December 20th, 2003


All is calm, all is bright

Cambridge town centre was actually surprisingly calm for the last Saturday before Christmas. I expected a heaving mass of humanity, murderous mayhem, baggage-laden baggages elbowing everybody out of their way to get to the last Shiny Christmas Thing in the pile, wall-to-wall "Best Christmas Album in the World... EVER" (remixed for chime-bars and panpipes). In fact, though, it wasn't much worse than an average Saturday.

Enjoyed an hour and a half's carol singing with the Portfolio Singers in the Craft Market. Collapse ) Fortunately the rain more or less held off while we sang, although it was sufficiently cold and damp that we still felt that our ironic closing number -- "I do like to be behind the seaside" -- was justified.

After carol-singing, Portfolio adjourned to Tatties for lunch and warmth, by then much-needed. I dragged out my large black coffee as long as humanly possible to delay the inevitable shopping, but eventually had to leave... only to bump into friends from the CCO, who dragged me off (with, I should add, no resistance on my part) for more drinks and chatting. I figured the shopping could wait for the duration of a rather good banana and chocolate milkshake at Casimir's; and besides, a cafe is a much better place to sit and address parcels (god, I hate being this last-minute) than the Post Office floor.

Finally, however, I couldn't put it off any longer, and began my descent into the nine levels of hell reserved for Christmas shopping. Failed to find half the things I was aiming to buy, lost track of who I'd bought what for, and resolved to be far more organised next year. Just like last year, then.

On the other hand, I suspect my disorganisation is at least in part a subconscious rebellion against Christmas consumer culture. I like buying things for people when I see something that I think they will like; I do not like going into the shopping centre armed with a list of people, attempting to match persons with products. Collapse )

When I got back from town, after some dithering, I decided to phone S., who after a year or so of being out-of-contact had sent me a Christmas card, prompting me to get back in touch. Yes, huskyteer, that's your friend Daniel's mum; in fact, Daniel answered the phone, though he sounded so grown-up I didn't realise it was him. (Not that he shouldn't, at twentysomething, sound grown-up; it's just that somewhere in my mind he's still the gloriously precocious fifteen-year-old whom I idolised when I was a young teenager at High School. He, of course, probably wouldn't have been able to pick me out of a line-up of grey-jumpered, bespectacled, ponytailed, acne-riddled teenage girls. Ah, school days. The best days of our lives ... apart from all the days that follow them.

Anyway (to get back on track), S. seemed glad to hear from me, and I've arranged to meet up with her over the Christmas break, which is good. I've missed hearing from her -- I may have long since grown out of smitten schoolroom sighs and saccharine sonnets, but she's still a great person whom I'm very glad to know.

And if I'm meeting up with her on the 30th, that means I'm definitely staying at home from the 24th-31st, which is probably for the best. I need a break from Cambridge. I need time, and space, and to get back to the nearest thing I have to any "roots" (other than my hopelessly fading henna), that is to say, my family.

* * *

Good lord, is that the time? Time to eat and wrap some antelopes nuns jam presents before going out to see the girlz.
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