It’s been a very tough week, for reasons that I can’t go into here right now. However, you should go see this, as it brightens up even a very dark week:
It has begun. Slowly, insidiously, and completely unexpectedly. And I was betrayed by Kinder Eggs, of all things. I have a pack sitting by my table which are waiting to be picked up by a friend. As I’ve had them since Christmas, I wanted to make sure that they were still good, so I flipped the box over and looked at the expiry date:
For a moment, I thought ‘oh no, they’re out of date’. For a moment. One second later, my brain reasserted itself and I realised it was saying September, not January. A small slip, but a worrying one. I think I over-compensated and refused to give out any temperatures in Fahrenheit for the rest of the day. And had three cups of tea. You can’t be too careful.
I accidentally walked 7.5 miles yesterday. It was sunny! And I hadn’t been about Durham for ages! The blisters I have on my big toe today were totally worth it! Well, maybe not that last one. I did a loop from my house down to Whole Foods and 9th Street and came back home via Trinity, Geer, and Gilbert. You can argue against the evils of gentrification until the cows go home and make tea for two (no beef, please), but it’s amazing how active Geer & Rigsbee is these days, not just with the bars and restaurants there, but the park just behind Cocoa Cinnamon, which almost always has children playing football at the weekend (and yes, I’m talking about real football here, so bonus points allocated), people milling about enjoying the sun, and the feeling that the pedestrian is safe to walk wherever (despite it actually being a road…I guess that could potentially be a problem!).
And then on the way back, I fell in love with another building. I can’t believe I’d never seen it before, but down on Gilbert is the former Hosiery Mills Dye House. From the outside, it looks amazing, a 1920s warehouse with great fronts and features. Once you look at the OpenDurham link, though, the inside is even better - look at the wooden trusses! LOOK AT THEM! OpenDurham says that the Durham Food Bank is currently situated there, but it looked empty yesterday, with a ‘for lease’ sign out front, and the Durham Food Bank website says that they’re moving. If anybody fancies a renovation on the lines of the Haw River Ballroom but in East Durham, they should come this way.
I did have grand plans. I was going to go into Boston, visit all sorts of hipster places (there’s a tapas restaurant that is also a record and book shop, for crying out loud), take lots of pictures of my favourite building style, and generally enjoy my time in the area.
Except: the snow (and other, non-weather related concerns that meant that I didn’t feel much like going on big adventures during the night). Trying to venture through three feet or so of snow really wasn’t my idea of fun, so in the end I only made it into Boston on one day. A taxi ride to Alewife Station, and then the Red Line into Harvard Square, where it took me an embarrassing amount of time to rediscover Newbury Comics. Which seemed much smaller than I remember (admittedly, it is almost twenty years since I first went there pause for feeling old). There I wandered around trying to warm up, getting in people’s way, awkwardly responding to the conversation of the woman behind the counter, and looking at the glitter. So aside from the size, it was almost exactly like the time I went in 1997. Oho!
(I walked along thinking I wasn’t going to get anything. Then I saw the Criterion section and thought to myself “well, if they have a copy of Hard Boiled, I’ll get it, knowing that it’s fairly rare these days. And lo, they had one. And yes, it then went to the UK, then back to Boston, and only now back to Durham. A frequent flyer DVD)
I went to books, finding myself coming out of Park Street Station and knowing exactly where I was, looking at a CEX shop front that once used to be HMV in one direction, and Boston Common in the other. I walked past the giant Citgo sign as I walked from the centre of the city to Mei Mei. It was…further than I expected. And colder, despite the gloves and the hat and the scarf.
Finally, I did my Good Will Hunting bit, at the Au Bon Pain at Harvard Square. Except the snow covered all of the outside seating where the film scenes were shot, so I had tomato soup while watching two girls play Settlers of Catan.
It was an odd few weeks; I spent most of it trapped inside an office building, the (actually quite nice) Holiday Inn Express at Waltham, or on a plane somewhere. Hopefully when I go back in May I’ll have a chance for a little more exploring. And that the snow will have finally melted.
While it’s not all confirmed yet, it looks like I’ll be spending at least some of February in Boston. It’s warm in Boston in Winter, right? Right?
I have bought a hat. The forecast for Boston next week is a nice and warm -8˚C during the day, and as low as -15˚C during the night. But don’t worry, because it warms up next weekend…just in time to create snow showers. Let’s just say that it could be interesting.
On that front, though, does anybody have any good ideas for places to eat and visit in Boston? It’s been over ten years since I went last - I plan on going to Newbury Comics, obviously (for those of you keeping track, which is not many, Boston was where I bought my first glitter pen. I blame Kenickie, obviously. And no, there are no photos. Thank goodness for a time before digital cameras), but I don’t really have much of a feel for the area besides that.
One downside to going away is that there won’t be any Fallout Durham Valentine’s Day chocolates this year. I was going to do something with pâte de fruit, but oh well, the ideas can keep until later in the year, I guess.
So! Send me Boston ideas! That aren’t ‘stand next to a heater for 24 hours’.