Six months have passed since my first update on life ‘Down South’, and that means only one thing: it’s time for the second. I’m putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – a little later than usual this weekend, as it’s been all go chez moi. Open House London took place this weekend, and Laurence and I decided to make a day of it. We took a rooftop tour around King’s Cross (the area, not the station), whizzed up to Landing Forty-Two at the Leadenhall Building (à la the final five in The Apprentice), learnt about arms smuggling at Custom House, ventured underground to see Billingsgate Roman Baths and visited the opulent Clothworkers’ Hall. I also took up running earlier this year (primarily as a means of getting in shape ahead of the West Highland Way), and spent this morning running round Jesus Green in the rain doing the Decathlon Sports Series 5k.
Receiving a Jury Summons
I’ve always wanted to do jury service, but until I did, I’d never given the emotional aspect of the experience a thought: that the only reason you’re there is because someone else’s life was turned upside down, and is then laid bare before you. From a pool of fifteen or so names, twelve are selected at random: these twelve strangers – who’ve never met before and likely never will again – are tasked with deciding whether an individual is guilty or not. We’re so often told that things are never black and white, but the truth is, there’s no place for shades of grey when it comes to delivering a final verdict. That said, it was a fascinating few days, a glimpse into the country’s legal system that I may never get again – and an opportunity to get through a few more books on my TBR list while the barristers debated legal points with the judge (which they did a lot).
When I was little, I had great fun growing runner beans over the summer months. This year, Laurence and I decided to make the most of our little garden and try our luck with growing a few veggies. Laurence re-purposed an old pallet and some planks of wood and built us a few planters. We bought a selection of seeds – carrots, onions, choy sum, lettuce, cayenne pepper, tomatoes – and set to work. We’ve battled the bugs and the slugs, and emerged triumphant (or rather, our veggies have).
Punting on the Cam
Back in June, a couple of my close friends from home came down to Cambridge, so we played tourist for the weekend and took a punt out. Luckily for us, Laurence’s office has a corporate punt which can be hired out for the day at a super-cheap rate (read: a small donation to charity in place of the £30+ hourly rate otherwise charged by Scudamore’s). Our punting prowess was close to non-existent at the start (though Laurence had it down to a tee by the time we returned the punt) and we almost fell in on more than one occasion, but we had a great time nonetheless.
Exploring East Anglia
Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk are home to historic market towns, beautiful beaches and miles upon miles of picturesque countryside. I’ve chosen one from each of these categories. For Cambridgeshire, a cycle ride to St. Ives (not the seaside town you’re probably thinking of) along the guided busway one sunny bank holiday. For Norfolk, a trip to Hunstanton to see the pinky-coloured cliffs, relax in the dunes and enjoy a helping of fish and chips. For Suffolk, a day in bustling Bury St. Edmunds (which you can read more about here).
Related: Cambridge Chronicles #1 | March 2018
Battling the Slugs
Oh, the slugs. First, they made themselves at home in the planters full of choy sum (and were swiftly kicked out). Then, they slithered under the back door (we presume), leaving swirls of slime on the kitchen floor, the floorboards and – wait for it – the rug in the living room. Just last week, I spotted a trail of slime across my shoe (and didn’t realise until I was half-way to work). Eugh!
I’m off to the land of pastéis de nata and port in the not-too-distant future, and am crossing my fingers (and toes!) that there’ll still be some sunshine. (I’m sure I’m not the only one finding the dreary skies and drizzle a bit testing.) Closer to home, there’s a trip to Norwich and The Broads in the pipeline. I’m also avidly watching the latest series of The Great British Bake Off and this year have committed to attempting one of the challenges each week. So far, Laurence and I have baked wagon wheels, traybakes, cinnamon buns and roulade. Roll on the next episode!
Six Months in Six Photos