Monday, 21 December 2009
Today I Will Notice
Grace Coddington, creative director of US Vogue and ‘surprise star’ of The September Issue, a film for which the only real surprise is that it was made at all, made one lovely, poignant comment in among a lot of arguing about rails and frills. She said that her father had told her never to fall asleep in a car because that’s when you do your best noticing, find inspiration, see the world as new and interesting all over again.
My sister and her family have just arrived home from their new home in Brisbane for Christmas, to be greeted by snow. It’s 39º in Brisbane. Snow is an unimaginable miracle. For us, the idea of leaving the house without four protective layers, ski gloves and an emergency frizzy-hair preventing hat in every pocket is an unimaginable luxury. But the look on my niece and nephew’s faces as we pulled away from the concrete of Terminal 3 very early yesterday morning into snow-sprinkled dawn-dappled suburbia was pure noticing gold. They haven’t learnt to stop looking yet, however jet-lagged and grumpy they are.
And so, Grace Coddington, here are the amazing things I noticed while looking rather than concentrating:
1. North London houses do have gardens, some of them quite sizable, and all of them completely magical at 5.30 am when thick with crisp, fresh, icy snow.
2. The clarity with which you understand the Radio 4 news when it’s 5.30 am and there are no children, other cars or general outside activity to distract you is extraordinary. I formed current-affairs based opinions on the trip to Heathrow for the first time in years.
3. There is literally no-where more wonderful to be than in front of a long-haul Arrivals door five days before Christmas. This is where the world is happy, and where everyone cries with the simplicity of that.
4. My sister and her family chose to take their Arrivals moment in slightly un-Vogue attire: shorts, t-shirts, flip flops and Santa hats. I will literally never forget the sight.
5. Seasons are evidence of an extraordinary truth – that it’s really really cold here and really really hot just over there. On the same planet. The planet that sometimes feels so small and claustrophobic, but is actually so huge that we can live on it together but in a completely different time of the year.
6. There are flowers growing in our local park, in the snow. Maybe that's something that should scare me, or maybe it's the just the one plus side of global warming.
7. There’s a restaurant opposite St Pancras station called Eataly. Admittedly I didn’t see this today, it was last week, but isn’t that just the most fabulous name for a restaurant? It’s impossible to say without a fake accent, a hand gesture and a smile. Thanks Grace.