The view from the hill in Greenwich Park

“Is that a dog inside?”

Whenever people ask how wedding planning is going, I get a little burst of nervous energy that we’re supposed to be doing more wedding planning than we are. Essentially, you’re being assessed on your project management skills as a couple, and that would be a little embarrassing to screw up. But we have been doing wedding planning! Lots of it, in fact, and this is one of my excuses for falling behind on my blog. Excuse number two is that we’re in full-on summer mode, and isn’t it better to spend a glorious summer evening sitting out in the garden drinking wine with Promise rather than typing furiously into WordPress? Yes? No? Maybe?

Well, either way, our evening with Promise was over a month ago now but we were very happy to have her over, especially as the tone in which she asks “South East London?!” is as incredulous as if we had moved to the moon. Some people are just North West to their bones. (Side-note: a few hours earlier, while I was picking out the evening’s wine from a quiet Sainsbury’s aisle, a man approached me with nothing but a large box of Thornton’s chocolates in his shopping basket and a desperate look in his eyes. Turned out that tonight was the night he was due to meet his new girlfriend’s family and had been asked to bring a bottle, but he “didn’t drink alcohol” and really wanted some guidance on what to buy. “You mean… you don’t really drink much, or you’ve literally never drunk?” I asked. He’d never drunk alcohol in his life. Despite having very low wine credibility myself, I steered him to the reds (“more romantic”) and he left with the most expensive bottle he could find. He really was very sweet, and I got very invested, so I really hope the night went well.)

Birthday dinner at Tierra Peru
Birthday dinner at Tierra Peru

Anyway – that weekend was my birthday weekend, so on Saturday night Randi took me on a mystery walk along the New River until we arrived at Tierra Peru, which was absolutely the best Peruvian restaurant we’ve found in London so far in terms of feeling like we were back in that country. Everything was delicious – and I was very happy to have aji de gallina again – but we ended on an even higher note by combining dulce de leche-filled biscuits with caramelito ice cream. We definitely needed the New River walk back to Canonbury afterwards.

Followed by brunch the next morning courtesy of Tash!
Followed by brunch the next morning courtesy of Tash!
Discovering that we weren't being burgled
Discovering that we weren’t being burgled

The next day I had been promised a mysterious birthday activity from Tash, which started out with a local brunch (see a next-level egg and beans on toast, above) before swinging back home for ‘reasons’ which, it turned out, really meant a ruse to be able to usher a surprise party which Randi had organised in place while we were out.

For a moment as I stood outside our front door I thought we had caught someone who had brought their own guard dog to a burglary after I heard barking coming from inside the flat, but after peeking through the letterbox I discovered Diva – Erin’s dog – and a host of wonderful humans gathered on the staircase instead. Thank you all! It was such a lovely crowd to have brought together, but it was especially magical that Conor, our downstairs neighbour, could share his toys with the full complement of my friends’ babies whose names all begin with C – Cora, Cress and Cleo – and I was very touched by everyone who went out of their way to get here. ❤️

Talking of babies: in the last few weeks we also met baby Isabel for the first time over Skype (she’s amazing) and later I got to go on an impromptu swimming session with Adam and my baby cousin Austin. Turns out it’s pretty tiring to keep up with him while walking backwards through the children’s pool! Not talking of babies: recently Katie and I also had another Doctor Who night (1982’s Kinda this time, in which the Doctor is definitely not perturbed enough by what goes on) while last weekend Randi and I welcomed my colleague Patricia to our area to give her the hard sell on moving to a flat around here. (It seemed to work!) I also spent an exhilarating evening on my local Labour Party Zoom meeting just in case there was a big fight about candidate reselection. (There wasn’t – it was total unanimity.) And then, of course, like the rest of the country I then spent a few days wondering “wait, what actually happens if Boris just refuses to resign?” before he finally (and rather petulantly) did so Thursday. (Note to Editor – I kept this bit in the baby-themed paragraph for a reason.)

With the constitution unblocked, Randi and I could go back to the important things – more wedding planning! – and had an extremely productive day yesterday hoovering up train tickets for overseas guests and planning our ceremony while enjoying the sun on a picnic blanket in Bushy Park. Sure, Bushy Park is not exactly our patch but we’d always wanted to go back there after walking through it on the London Loop and returning my colleague Tim’s water bottle to him was the perfect excuse to go. After meeting up with Tim over lunch to return said water bottle and chat, we then walked over to Teddington Lock and finally along the river to Richmond, officially connecting the London Loop to the Capital Ring and feeling proud of ourselves.

Finally, today we enjoyed another stunning day with the fam outside in Greenwich Park to see Daryl and Ermila on their latest UK visit. (Standing on the bank at Greenwich Pier and waving as they arrived off the Thames Clipper did make “visiting South London” feel more like a scene from a continental voyage.) We walked, all had a great outdoor lunch, and to top it off on the way home I spotted some kids in Ladywell Fields with water pistols who agreed to give me a refreshing blast on demand. As discussed: it’s most definitely summer.

The view from the hill in Greenwich Park
The view from the hill in Greenwich Park
A perfect summer Sunday
A perfect summer Sunday

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