It’s time for the annual tradition of saying happy birthday to this blog. On Tuesday, it turned 17 and can now legally drive (no thanks), be interviewed by the police without an adult blog present (hopefully unnecessary) and give blood!
I’m pretty sure I loved being 17 and – while I wouldn’t want to be 17 forever – I’d certainly be happy to relive it once or twice. This is partly to do with the way Sixth Form works in Britain, or at least for me, which begins in Year 12 as former school pupils emerge blinking as freshly-minted students with more freedoms and a more relaxed, collegiate atmosphere but not yet Year 13’s mad crunch of A-Levels, university offers and the sense of everyone parting ways.
Although I have a decent handful of photos from this era, plus some top quality videos from various beloved Nokias, it’s a lot more scattergun than I remember because this was all pre-smartphone. In fact, I’m grateful to Catherine for recently sending me one of these pictures from her 18th birthday while we were reminiscing about our Eton summer school days. I remember it well (and treasured that brief period when teenagers flirted by swapping MSN Messenger addresses) although curiously I don’t seem to have blogged about it afterwards, probably because it took a while in those days for any photos to emerge onto MySpace. So, consider this a belated post from the lost days of being 17 in 2006.
Back in the present, Randi and I dubbed last week our own unofficial London Restaurant Week as we donned suitably warm coats and splurged on a succession of outdoor dining at places both new (amazing gourmet Indian at Babur) and old (including our old friend the Tulse Hill Hotel). Best of all, last Saturday we walked up to Rotherhithe and finally fulfilled our long-delayed plan to visit The Mayflower pub with Tash and Cormac. Sitting by the Thames again was pretty thrilling, although we didn’t get as close to the river as the guy behind us who dropped his phone all the way down to the river through the slats. Fortunately, it landed at low tide and he was lucky enough to have a friend willing to venture all the way down to retrieve it for him.
Meanwhile, our group all kept hold of our phones and enjoyed a wonderful late lunch before admiring the excellent statues of the pioneering Salters nearby and basking in the sunshine in King’s Stairs Gardens. I always thought it was a bit silly when people single out an area for having ‘lots of history’ (doesn’t everywhere?) but walking around the cobbly streets Rotherhithe is more evocative than most. The next day we were delighted to welcome Chris to our very own back garden as our inaugural garden furniture guest. Having watched countless couples lose their shit on Location Location Location over whether a potential garden was south-facing or not I’m amused that we accidentally ended up with a south-facing garden without realising, but now I can see the benefits.
Of course, our garden can never compete with the full-on private café / nature reserve experience at Josh and Anna’s which we visited again today after seeing my mum on Friday night. Excitingly, Josh had his second dose vaccine appointment booked so after eating lots of pancakes and teaching Cora the basics of multi-party democracy (see below) we walked down to the vaccine centre together and hung around semi-enviously outside. It shouldn’t be long for us now, though, and I’m delighted we thought to inaugurate a new tradition of a post-vaccine pint afterwards. It’s not exactly how my 17 year old self imagined the future, but we’ve all come through alright.