Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Socialising

An Afternoon on the Thames
June in London this year, it has been reported, was the wettest month on record. It was also one of the dullest, with so few hours of daylight that it was only slightly less miserable than June 1987. I am quoting from the newspaper reports - the terms “dull” and “miserable” appear to be part of the usual lexicon when discussing the British weather. Yes, every stereotype you ever heard seems to be true.

Thames Ditton
But there was one lovely day, at least. On a Sunday in mid-June the sun surprised everyone and actually shone for the whole day. Brightly and warmly. No rain fell. The English know the drill - when this happens, they get out of the house, immediately, and socialise, ride bikes, wear summer dresses (ladies) and take their shirts off (gents). Everyone is very happy. In fact, so happy is everyone that you almost think that it is worth the wet, grey days just for the thrill of seeing them gone.

On this auspicious occasion I was the happy recipient of not one, but two invitations to garden parties of two different kinds. I have been here long enough to know that advantage must be taken of days like this, so I accepted them both. 

Firstly, I set off by train to Surbiton to enjoy an afternoon on the Thames, at Thames Ditton, in fact. I discovered, upon arrival, that the riverside location of the party was on the opposite bank to the Park of Hampton Court Palace - where kings used to hunt for deer and so on. It now forms a lovely green backdrop to dog-walkers, cyclists and people mucking around in boats on the river. 

The At Home party involved lots of chatty people, kind hosts, the opportunity to muck about in a boat ourselves, lots of Pimm’s, and sun umbrellas. It was absolutely delightful, and restored one’s faith in England - not to mention assisting with the Vitamin D levels. Thank you, Isabel and David.

One thing about this time of year - when the sun does shine, it shines for a very long time. A sunset at 10.30 in the evening is about par for the course in June. Thus I was able to spend the long, warm evening at the next party, a Bar Mitzvah (my first!) held at home in the garden of a big family house in Crouch End in north London.

Everyone happy.

A great garden for kids.

The ceremonies involved all the family, and some friends, of the Bar Mitzvah Boy, making speeches and performing. And very excellent they were too. All to the accompaniment of shrieks of gaiety from the dozens of children enjoying the playground at the end of the garden, the clink of glasses as the grown-ups enjoyed their cocktails, and the chatter of dozens of interesting new people for me to meet. And all topped off with a fun photo booth. Thank you, Misha, and congratulations Max.

Congratulations, Max.

Max's smallest sister Delilah contributes to the festivities

 Photo booth fun.

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