I’m back, after my longest non-blogging spell since I got started in May. December has been so busy; I returned from India and had a whole FOUR days back in England (during which time I had two – unsuccessful – job interviews) before then using up some more airline miles and going to California for a week. A greater contrast with Goa I’m not sure exists and I spent my time there in complete flux; three countries, three time zones (in opposite directions), three currencies, a million contrasts.
I then returned to the UK a week ahead of Christmas and had to frantically “get organised” with sorting out cards, presents and food in time for cooking lunch last Friday (I know that Christmas is about so much more than simply “cooking lunch” … but when you see the queues and the all-out fights which break out in British supermarkets … I wonder …). This is the Christmassy image that I meant to post at the time but didn’t get a chance to – it’s my grandmother, wrangling a Christmas turkey into a basket, back in 1938:
For those who follow me on Twitter (@TheGenderBlog), you may have seen that I tweeted that I was emulating Sarah Brown, doyenne of number 10 Downing Tweet Street and trying to avoid using paper to wrap my gifts. My packaging of choice was these Goan canvas shopping bags, of which I brought around a dozen home with me on December 7th and so I used them as both an additional, sustainable gift in their own right and also as “wrapping” for this year’s presents:
Unsurprisingly, most people on my list this year received pashminas, Indian tea and sarongs within their shopping bags. And, on the receiving gifts front, there was a distinctly Indian theme to my own presents: “The Jewel in the Crown” on DVD, “The Darjeeling Limited” also on DVD, “Being Indian” and “India’s Unending Journey” in paperback. Along similar lines, I also decided that I would really like to learn a few words of Hindi for my next trip to India and so I ordered a “teach yourself Hindi” CD pack from Amazon which arrived on Christmas Eve. OK, so it’s still in the packaging as yet … but the intent is there.
One of the most unwelcome contrasts between the beginning of December (Goa) and the end of December (west London) has been the weather. I’m so cold! We’ve actually had snow in London, which has both been quite unusual and also caused huge chaos, given that the British are not a nation who cope well with extremes of temperature, be they “heatwaves” of post 22 degrees or, at the other end of the spectrum, a few flakes of snow at a level that the average American East Coaster would doubtless not even recognise as the same substance.
Here’s The Observer’s Barbara Ellen with a sublime quote on the white stuff:
“Indeed, snow is the one-night stand of weather conditions: initially surprising, even magical, but you end up wishing it had never happened, and would indeed just melt away.”
Apparently, more snow is “promised” over the next few days, so cue total news coverage, which I suppose will make a change from the many (many) shots of people queuing up at assorted airports. Happy days!