“Christmas ain’t Christmas till somebody cries,” according to Donkey in Shrek. After a week of travelling, over-eating, arguing about the rules of family games (it turns out I’ve been playing The London Game to a totally different set of rules to the ones in the box. No wonder I win so often!), sitting in queues on the A1, watching the chickens, breathing in sparkling country air and falling over the dog, I have said “Amen” to that and fled. I’m not a Londoner by birth – then again, who is?! – but as I walked across the top of Trafalgar Square last night on my way to meet a friend for new year drinks (Shame on you, Albannach, by the way: what kind of Scottish bar closes on a Sunday night?!), trampling the tourists, despairing at the anorexic Christmas tree, checking out the roller-dudes in front of the National Gallery, and feeling the festive stress being soothed away by the noise, the bright lights and the chaos (though three pints of Caffrey’s in Waxy’s probably helped tip the balance) I have finally admitted to myself that this filthy, fetid, glorious pile of a city is home.
(I’ve also resolved that wherever I go for Christmas next year, I’m taking the bike. I’ve been getting the DTs).