No picnic in the park
It’s that time of the year. You know the one: Picnic in the Park Time.
It’s the perfect place to get different groups of your friends together, creating a level playing field for those with kids, those with limited budgets and even those friends of yours who might not like each other all that much. Plenty of room there for personality differences, for kids to run a little bit wild and for their parents to get suitably sloshed.
You know those images you conjure up when you plan something? You play that gorgeous movie on your inner mind’s screen: flawless pictures of endless, crisp blue skies on a long, hot (but not too hot) afternoon. Cut to you and your friends in a perfect picnic spot, lounging on bright blankets under trees with just enough leaves to get that mottled demi-shade thing going on that creates just the right temperature. Oh and lots of Pimms. Lovely.
After the almost indecent amount of sunshine we’ve had already this year, it seemed perfectly fair for my friend to plan to her birthday in the park last weekend, without having to worry too much about plan B. It was discussed, briefly, and then forgotten about.
Alas, the day arrived with gusty winds and moody clouds lurking around, threatening to piss on our bonfire. Boohoo. Much to her dismay, the birthday girl had to spend the morning conjuring up a more suitable location, one with at least the option of cover and outside space for people to smoke. Things used to be so much simpler before the smoking ban.
The knock on effect of the cancelled picnic was stockpiles of food clogging up fridges all across South London, the effects of which are likely to be felt till at least the end of the week.
Anyhow - as it most often turns out with these things, everything was great in the end. We ended up in a place with a beer garden quite simply begging to be taken over by us - Gautama Bar in Crystal Palace. And although the food there was decidedly unimpressive and the service even worse, at least they left us well alone to get on with our day.
The kids had fun, everyone got on and it was almost like being in the park - except there were loos nearby, tables and chairs and a well-stocked bar. The sun even came out for us, accompanied by one - very welcome - ferocious shower. Just to ease that nagging feeling of being fooled by the clouds...