Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oblique midwinter

I grew up in an extraordinarily cold house, where getting dressed under the bedclothes in winter was essential, there was frost on the insides of the window panes, and we used to put the gas oven on with the door open to get a little heat in the kitchen. Probably as a result I am miserable in cold weather and have a powerful addiction to the moment when you step out of the cold into a warm room.

I walked to the end of the road this morning, my last day in London, to pick up the newspaper. It was that kind of bone-chillingly cold day I'd forgotten all about, where your ears and face start to hurt with it just walking along; like any visceral pain it's impossible to remember it properly when you're not experiencing it, and it made me appreciate once again the fact that I live in a climate where it never gets colder than 10 degrees.

Every day there's some sharp reminder of how lucky I am to live in a bubble; today on the front of The Guardian, a picture of a man in Gaza with greyed and bloodied face, reaching for help from the hole he's buried in. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, focuses on something much more important; the headline shrieks about benefit claimants PAID 20,000 NOT TO WORK and you have to wait till page 6 to read anything about Israel.

I hate to sound trite, but this seems to be a time to work out what really matters: the people you love, little things that make life better, being positive even if there's uncertainty ahead. To quote Harold Pinter (1930-2008) out of context: what else is there?


nmj said...

Hey Lottie, I was thinking today of the storage heaters which we grew up with in seventies/ early eighties. They were rubbish, it was boiling during the night when you were asleep, and got progressively less warm during the day. I also recall a student flat/bedsit I lived in early 80s where we had to go down the main stairs in the building to the bathroom, which was basically a bath surrounded by rubble. It was freezing and you needed a torch.

It is impossible to read/hear/watch about Gaza without weeping and feeling a deep sense of doom.

I hope you have a happy new year wherever you are. I always enjoy your posts, and look forward to more in 2009.

Anon Y Mouse said...

From Wall Street Journal, some Goldman Aide complained to his boss, Mr. Blankfein, that he couldn't take any more of the financial meltdown, to which Mr. Blankfein replied

"You're getting out of a Mercedes to go to the New York Federal Reserve -- you're not getting out of a Higgins boat on Omaha Beach," he said, referring to the World War II experience of a former Goldman head. "So keep things in perspective."

A bit of perspective is a valuable thing.

Best wishes for '09

Mummy said...

As I oft say to anyone who bothers to listen, the moment at which I stop realising that the type of life I lead is not real, it is not how the majority of the world lives (and this is a fact merely by luck of where I happened to be born), is the moment at which I need to be taken down and have some sense pummeled into me.

Nice to have you back.

LottieP said...

I hate to come over all Queen's Christmas Message but I had to mention it, NMJ.

More reality checks, please, Anon Y Mouse. Although tales of banking excess can be funny too. Has your boss had to cut down on handmade shoes yet?

Thank you, Mummy; in this, as in many other things, we are completely in agreement.