London Life
2020-12-31 10:01:34 (UTC)

Winter Lights

29th December 2020

I had to attend a Zoom call about this morning’s task, as if there were important safety considerations, but there wasn’t much to discuss. However, a good few minutes into the call, the man in charge casually mentioned that he only wanted two of us at a time, whereas four people including Jack were down for an 11:30-13:00 shift. He asked if any of us could get there for 10:00, because he found out (from a phone call taken during our meeting) that he was getting a delivery at that time. It was now 09:18, so I had to get Jack out of bed to get us down there in time, as it was only a five-minute run for us (the other participants were Abi, who I would have seen for the last time, and Isobel who lives near Finchley Road). In fact, we had to wait until about twenty past before we started any work, while Jack did his exercise and I chatted up the delivery driver’s daughter. They’d brought food donations from Tesco in Friern Barnet.

In fact, our task was nothing to do with the food delivery, as we were breaking up and binning cardboard boxes, for recycling. The delivery actually got in our way a bit, as they were coming past us with crates as we undertook our task on the stairs.

Afterwards, we walked up to the Hidden Café, but hadn’t got any croissants. We examined the work being done on the bridge by the Overground station, which isn’t, as Jack hoped, anything to do with the new grass path which is to be introduced alongside the tracks.
Earlier in the week I’d read that the Black Cat was open all week at lunchtimes, so after going home for a while, we set off there by bike. I went wrong after going through the estate in Islington, couldn’t find Bridgeman Road and we were soon at Highbury Corner, and busy St Paul’s Road. When I saw Warren Road, I thought I was back on track, but it was the opposite end of that road, so after going through the New River park, we were going in completely the wrong direction, which we didn’t realise until we got to Upper Street. We did go to the Vegan Butcher for the first time, though I’m not a fan of fake meat, I don’t like the look or taste of it, and we just got something called “soysage”.

We ate our Black Cat food in the park, but when I tried some of Jack’s festive toastie, my body seemed to reject it, as I was immediately sick. I saved my chick pea sandwich for later, and suggested we went on to Victoria Park, where we just got in the toilets before they shut, then we continued along the canal to Mile End. Jack wanted to go to the Docklands and see the light show, but I didn’t want to do too much in one day, when there's little to do anyway, and I hadn’t dressed warmly enough. Also, frustratingly and implausibly, I hadn’t been able to find my new fluorescent cycling jacket since Christmas Eve when Jack gave me it, and I’ve lost my tiny black light in the house somewhere.

However, we found our way there with some difficulty, having to negotiate the A12 and A13 without encountering the Blackwall Tunnel. Jack downloaded a map of the light show, but there were only nine installations instead of the usual 26, and many were the same as last year. However, the ride back was more straightforward than I expected, as we got to the canal fairly quickly, it wasn’t very busy or fully dark, and I did have a light on my front phone-holder.