I like to take a positive approach to things, and admittedly, that approach isn't always so based in reality. It can also be intensely annoying to those who look at things in a mildly more realistic way (the accusation of 'Pollyanna' has been derisively muttered in my direction more than once).
But seriously, after a good three days of thought - what recession?
It wasn't evident in New Zealand - pretty much nothing had changed, all the same shops were there alongside quite a few bright new ones, and ginormous new houses were going up everywhere (traditionally, New Zealanders have not been into ostentation or big houses - this has changed, however, so the big shiny new ones kind of stick out, like a Cardiff girl in the harsh light of day). And now that I'm back, all I can say is that it kind of looks like it's over here too. Thankfully, because while taking on quite a bit of freelance writing, I am still technically without full time gainful employment - eeeps. Many people have suggested I aim to be a lady-who-lunches, and while I can see the merits (I have, after all, been working full time for three whole years now - phew) I'm not that much of an optimist. H1 is also not that much of a fool.
My reasons for believing this are based on the same indications I observed in good old NZ - new shops going up, old shops staying up (like the sex shop next door - how is that still in business?), and old houses being done up (the English equivalent of building new houses - there's no room to put any new ones in, you see). To be fair, this is an extremely biased point of view - it's only about cities, and the wealthier parts of cities, but if you want a more balanced picture, feel free to google 'Condiments on a slightly depressed small-town life'. I won't hold it against you. Balance is good.
So change is all go in Fulham (and Putney too, oh and also North Sheen - I've been getting out and about recently!) There is a new cafe which has some pretty epic looking cakes in the window - unfortunately its proximity to the aforementioned sex shop means I am unlikely ever to stop in - a new bar going up over the road, which has some highly styley interior decoration - unfortunately, its proximity to my house, well stocked with its own booze, means I am unlikely ever to stop in - and the green shop looks to be thriving - unfortunately, my consistent uncertainty as to what the green shop actually does means I am unlikely ever to stop in. But luckily, these businesses clearly don't need my help (I am probably Fulham's biggest cheerleader, but I tend not to follow it up with too much action). And then there are the houses, which used to be derelict, boarded up, run down monstrosities that you could tell were once beautiful. H1 was always fond of the idea of giving up our ridiculously expensive, tiny one bedroom flat and just squatting there instead, and nagging me to look up squatter's rights online, but now, thankfully, someone has put some money into these houses and they look nearly ready for inhabitation. Almost completely moved on from their amusingly cliche, but actually rather terrifying, empty yawing windows and gappy brickwork.
Almost ready, I say. Because it's winter, and nothing is at its best in winter - but really, somebody's bright idea of putting baby trees in the front, behind the low fence, held up with stick-y pieces of wood (that is, stick-like, not sticky like melted ice-cream on your hand) hasn't paid off in the way you might hope. Deciduous trees. In the middle of the coldest winter for forty-odd years. At the moment, those newly refurbished houses look like something straight out of the Blair Witch Project, and this in itself is enough to make me increase my speed when I walk past them. As are the crows - I don't think I've ever noticed crows in London before, but every time I walk past these houses I see them, enormous and black and extremely Edgar Allen Poe. And cawing! I always thought cawing was a myth. But no - cawing is alive and well, at least in Fulham.
I certainly wouldn't go close enough to consider renting/buying it. And sure, for every ridiculously-over-imaginative-person like me there will be many more sensible people, who see only deciduous trees - but still, some people still think there is a recession on. Why lose potential sales, even those based in a frustrating melange of fantasy and sheer silliness?
That's about it for this week - it's winter. Nothing more to say. Head down, bum up, and hope to make it through to spring (sorry, 'spring') without too much pain. It's the best way.