It is too early for Christmas

However, I have stocked up on a load of wrapping paper and a couple of advent calendars.  I usually buy lots of fairly neutral wrapping paper at Christmas and then can use it throughout the year.  There’s a thing in The Spike about wrapping paper, which is worth a read.  I was tempted to start using ribbon after reading it (and looking at the Pinterest photos) but then decided that as I have managed to get to now not being the sort of person who uses ribbon, I won’t start now.  I mean, I still use envelope labels for the from / to on the presents.

I probably won’t use all this right away
Here are the Advent Calendars

I got the advent calendars from After Noah.  This, thank goodness, is still going and hasn’t been made into an estate agent or scent shop.

On the bus this morning, there was a couple having really rather a vicious argument about Christmas.  I didn’t get the entire thing but the gist was that she wanted them both to go to her family at Christmas.  I would have been rather sympathetic but she was loud, passive aggressive and it was terrible trying NOT to stare at them.

The Christmas-cards-designed-by-a-child have come back from school so I guess I’d better start writing them soon.  Perhaps I should clear all the stuff off the mantelpieces too.


It’s unseasonably warm but I am loving October.  It’s nearly Hallow’een!  So exciting.

I love October

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had some men in, replacing the rotten windowsills (there were a few) and repainting all the outside bits that needed repainting.  They’re just finishing up now and are doing the front door.  I was a bit thrown when the man asked me what colour I wanted the front door – we’ve always had a dark red front door but I wondered whether it was worth getting a totally new colour as the door was being redone.  Plus my Mum said that everyone in the world should have a dark green front door.  In the end, I asked my son who is now six and said that he wanted it to be “completely the same, Mummy”.  Then I dithered a bit over whether to pick Rectory Red, Incarnadine or Eating Room Red (a bit too dark and “tasteful”).  So the door is or will be Rectory Red, which is a slightly lighter red than the colour it was before.  It’s also now in “exterior eggshell”, which seems to be more matte than the gloss.

The other day, one of my neighbours was outside, wearing a his-vis jacket and hanging out with the police.  So I went to have a nose – she was measuring the speed of all the cars and vans with one of those zappers and when anyone went over 25, the police pulled them over and gave them a ticket.  All of Islington is meant to have a 20 limit but a load of people use our road as a cut through and bomb it at nearer 40.  My husband almost never parks his car outside our house because people keep crashing into the cars parked there (a few years ago, one of them was his).  I found the whole Catching People Speeding Along My Road thing completely thrilling and signed up for a stint.  If it happens, I’ll let you know what it is like.  My husband asked why the police don’t just use the speed camera and catch people by themselves – I suspect it is a public relations exercise (which is fine with me).


I read a column in The Times today by Rod Liddle (called “Greetings from Corbynia, home of yak cheese and grinding poverty. Wish we weren’t here”).  I know that not all of you will have access to this article – The Times is behind a paywall – but this article is about Islington.  It irritated me no end so I am going to RANT about it here.

  1. “… the bistros doing an excellent trade in iced vegan coeliac-friendly lattes”.  All lattes (in fact all coffee) should be coeliac-friendly – I can see no reason to put gluten in a latte.  Friends of ours have a daughter who is coeliac – it is a real (incredibly inconvenient) condition, not an excuse to be poncy.
  2. “Islington North is safe for Labour, whether the candidate is Corbyn or a pig’s bladder on a stick (which is what they have in Islington South and Finsbury. Yes, Emily Thornberry).” Emily Thornberry is my MP.  I am quite irritated with her so I’ll let this go.
  3. “In the leafiest bits of Islington the average house will cost you not far shy of £2m”.  Ha ha HAAAAA!  In the very leafiest bits (not mine), a house will cost a lot more than this.  Check out Zoopla.
  4. “…yet there is enormous poverty in the borough … two-thirds of residents don’t own a car”.  Not owning a car is not necessarily a sign of deprivation, particularly in the centre of a city.  My parents live in the centre of Brighton, are definitely not poor and don’t own a car.  It’s a hassle that they can avoid by getting taxis.  In fact, the father of a boy I went to school with lived for part of the year in France – when he came back to Brighton (and managed to park in front of his house), he would then refuse to move his car until it was time to go back to France.  Otherwise, he’d have had to look for another parking space.
  5. “Upper Street is the kind of place where Waitrose actually lowers the tone”.  No it isn’t.  There’s a Wetherspoon on Upper Street.

I’ll stop whining now.  This probably isn’t a very interesting blog post, particularly if you live nowhere near north London.

Anyway, here is a picture of a demonstration that went on outside the Town Hall a few days ago.

Pensioners who want everyone to stop being horrible about Jeremy Corbyn


Yesterday, I passed the Worker’s Cafe and saw this:

They’re having building work

I really hope that they’re not closing down to become something poncier (like a Prada).  My husband and I were in there a week or so ago and Jeremy Corbyn walked in.  I didn’t notice (I was probably on my phone) but my husband said that he bought a bunch of coffees and took them out.  Possibly somewhere like the Worker’s Cafe is quite useful to Jeremy Corbyn – there’s no embarrassment if he gets photographed coming out of there.  Might even be good publicity.

The Smokehouse

Yesterday I met some friends for brunch.  Except two of them didn’t come – one because her baby kept her awake half the night (fair enough) and the other because someone had pranged her new car.  I got mildly ratty by the time the second person cancelled, partly because I was off to go for a run and every time I thought I was ready to head off, there was a PING! from my phone.

Plus, I’d messaged them all the night before to say “RIGHT, YOU ARE ALL COMING, AREN’T YOU?!?!?!?”   Also, I ended up changing the booking at the restaurant three times (which was embarrassing) – the first time was to increase the number of people and to make it a time that would suit one of the group better, the second was to reduce the number of people from six to four and the third was to say that, actually, there were now only going to be three people.  The lady on the phone was kind and said that it’s only a problem if I wanted to increase the number in the party – they get so busy on Sundays that having fewer people is no problem.

Thankfully, the other two people still came and we had a lovely time.  We ended up drinking two bottle of English sparking wine, had roast beef / lamb and we all had pudding.

This was so delicious

London planting

The other day, my husband pointed out that we have a couple of gaps in our back garden / yard in London and that I could plant something there.  This is quite exciting – although I have done loads of planting in the IoW, the garden in London tends to get ignored a bit.  However, other people around us are far more diligent.  I ended up taking some photos as there are quite a few plants that are looking amazing.

I love these poppies (Liverpool Road)
I didn’t realise that rhododendrons would grow in London as we have alkaline soil (Liverpool Road)
I can’t remember what this plant is. The flowers remind me of gorse and broom (Liverpool Road)
A really light Californian lilac (Liverpool Road)
A darker Californian Lilac (Almeida Street)

At present, we have a lilac tree which is beautiful when it flowers but the flowers are short lived (we completely missed them when we were away).  I’d always thought that I’d like another lilac, either darker or lighter (so like the lilac trees in St Petersburg) but maybe a Californian Lilac would also be very pretty (and perhaps the flowers would last a bit longer).