It was the weekend before Christmas and as I woke up on Saturday morning, I was determined to hit the shops before the crowds arrived onto King’s Road.
What I hadn’t bargained for was a snow storm occurring within the heart of Chelsea. So as I struggled against the freezing elements instead of a panicked shopping crowd, my attempt to reach the end of the King’s Road seemed like a Sisyphean endeavour.
Stepping into Peter Jones and looking like a yeti that had to be patted down, it was awe inspiring to see all the shoppers looking thawed and calmly focused on their Christmas business. And it was a great feeling to be in from the cold.
A couple of purchases later, I decided to give up on dealing with the harsh weather outside and headed to Chelsea Library to do some work instead. Walking into the building, I recognised the face of man standing against a radiator to keep warm. I was used to seeing him along King’s Road carrying his home in his bags and for years I had wondered what his story was. Now I was looking him in the eyes and could only see the surprising softness of a cold man.
Inside the library, there were a few more people who looked like they were reading to keep warm. So when the library announced that it was closing at 3pm instead of 5pm because of the extreme weather, I wondered where they would all go. Later, I discovered that the Chelsea Methodist Church on King’s Road was a drop in centre for the homeless but it wasn’t open during the weekends. So I can only hope that there was somewhere else for the man standing by the radiator to go.
As for the rest of my Christmas shopping list, I will deal with that tomorrow. That’s one of the perks of living off the King’s Road.
Merry Christmas everyone!
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