London decided to revert to some nostalgic, fairy-tale version of itself, draped in a pea-souper. If you can't have a white Christmas, a cold and foggy one is a decent substitute. And god was it cold. The damp allows the chill to bypass the flesh and hit the bone directly. You're cold from the skeleton out. Layers don't help. It can only be cured by comfort. Getting home after braving the mad streets, the shops with their dry, harsh attempts at warmth that leave you dehydrated and longing for the freshness of the chill outside. Getting home and knowing you don't have to go out again. It's that relief that warms the heart, that thaws the skeleton so that once again you're warm. You get ready for that to be your Christmas, and you look forward to it.

Then the temperature rises, the cloud rolls in and the real London asserts itself over the fairy-tale. The rain starts to fall and everything in the world is wet. Outside is no longer whimsical or an adventure, just something to avoid. Inside though, is full of lights and laughter, the clink of glass and the tearing of paper.