Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Fields of ice and smoky fog

London seems to have spent the day shivering under a hoar frost. Windows and roof tops are caked in the stuff, and tonight, a fog of Biblical proportions has descended.

We used to get fogs like this in my childhood in East Northamptonshire; fogs where you could barely see your hand stretched out in front of you. If it weren't for the street lights, I doubt I’d be able to see a thing out there. It’s swirling in giant smoke-like halogen-coloured clouds, roaring menacingly at those silly enough to be outside. People walking on the Archway Road are nothing but ghostly silhouettes. Everyone should be tucked up inside warm houses. I pity the homeless.

I spent the day doing my 2011-2012 tax return, which means my living room is filled with little piles of receipts. The job is made somewhat more complicated by young Cas the Rat, who needs to come out for a run before the end of the night.

Unfortunately, dear Cas has a penchant for paper... Big time. He loves the stuff. He loves it more than food. Our sitting room floor would be, for Cas, the equivalent of my walking into a room filled with roast potatoes. In about 15 minutes he’s capable of causing mayhem, running away with receipts, chewing and ripping them up, weeing on invoices and payment slips... I may well have to scoop up all the piles and put them somewhere else to avoid this paper apocalypse.

The good news in all of this was my discovering £20 and $82 dollars nestling in the piles of receipts, obviously from moments where I’d rashly emptied the contents of my wallet into a receipt box. It’s amazing what can get caught up in a Costa Coffee receipt. They are, without doubt, the silliest, largest receipts in carnation. Children should be encouraged to write letters on the backs of them, or draw pictures. I have no idea why they need to be so large, but I find myself having to fold them in half before putting them in my wallet. What’s perhaps worse is that there were 82 of them...each for the cost of a single cup of tea. This means that in 2011-2012, I spent 82 mornings working in Costa. No wonder I found myself with a lot of points on my Costa card! Do they pay their taxes properly, I wonder?

350 years ago, and Pepys did nothing but work all day... and in fact, all night. He finally knocked things on the head at 1am. It was his ambition to make as much money as possible and the only way he knew to do this was by working hard, whilst being the man about town so that he could be in the right place at the right time when opportunities presented themselves. There wasn’t much he could do to be out and about on this date, however. A hard frost had turned the deep snow in London to fields of ice.

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