Oh to picnic!

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 | home, weekend | No Comments

Sat on a Gatwick Express train, gently swaying through the countryside, all around is green but looking decidedly murky. Today has been muggy, particularly so. There have been glimpses of sunshine in Shoreditch, but mostly it has been threatening a downpour that so far hasn’t come. It is June but this year this gloomy weather does not surprise me.

It does, however, make me long for a picnic. A good, old fashioned, picnic. I yearn for a thick tartan blanket, with slight hints of cat hair. There will be a trestle table that someone has used for wallpapering, with a clean, white tablecloth to cover it. Someone will have brought folding chairs, canvas ones that you sit in momentarily and then fear you may never get out of. There will be cushions, old ones that “don’t matter if they get grass stains”. They will get grass stains. At one side there will be a large umbrella, for shade, that looks like it might blow away in the slightest breeze – someone will try to anchor it.

Ice will be melting around cold bottles of beer and sparkling wine (we may have even splashed out on Real Champagne). There will be sandwiches of all varieties, to suit both carnivores and vegetarians. Smoked mackerel pate, sausage rolls, Camemberthamroastchickensaladscotcheggs…  We’ll be tearing at french sticks, smearing them in slightly warm butter and dropping crumbs everywhere. The seagulls will approve.

And this glorious picnic, this glorious day of lounging on grass and flicking off insects, will descend into the beautifulness that is being half-cut on a summer’s day. There will be giggles, and short barking shouts of amusement. Someone will fall over, they’ll have grass stains too. Fingers sticky with strawberry juice will reach for sparkling water in an effort to keep hydration levels up, this will be a half-hearted attempt and a quick guzzle will soon polish off  what’s left. Pimms will be called for. And we will smile, and tell stories, and moan and complain about the usual little things that make us irritable. We’ll get slight sunburn, but none of us will think to shelter under the umbrella. It will be a splendid day and we will be happy.

So June, please do buck up. You see, I’ve got the plan all sorted.

That lovely green stuff….

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 | london, weekend | No Comments

On Saturday I finally got to visit Kew Gardens again. I say finally because I really wanted to go last year but never had the time, and two years ago when I first went seems, a long time ago now.

I love Kew, it’s one of those places where I can feel my heart rate slow as I walk through the gates. (What is that about me and greenery?) Suddenly all is calm, the only distraction is the multitude of planes that fly over. I don’t remember there being that many – but last time I went mid-week when perhaps there are less flights? Or I just cut them out of my memory, and chose to remember more trees instead.

With only a couple of hours to spare before the Mousetrap (I know – what a perfect day; gardens and Agatha Christie!), we took in the Pagoda and my favourite walk up the cedar vista. There’s something rather lovely about the long grass, filled with grasshoppers (Ok, they were nice at the time but I’m not a big insect fan in general), trees reaching skywards and that occasional (Ok, not that occasional) interruption from the flight path.

Of course, no sooner had we walked out of the gate (and amazingly avoided the ice-cream van) we wanted to go back and spend a day, with a picnic and a book and not too damp grass between our toes.

A quick hike along a couple of tube lines and we were in Leicester Square, hunting around for the theatre (there are so many!) and a healthy dose of murder. Of course I can’t tell you who did it (if you still don’t know), but I can tell you that it was good fun. Tweed and chintz sofas ruled, posh accents and a fair dose of over-acting in true Agatha Christie style. And Tom only fell asleep once!

Amazingly the rain held off until we dashed for the train home, in itself quite a miracle at the moment. What was lovely was to get away from Brighton for a day, oh and all that green. I do love that green.

car trouble and late nights

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007 | car, futureplatforms, weekend | No Comments

It’s turning out to be an expensive month, first the car, then the washing machine, now the car again. A trip out to The Ram in Firle was scuppered this afternoon when, having got to the Kingston roundabout I realised that there was something most definitely wrong. This was after Tom found the passenger foot well filled with water (a leak from the soft top I think), and so had been bailing us out at 70mph. Limping home, the revs all over the place, the engine stalling or just loosing power I was a bag of nerves by the time we got back. I love my car, I don’t want to sell it, but Lord only knows how much it’s going to cost this time.

Fortunately the rest of the weekend has been spent either out in the glorious sunshine (yay, summer’s back), asleep (most necessary), or staying up all night at FP towers watching Most Haunted Live from the Eastern State Penitentiary (it was only for the Ghost Detector for your mobile, honest). American TV – what can I say? There are lots and lots of terrible adverts, the majority of which are still jingling around my head (especially the Campbell’s soup one! Ghastly!). I don’t remember much else, I was tired, there was wine, and we didn’t leave till 7am. Good fun though!


Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 | weekend | No Comments

The first picnic of the year, and boy was the weather lovely. I’ve decided that picnics are the way forward this summer. There was something simply glorious about finding a patch of warm grass in Brighton, away from the hoards where you can lay down your blanket, nestle against your boy and only have the gulls to fend off.

We settled in Queens Park at lunchtime, having climbed up Southover Street panting (me) and admiring the view (Tom). After a quick look around we decided on a patch of grass near the pond, in sight of the ducks but far enough away from the nearest group of people. And then we began, tearing apart the loaf of soft white bread, smearing it with delicious dolcelatte or brie, fingers greasy from samosas and glugging on ginger beer. Personally I really don’t like ginger beer, but glug I did, and only having drunk much of a can in one go did I let out a “yuck”. No one can say I didn’t try.

It was glorious, and since then I have filled my head with images of picnics in fields of long grass, picnics by the river at Barcombe, picnics on the sand in Camber… and of course without the lashings of ginger beer. There’s nothing quite like them, and with a “garden” I can only describe as a walled-in area of concrete, they are likely to be the only times this year I shall be able to feel the grass between my toes.

of many spartans in leather pants…

Monday, March 26th, 2007 | weekend | No Comments

It was another productive weekend for me. I spent a lovely evening on Friday with Katharine & Lyndsey, drinking wine and chatting. Katharine told us of her new found fame, she may well be appearing with Sam (or perhaps just Sam with his dragon and no Katharine at all) on the television in May – something to look out for.

Despite the wine I managed to get up early on Saturday and head out onto the quieter streets with my bike. It started off wonderfully well, no traffic at all, but having navigated the terror of the Vogue Gyratory I then realised that the A27 is in fact a ghastly wind tunnel. I found out what all my gears do (not a lot in the face of so much head-on wind!), and peddled forth bravely until my legs could take no more. On the plus side, the cycle back was much easier and I felt gloriously angelic for the rest of the day.

I met up with my boy, and we headed into town for pizza at the Atlas Lounge, delicious and many cheesed. We braved the cold and stalked around the town, buying trainers and trousers before heading back home for a doze.

The evening was spent in the charming company of Dan, Lucy, Ken, Rach, and Paul, settled in at the front of the cinema for 300. Many fights, many battle cries “Spar-tans!” and many pairs of leather pants… oh, and a rhino and a strange goat (although I’ve been told it was Pan.. not sure about that one). I liked it, but I suspect some of the others were hoping for something a bit more “epic”. Sin City, I admit, was better.

Next it was on to Dangermouse Dave’s birthday party. We guzzled cider, caught up with more folks and thoroughly enjoyed a party at someone else’s house for a change. Then we realised that, due to the clocks changing, it was in fact far later than we’d thought, so we headed home, fell fast asleep and didn’t stir till Sunday lunchtime. Further naps followed and a remarkably quiet and restful Sunday was had. Glorious!


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