There are some strange folk out there who, I’m sure entirely for attention, confess that they like winter, snuggling in coats and sitting by fires. F*** That Sh**. Give me summer any day of the week. I know I mentioned that I like the seasons. I do. But it is in order to have a favourite, and mine is the summer. I’ll provide my reasons, in case you disagree, which is after all, your right. 1/ The days seems longer, as getting up at 7a.m. is easy since the parakeets in the graveyard squawk until you notice them from 6 a.m. onwards and the light blasts into the bedroom from earlier than that. The evening hours only begin from 9 p.m., leaving stacks of time to do all necessary things with plenty of margin to doodle, read, write, pluck eyebrows, file nails, bathe, beautify, watch endless Netflix or HBO series and generally ENJOY life. 2/ All of this can be done without shivering from one room to another, in fact if wished and if fellow inhabitants do not mind (the Captain doesn’t) one can wander around naked or semi-naked. 3/ When needing to leave the sanctuary of home, coats, scarves and other ridiculous layers can be abandoned, producing a feeling of jaunty carefree childlike delight. What’s not to like?
In addition, when your brother invites you and others to a Fleetwood Mac concert at the O2 in that sort of weather, life cannot actually get much better. It began with lunch (on his invitation again) at the Chinese Cricket Club in New Bridge Street. In a good sort of mood, the brother was quoting the soundtrack from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, while we had fragrant Dim Sum, Peking Duck and Pancakes accompanied by two bottles of very cold Gewurztraminer wine. Merry, we all ambled through the hot pavements of the city to Leonidas to have coffee, where it is a Mecca for city folk, due to the extraordinary Belgian chocolates and marzipan fruits and jellies they sell. On we went, to Blackfriars Pier to catch the Clipper to the O2. Ferris Bueller, I mean my brother, ordered ice cold gin and tonics for all, as he sensed that since we had done this on the trip to the Eagles last time, it was swiftly turning into a tradition. Oddly enough, no one disagreed with him. Enough time had elapsed for us to develop an appetite for the meal that had been booked at Gaucho’s by the Captain, on his invitation. He had wangled the best corner table on the first floor providing a fascinating view from the balcony of the excited guests and lighting displays before the main entrances. The steaks and wine were exceptional. We were all pretty high in spirits by this time, taking a drink in the VIP lounge before we went to our seats. Words will not describe how exceptional Fleetwood Mac were. Quite apart from the fact that their music awakens a formative time in both my brother’s and my life, their music and ability to play and sing it in the form of performance were astounding. Their private histories that had created the dramatic glue that held them forever together (like their song, The Chain) moved me to tears and to joy. Euphoria is the only word that might describe how they rendered me. So Ferris, as my brother will currently be known, did well indeed. Unforgettable.
The big secret that I have been hiding, is that the Captain and I have purchased a house by the Thames. It is a minute terraced cottage, but it will be our home, and it is in an area where arty type folk seem to live. I burst into tears when the Captain first found it and showed it to me. We had extended our search to other areas, since we have had no particular luck looking in the past three years. I was in the kitchen making tea, in a moment when having tea was totally essential. I had staved off for the previous hour or two but was boiling the kettle when the door closed downstairs and the Captain marched up the stairs with glassy, staring eyes. The conversation went as follows:
” You need to come with me now,” said the Captain.
” But I’ve just made a cup of tea,” said / whined the wife.
” It doesn’t matter about the tea, we need to get in the car, the Captain persisted.
” How about if I put the tea in a thermosflask?” asked the wife.
” By all means, but you need to come with me now, ” answered the Captain, who was quite used to her addiction to tea.
In that state we went to the little cottage by the Thames, and not being a poker player, as we walked in to it and the owners joined us, I burst into tears. That’s how much I loved it. Anyway, reader, we only went and bought it. And now own it. I can already see the Captain having a Sunday pint at the local pub by the river a stone’s throw away from the cottage, reading his paper and keeping company with the other arty intelligent sorts who do similar types of things. There is some work to do to it, but it is now ours and the planning permission plans have been submitted so here’s to our new adventure.
My wonderful old mate from school (she’s not old but our friendship is the longest one standing) and her gorgeous young daughter came to visit and escorted me to the new house to collect the keys. This was while the Captain was away in Bangkok filming an advert for a French bank. We walked along the river from the rented flat to the cottage, and their company made the slice of paradise that it is all the merrier. The previous two days had been made up of her being messed around by Easyjet (she will never be flying them again after two cancellations and two reschedules) resulting in her and her daughter’s arrival at 2.00 a.m. Undeterred by the determination to have fun, we explored the wonders of our being able to walk to Chelsea in the summer sunshine, taking in all the shops, stopping for a light lunch, more shopping and then hopping on the bus home for some horizontal rest and cocktails on the balcony, followed by more walking to Parson’s Green for a delicious supper at Cote, the French Brasserie, on her invitation. Having an actual summer has made all this possible.
A fiftieth in North London with an old friend was thrown into the mix of all of this, and all on American Independence Day. (which my father jokingly refers to as Britain’s Thanksgiving Day….. he was only joking…. we love our American cousins, honest, we do. Come on, it’s that wacky crazy irony thing those British do, right? Right?)
Next weekend it’s a mini outdoor 45th festival. I’m not sure if the Dalai Lama will make it there as he’s exhausted from Glastonbury, but let’s hope the weather holds for it. I shall be sporting shorts and festival-type clothing in the hope that I don’t look like a reject from Woodstock. Wish me luck. I’m going to need it. Namaste and peace to y’all.