OK, so this blog post is not actually going to be an ode but An Ode to Summer sounds far more romantic than A Blog About Summer, don’t you think? 🙂
As the dreaded months of winter roll in I’d like to dedicate this post to my first summer in London. On the whole I think she acclimatised me very well. When I arrived at the end of July it was to gloomy yet muggy days. But it soon turned and in English terms I think the summer I experienced was pretty damn fine. In fact it was bloody hot a lot of the time.
Since I’ve been here I have had so many stunning park experiences. The parks here are so beautiful and each one holds its own special magic. The very first one I visited was Holland Park which I spoke about in my looking for work post. My first weekend in Richmond all I did was parks. It was at Wimbledon Park that I was to see the smallest braai I have ever seen. So bloody cute! But not sure any red-blooded South African male would go near such a thing!
Also managed to spend an awesome few hours in Richmond Park one lazy Sunday. Richmond Park is the biggest national park in the UK, spanning many hectares. To make it easier to understand, there are 7 entrances to the park which in itself explains a lot. It’s an annoying park in that you can’t really get anywhere unless you decide to make it a day mission and start early with a back pack. We decided not to do this. We found the first available shady tree and there we parked ourselves for 4 hours. So I can’t honestly say that I’ve really seen the park. I haven’t seen any deer there yet too. I need to go again.
Even did Hyde Park one awesome summers day. To be honest, Hyde Park was not the prettiest in my opinion, but it was definitely a highlight as that is where I went to see a whole lot of ex-colleagues from my very first job 25 years ago! It transpired that a whole lot of us were going to be in England at the same time so we made it happen! As always when we get together, it was nostalgic, with lots of laughs and we probably retold the same stories we chatted about the last time we all got together. Was very special in that we usually only ever get together when one of the ex’s who live in England now, go back to SA. We did have to stop a few times and pinch ourselves – very surreal that we were all together in London.
Other lovely long summer days that spring to mind was the very first barbecue I was invited to after I arrived. Not sure if I should call it a barbecue or a braai. Apparently if it’s on gas it should be called a barbecue but there were so many Saffers there AND so much meat done really well (as opposed to just some burgers and bangers) that I feel it had all the qualities of being a regter egter braai. So we can call it a braai-beque to keep everyone happy. That was my first encounter with the melting pot that is London. In fact, there was not one English person there. We had in the mix one Irishman, one Greek, one Albanian, 2 Hungarians and 6 South Africans (the baba in the tummy was probably the most English of all of us).
The best heat experience I have had so far would be watching Jurrasic Park in Kew Gardens. It really felt like I was back in Africa that night. 30 degree heat, in a park, surrounded by plants. Very Kirstenboschy.
I’m not going to lie about being a little bit scared about the coming winter months. These English people have a way of putting this fear into one. BUT, I am armed with 6 winter jackets of varying warmth, a beanie and some gloves. Oh and I even have some wellies! Not sure winter is going to get its own romantic post but lets see how we go. If anyone wants to tell me their personal experiences of winter in London, please feel free.