Thursday, June 24, 2010

Year 1 coming to a close

Umm. It's no longer February, that's for sure. What has happened, as I understand it, is the earth proceeding some 120 degrees along its path of revolution around the sun. Given our extreme latitude here in Old Blighty (some 50 degrees north) together with the inclination of the earths axis of rotation, we now have absurdly long days, lush greenery all around, scantily clad people out and about, sidewalk dining, Wimbledon, outdoor theatre, and many other delights.

As I recall, the change began somewhere in March. Just about the time the blog entries trailed away. Sorry, but everything just started to click -- experiences piling on top of adventures, one after another, with no down time. I.e., no more dark, cold snowy days spent hovering over the laptop.

Just to bring things up-to-date, here is what's been going on:
  • March 10: Pam goes to Madrid for an art tour with the Women's Club
  • March 16: Jon skis Courchevel with Jean-Girard Galvez and his Paris buddies
  • March 19: Jon joins the Knightsbridge Golf School for a weekend in Spain
  • March 23: Jon skis with college roommate Alberto Finali in Crans-Montana Switzerland
  • March 27: We all go to California for Spring Break, visit friends & family, ski excellent late season powder at Kirkwood
  • April 10: Pam and the girls return to London for Spring Semester at ASL
  • April 16: Jon and brother Mark go to Fiji for an amazing week of SURF!!

  • May 1: P, J & E spend a long weekend in magical Bruge, Belgium. S. stays in London to take the SAT :(
  • May 5: Pam is joined by Kate Ditzler for a biking tour through Umbria, Italy with a group headed by Sarah (Greer) Bertasi
  • May 13: P & J are invited to a lavish fund raiser (the ARK gala), hob-nob with London's hedge funders, and dance to The Killers
  • May 15: Jean-Girard comes over from Paris and he an Jon fly on to Barbados for the annual "Caballeros" surf/windsurf/golf week
  • May 28: Pam goes with the women's club to St. Petersburg, Russia to see the Hermitage and other cultural landmarks
  • June 16: Girls finish school and we ALL go to Barcelona for a wonderful 4 days -- our new favorite city in Europe
  • June 21: Simone starts an internship at the Hummingbird Bakery, while Pam and Elie depart for New York to get Elie set-up for her month long design program at Parsons.
So there you have it. Obviously. But rather than attempting to dive into details on the above, lets just revel in the glory that is London at this time of the year.

Everyone here realizes that most of the thrill can be ascribed to our mutual suffering through the winter. Yes, we all agree, its only because of the sheer torture that we've endured that makes it all seem so wonderful when the thermometer breaks the 20C (68F) barrier.

The funny thing is, this realization does not dampen the experience. Damn but doesn't that sunshine feel good on the skin, bring color to the scenery, and make one want to smile upon your fellow man? Never mind that a north wind just kicked in, the temperature has dropped 10 degrees in 10 minutes, and clouds are once again scudding overhead -- lets strip off our shirts and throw frisbees in the park!

For us desiccated Californians, the heady greenness is indeed intoxicating. It seemed the trees morphed from twig-fractal displays to lush, verdant, shade-giving monsters in just three weeks. This happened at the peak of the tulip bloom, these having emerged from secret plantings of military precision in every public space throughout the city. Next up were the azaleas and rhododendrons -- I didn't even realize that we were surrounded by them until they erupted in color. And the lilacs, ahhh -- not to mention the hosts of other intensely scented blossoms. And all the while, the rosebuds push upwards at a tantalizingly slow pace...

So suddenly the outdoors, and therefore every reach of the city is alluring, especially in the balmy evenings. Amongst our favorites were a impromptu picnic called by our friend Colleen Graffy near her home in Battersea Park. She, the consummate hostess, put it together after work, plying one of the nearby trendy delis for a tasty assortment of cold salads etc, and arriving with her nifty traveling champagne kit (holds a bottle and four glasses). We chatted, supped and sipped as the sun slowly sank below the horizon at 10PM.

Another started with a dinner with another pair of ASL parents at "The Providores and Tapas Room" on Marylebone High Street. This is a Kiwi-run modern "small plates" style restaurant, extremely tasty plus an extensive assortment of NZ wines on offer. From there, we walked to the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park for a performance of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible". It was excellent, and the setting, overshadowed by spooky trees wavering in the breeze, was eerily perfect for the Salem witch-hunt theme. We walked home at midnight, not able to cut through the Park as it closes at night, a 45 minute stroll in shirtsleeves. Literally the moment we reached our door, the skies erupted in thunder and rain...perfect timing!

Oh..there is Simone. Just back at 11:45PM. She's been at work (an internship at a hip cupcake chain called "Hummingbird") which then led to a dinner with friends at "Entrecote" -- a one-size fits all french brasserie serving perfectly broiled sirloin smothered in bernaise. She made me a special cupcake, but unfortunately it melted on the bus and had to be discarded. Damn! But maybe for the best as I wolfed down three boxes of similar fringe benefits last night.