These last few days before Christmas are eerily quiet in the office - a bare handful of people under the ever-so-slightly-overplanned ranks of our Space Invader decorations, and round the corner even fewer under our neighbours' efforts (they tried to compete, but it has to be said, Christmas spirit notwithstanding, that it looks like an explosion in a pound shop).
No more tea-point two-step, for these few days. Long years ago, some genius decided a building full of civil servants would need no more than two tiny spaces per floor, each of which might just about pass muster for a one-bedroom flat for those of modest income. As a result, gasp as one might, making a cuppa usually necessitates a polite wait while strangers from other sections exchange mysterious gossip and air incomprehensible grievances, and then a polite excuse-me and might-I-just of manoeuvres between the boiler, the sink and the fridge. Not today.
It's all the quieter because of the snow, the worst effects of which don't seem to have had any effect where I live, but to the south and east of London, people were taking three hours to get home last night, it seems. Less than ten days ago, I was still not using my winter outerwear, the encircling gloom not being that cold.
But with the snow, the Christmas season is at last (and somehow rather late, by comparison with previous years) perceptible; it seemed only appropriate to seek out the seasonal photo-opportunity I missed last year (you may attribute the camera movement to seasonal shivers):