And to prove it good old radio 4 unearthed some Norwegians tonight who were happy to confirm all our suspicions and state that it is indeed chilly out. I’m inside and it’s chilly here too, I’ve been at the Scottish ones place in the country most the weekend sitting by his nice warm radiators drinking mulled wine and the idiosyncrasies of my central heating means that now I’m home I’ll have to wait for hours for the heaters to heat. I’ve washed up for the pleasure of having my hands in warm water, baked to heat the kitchen, and am even considering ironing something when I give over huddling around my laptop for warmth.
In fact it’s so cold indoors that I was forced to go shopping this afternoon (bread, milk, extra hot water bottle...) and suddenly I’m feeling like I might be winning against Christmas. Today’s purchases, a trip to Nottingham yesterday, and a whole lot of stuff turning up in the post and my mindset has moved from panic to the sort of pride in my organisational skills that normally comes before a fall. I do apologise if I seem Christmas obsessed, but I’ve not really thought of anything else for the last month, and for now can’t see much beyond the big day. It’s a feeling that wears off but if I don’t do the preparation now I won’t be ready (or able) to enjoy myself when I actually get to stop. I think on the whole this is just how I want it – retail at Christmas can be as exhilarating as it is exhausting, any lack of a leisured Victorian idyll of Christmas is more than made up for by being part of the madness of so many people’s real Christmases.
And now I’ve got that of my chest – today festive cheer is being bought to me via Michel Faber’s 'The Crimson Petal and the White'’ (and that extra hot water bottle) as you can see from the picture I’ve amassed quite a collection of these – unusually it’s a one book fits all affair. I loved ‘The Crimson Petal and the White’ when I read it earlier this year, am quite excited about the upcoming adaptation, and think it’s the perfect present. Looking back I’ve read books over the last year which were probably better and which have certainly touched me more deeply, but none which has absorbed me so much or which I’ve been as keen to share.
A gripping story about a prostitute’s rise from the gutter (very festive) it’s an absolute page turner which should allow any grateful recipient to escape into Faber’s extremely believable version of Victorian London. There’s just a hint of salacious trashiness about it – enough at any rate to make it feel like a guilty pleasure (In the same way that ‘Peyton Place’ or ‘Valley of the Dolls’ are) but also, and like that pair, more than enough substance to justify the amount of time that needs to be spent reading it. Winter is the time for stories and the more epic the better so anybody out there who gets a copy of this is very lucky indeed!