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24 May 2009

Sun and Fun on the HIll

For once, warm, sunny weather and a bank holiday weekend coincided in London. Assuming that the few tables outside the cafes and bruncherias of Marylebone High Street would be prime real estate, I woke up early enough to arrive at Le Pain Quotidien at about 10.30, armed with my copy of the Observer. This meant I sat down straight away at a recently vacated table on the street. Being slightly healthy, for once, I had a fruit salad with my cappuccino and walnut bread (the latter is served with an indecent range of unhealthy condiments including some posh variant of Nutella and lots of delicious jams). By the time I left, just before noon, a queue had formed inside and there was plenty of queue rage going on. 

Outdoor seating does cause queueing problems. A few weeks ago at Lantana, Papa, Maman and I arrived to find no seats inside and we thought the staff had understood that we would be sitting on the table outside until there were some seats inside. This didn't work out although it was sunny enough that we didn't mind (I did, however, mind when some oik accused us of queue jumping when we had been sitting down at the table for about 45 minutes and were almost ready to pay!). At LPQ today, some people were not aware of the inside queue and a couple who had apparently just strolled up to the just vacated table next to me asked a waitress if they could sit there. She said yes and they sat down, satisfied with their perfect timing. Then the hostess arrived and told them there was a queue and they had to join it. It then transpired that they had been in the queue but ran outside when they saw the empty table and therefore objected to joining the back of the queue. Luckily, I was leaving shortly anyway so I paid up and solved the hostess's--and the couple's--problem. I can occasionally be nice...

After a hard day's shopping and sun-soaking in the city (well, actually not the least bit hard), I decamped to Primrose Hill. Regent's Park was overly full of families and of the unwashed, undressed, Lynx-drenched masses blasting awful Eurodance out of their tinny speakers so that the rest of the world could share their excellent taste in music. Primrose Hill had a much nicer vibe. Although they weren't quite a string quartet, a group of four guys (cello, violin, guitar and money-collector) were playing some wonderfully fun, chilled out Sunday afternoon fayre and I spent half an hour listening to them. Hell, I even gave them 50p before being asked to donate any cash or booze, which, for me, is a rare occurrence indeed. The number of empty beer bottles in the photo show just how casual and fun it was. It was also great lying back on the Hill as the sun sank in the sky, feeling the sun on my arms, enjoying the view of the London skyline and ploughing through some more books (Perfume has now been finished--definitely better than the movie; I'm now halfway through Presumed Innocent, which I picked up cheap at Henry Pordes earlier today).

Because of the forecasted heat today, I was careful to put on lots of suncream over the areas of my body not covered by my camisole and short shorts; I also opted to protect my face from the sun by wearing my hat and sunnies rather than trying to go for the more golden highlights in my hair I would get by going hat-free. Unfortunately, I failed to predict that it was going to be hot enough for me to attempt to tan my midriff while chillaxing in Green Park at about 2 p.m. It was more unfortunate still that I fell asleep while listening to the Kermode and Mayo film podcast (which probably says a lot about the new cinema releases this week than anything else) and although when I woke up, my stomach looked fine, when I returned to the flat a few minutes ago, I realised that I had a rather large pink patch on my midriff. Error.


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