13 December 2009

Bright Lights, Big City: Christmas Edition

The first half of this weekend was spent in the Pays Noir--ironically, on this occasion, given that in the festive season, the said pays is far from noir what with the almost American levels of external Christmas lights that seem to adorn about 80% of houses. It's no wonder that the Bro and I used to play Christmas Decorations Cricket, which is like Pub Cricket, except instead of counting the number of legs of whatever is on a pub sign, you award points for the quantity and tastelessness of the Christmas lights on the houses on your assigned side of the road.

More pragmatically, my parents decided that as they weren't going to be in the country for Christmas or New Year, they would have no tree--in fact, they have had only minimalist "Christmas twigs" (twigs sprayed silver and placed in a vase wrapped in blue foil. As I'm not around for Christmas and as I am a complete Scrooge, I hadn't planned to have any Christmas decorations at all but then Mum gave me some squidgy Christmas tree/Santa shapes to stick on my window and after spending an afternoon back in London, even I started to get the Christmas bug--just a little bit. Well, I got the Habitat bug anyway.

I had some things to do on the South Bank so after visiting the Chocolate Festival very briefly (it was raining too heavily and I wasn't hungry enough to stop to buy or even sample), I walked along the river for a while. It was hella busy but I stopped to take some photos of the London Eye (it wasn't dark enough yet for the Eye to be lit up, although the prettiness of the Eye by night did make me start to rethink my "no decorations" policy).

Thus the trip to Habitat, which has a huge range of pretty, pricey fairy lights, most of which were on sale. Now, there's no way I would spend more than a tenner on some lights that I could only use for one month of the year but they did have a set with multi-shaped, pink, yellow and blue bulbs, which I thought would look nice all year round (even though their name--Natale--means Christmas in Italian), which were on sale for £25. Naturally, they had so many of these lights on display in the Regent Street store that they didn't have any for sale. I really didn't want to trek up to the ToCoRo branch unless I knew they had some in stock but according to the ReSt sales assistant, the ToCoRo peeps never pick up their phone--not because it's a busy period, as I suggested, but because they have bad customer service, he said.

Anyway, filled with festive spirit I decided to make the hike to ToCoRo through the hoards of ReSt and Oxford Strasse shoppers. Luckily, they did have plenty of the lights I liked in stock and I proceeded straight to the till, where I found a little black calling card for the store. It seems their name for the branch is "TCR" but if the sales assistant had been less busy and less stressed, I so would have told her that ToCoRo is the new TCR. When I eventually made it home, I managed to hang the lights myself although a) they still aren't perfectly even (the wires keep curving up unevenly), b) they probably aren't fixed to the wall very securely and c) if they fall off, they will likely knock most of my jewellery and make-up into that narrow space behind my chest of drawers, which is really hard to reach.

Still, the lights do look rather nice and I can almost feel a warm, Christmassy glow. Almost...

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