Also of note were two gentlemen dressed as old-school Arctic explorers, complete with rags wrapped round their feet and frost in their eyebrows, who staggered up and down the South Bank assuring each other it couldn't be much further to the Pole. There was a Snow Queen on stilts too, but I wasn't very impressed by her attendant 'dwarf' being taller than me.
On Saturday the London Advanced Motorcyclists performed a good deed by taking Christmas presents to the children of Rupert Ward at Croydon's Mayday Hospital. I'd found some smart silver-and-black tinsel and had a beautiful coordinated scooter, but other bikers had been truer to the festive spirit by festooning their machines in bright clashing colours. There were topboxes wrapped in paper to look like presents, and artificial trees strapped to luggage racks. One chap had transformed his bike into a reindeer with a custom-made furry cover and branches taped to his mirrors for antlers. The finishing touch was a circle of red fabric over the headlight to provide a glowing nose.
I'd been invited to a party in New Malden on Saturday evening, and was very cold by the time I got there. Luckily one of the other guests had brought a dog, who took a fancy to me and lay across my lap moulting for an hour. This warmed me up nicely while trapping me on the sofa, covering me with hair and preventing me from eating anything because it would have got nicked.
On Sunday I met miss_newham for 9 Lessons and Carols at St Martin-in-the-Fields, arriving slightly late due to being held up on the Strand by a procession of Father Christmases on rollerblades.
The carols had been carefully altered to avoid sexism, so that 'pleased as man with man to dwell' became 'pleased as man with us to dwell' and 'to you and all mankind' was 'to you and humankind'. I sang all of these wrong, some by accident and some wilfully, and I wasn't the only one.
But the carols and the candlelit church succeeded in getting me in the mood for Christmas, and that's how I intend to stay all week.