George's, Windsor, sing Christmas carols. I can hardly wait. I realize at the violin concert with Rosemary how much I love hearing live music, especially Christmas music, so it should be good fun.

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