Thursday, 14 December 2017

14th December: A Christmas Night Out

Over the weekend I was mired in the depths of miserable cold; the temperatures had dropped, I felt shivery and flushed at the same time and just drawing breath seemed like an unreasonable amount of effort. But I got my first good night's sleep in a while and woke up on Sunday morning to find a little covering of snow outside my window. I decamped to the sofa in dressing gown and piles of blankets, attempting to feel a little more human, consumed some leftover pizza and pondered the rest of the day.

It was a day that was worth getting up for. Even feeling lousy and pretty sorry for myself, I was looking forward to heading out.  That evening, I was due to meet a colleague on the South Bank to wander the Christmas markets before crossing the river and heading north in search of a delicious bowl a ramen and a production of the ballet, The Nutcracker.

I pulled on my coat and my hand-knit mittens (thanks Mum!) and headed out into the snow. And actually I felt much better; it's hard not to when tripping through snow! I caught the tube to the south bank; while large chunks of the London Underground had been taken out by the first three flakes that fell, enough was working for me to arrive in time. It was half past four and already completely dark when I met my lovely friend and colleague Wendy and we made our way into the market, cameras snapping. 

The market isn't huge but it's cheerfully festive and there were loads of food and drink options.  We snaffled a warm, mulled plum cider each and found space on benches nestled inside giant teepees; it was cosy and out of the dripping weather and the cider was toasty, clutched in my hands.

We had a good natter and a catch up as we polished off our tasty mugs of cider.  And then is was time to venture back into the cold for the next phase of the evening. Crossing Waterloo Bridge is somewhat bracing in the icy wind, but the views out over the city are fabulous: modern skyscrapers are lit up and loom over the river and the dome of St Paul's sits in state, elegant and dignified.

 The juxtaposition of incredible history and a vibrant future is an exciting one. Especially with twinkly lights.

We scurried up Shaftesbury Avenue and hustled inside a Japanese restaurant, ordering giant, steaming bowls of ramen. The food was perfect: piping hot and comforting and flavoursome. Definitely what I needed when feeling a bit under the weather. We happily slurped up soup and noodles, making imaginary travel plans for the new year and enjoying pots of green tea and lots of little gyoza. As dinner on a Sunday evening goes, I couldn't have asked for more.

The grand finale of the evening was a trip to the ballet to see one of our students dance in the Nurtracker. Quite a few of our students were in the audience to support their friend, chattering and waving and giggling excitedly. The ballet was truly wonderful: the Nutcracker always is at Christmas, but the atmosphere in the theatre that night was brilliant and supportive and hopeful and the dancing was a dream. We chuckled at very tiny young dancers scurrying in mouse costumes - when the toy soldiers came on with their toy rifles, one mouse got a little ahead of itself and fell over, before realising no one else had, jumping back up and then falling over again properly on cue with everyone else when the rifles went 'BANG!' We watched fairies twirl and twinkle, and a set of dancing Russian dolls almost stole the show, waddling on in plump costumes in height order down to the tiniest little dancer who couldn't have been more than 4 and was clearly awestruck by the idea of dancing with the older girls.

My student danced in the final act, performing an astonishing pas de deux with a professional partner. She danced so gracefully, seeming to be always en point and flying through air in a series of beautiful and dramatic lifts.  She looked to be having the time of her life, having been rehearsing and training for literally hours after school every day. That's a huge amount of discipline and it was a realy pleasure to see her in her element.

So all told, it was a very Christmassy evening.  And while sometimes it's good to curl up on the sofa when you have a cold and give in a little bit, it was definitely preferable to bundle up and let some Christmas magic take over.

Kisses xxx

P.S. This post is part of a series I'm writing throughout December in response to Shimelle's scrapbooking class, Journal Your Christmas. By blogging each day, I hope to savour each and every lovely moment of the most wonderful time of the year, and have some great memories to look back on.

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