Busy people marching purposefully about their business in sombre city suits, barely acknowledging their intrusion into each shared space. Even thronged with Christmas shoppers, Winchester cannot compete with London in terms of paired feet per square foot, and whilst I haven't endured its public transport I suspect it never hits the peak of buttock-to-ball endurance that is the tube anywhere near rush-hour.
I still relish walking across any one of the Thames bridges, especially come evening when the visible world is twinkling. Even after an all-standing commute from Basingstoke it doesn't take long for the slow, sleek motion of the London Eye to soothe the spirits, or the grandeur of the Houses of Parliament amidst red buses and gilt and black ironwork to awaken capital pride.
I took a day off work to visit a marketing exhibition at ExCel, right over past Canary Wharf, to see what it had to offer (and hoping to meet Jenny there but she inexplicably chose Milan over me). It was, I would say, moderately interesting: I would not have wanted to pay any entrance fee, but did pick up some useful tips and ideas.
Anyway by late afternoon I had had my fill, and tubed it back to central London, where it had begun to rain. You are never short of opportunities to spend money in a city, and I was easily seduced by some cosy armchairs and coffee so wasted an enjoyable hour sipping and exploiting free wi-fi.
Then on to the Christmas-lit South Bank where I met up with Rosie and Vicki for a chatty meal in Wagamama. They are both so grown up and lovely that I would happily have sat just admiring them: in fact we caught up on lots, including Rosie's latest tales from BP and Vicki's recent flying work visit to Amsterdam. A treat indeed.
Choir is going well, we are hoping to rehearse with our harpist this week, which will be fun, and I am planning a launch party for our Gala Concert next year since I had the brainwave of showing Amadeus in the barn. Scarily, I have just checked and it was released in 1984, over 30 years ago. Where did that time go, and will the film still grab and shake as it did all those years ago? I had better watch it before I extend that invitation.
But it did shake we young mothers out of our dreams, somewhat, to realise our children are all now grown and flown. One amongst us is expecting her tagged son back this week after a spell in prison for dealing in drugs, another has recently taken up with another man after a dreadful time with her husband, not to mention the two widows in our small circle. Clearly I am older than I feel.