Commons Sense

We had a nice breakfast on our patio overlooking the neighboring apartments and chimneys. We had taken a quick walk earlier, and found a nice coffee shop that did smoothies, as well as Espresso and breakfast foods. We grabbed a bunch of stuff and brought it all back. It was a cool morning on the patio, and we weren’t in any rush to do anything in the morning. We had a birthday dinner with Henry this evening, and Sasha was going to a music festival in the afternoon. So the morning was no rush, we had plenty of time.

Once Sasha was up, she and Yulia went out to walk our neighborhood and do a little shopping. This gave me a change to catch up on some writing, which was good as I was falling several days behind. They were gone a while, so I was able to catch up on quite a few entries. When they got back, we decided to join Sasha on the trip through the Metro to Clapham Commons, as that’s where the festival was being held. This was the South West Four festival, which was apparently a pretty big festival, and since it was only about five metro stops from our apartment, it made sense to go. Sasha had picked up tickets months before we arrived, so she was really excited. Apparently there were several of the headlining DJ’s that were Sasha’s favorites. Sasha told me who they were, but I’m old and a dad, so I just gave alternating confused and pensive looks. None of them were Madness, so I think she really missed out not joining us for that.

Get off my Lawn!

In any case, she wanted to get there early to avoid the worst lines, and we wanted to have a nice lunch out, so we thought we would all head down together, then leave her at the festival. At first I thought we could stop at the new plaza at the old Battersea Power Station (that’s the factory on the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals), but when we got out of the tube there, it was too far of a walk in the heat to be worth it. We went right back into the tube and continued on to the festival. Each station had more and more festival dressed youth boarding (which is to say, mostly underpants plus some form of neon webbing). We just followed them out of the tube as we hit the station, I assumed that they might not know how to dress, but they probably knew where the festival was.

Once we came out of the tube, we were at Clapham Commons, and it was busy! This was obviously a big festival, and the streets were filled with young kids already pre-func’d for the festival. Many of them could still walk straight, which was surprising. We wanted to get some lunch before Sasha took off. We walked around the street corner, and found a nice little café. They were pretty busy, and were continuing to chase festival goers out – as everyone wanted a restroom, but those were for customers. We actually wanted food, so we were given a table with a great view of the park and everyone streaming in. They had a nice pre fix menu for lunch, and that with a few drinks was just perfect. Sasha also ordered a cocktail to warm up for the festival. Mostly we just wanted to make sure she ate something as young people normally make such good party decisions. (spoiler: older people also make poor party decisions, for example, everything I have ever written)

Sasha left us after some food, and we stayed for a short desert and an extra drink. More festival goers kept trying to come in until the staff put a gentle reminder out front:


The English are so subtle.

Yulia and I walked around a bit before getting back into the metro. It was getting hotter out. After the cold storms of Scotland, this was a really stark transition. Yulia tried t shop a bit, but we were both overheating. We went back and got a short rest, then got ready for dinner. This was Henry’s actual birthday dinner, and I put on a Jacket and tie. We had a room at Bar Boloud, a really nice place over in Kensington.  The food and wine were fantastic. Simon did the wine pairings, starting with an excellent French Champagne to start, a dry whine and rich Barolo red for dinner. The staff brought out several starters, including some excellent oysters. Yulia was craving oysters (we both get this sometimes, something about the zinc or magnesium) and probably had seven. It was a great time, and we ended with a very nice lemon meringue tart. The after dinner drinks started, but Yulia and I were too beat to continue. We gave a round of hugs and headed back to the apartment.

Sasha’s festival was ending at the same time, and we beat her back, as she had to deal with the huge crowds and a couple of closed metro stations. When  she got in we found out that she made some good friends at the festival, the music was amazing, and she had a fantastic time. So did we. Not everyone has has a big group of great friends, it one of the things I am grateful for.

I wasn’t kidding.