A weekend split between the family home in Norfolk and here in London, and I feel lucky to be able to have countryside and city, family and friends, all within the space of a weekend.
I leave work early so we just miss the rush hour traffic, and get driven up to Norfolk in a 1963 Jaguar e-type that Dad has hired for the weekend. Low to the ground, fast, and resulting in multiple salutes and nodded acknowledgements from other classic car drivers we pass on route, especially those leaving Duxford airfield, as Spitfires roar overhead.
Barbecue in the garden, smoky peppers, blackened courgettes, grilled halloumi. Evening visit to the stable to feed S's horse, catching up with my sister in the barn as hay is munched and swallows dip in and out of the rafters overhead. Poo-picking in the field (ah, the things you do for a sibling!) as the last rays of the evening sun come across the hedge. Home-made strawberry ice-cream and Fame on DVD later on. Love the legwarmers and headbands.
A morning wander round the charity shops, buying up a few books and a couple of china swans for a friend's wedding that I am doing the flowers for. Lavender picking in the garden to bring back to London for C, honey bees and Cabbage White butterflies for company. Lunch outdoors, tomato and basil bruschetta follwed by sweetcorn picked from Mum's vegetable garden half and hour before, juicy and so so sweet, with melted butter and sea salt. I had forgotten how much I love this vegetable.
A train ride back to London, where I meet M at the flat to get ready to go out for a friend's birthday. At The Porterhouse in Covent Garden I drink various fruit beers (which I have come to appreciate since Bruges) whilst M drinks dark, bitter pints that taste of burnt toast. Twenty of us then head to Wahaca to eat, and though we wait for an hour for a table, one scoop of creamy, lemony guacamole later I am hooked. The food came quickly (one we were finally seated), the staff were friendly and my summer vegetable burrito was delicious. M and I walk back to mine through Leicester Square, past Piccadilly, up Regent Street and I am full of love this busy, vibrant city. M is finally moving to London in a month and I can't wait to discover a new area of it with him.
Lazy morning, raspberry pancakes, orange juice, balcony door open wide to let in the morning sunshine. A trip to the farmers' market, a bunch of sunflowers with fat, heavy heads, a box of tomatoes, a couple of corn cobs.
In the afternoon we head to Hampstead Heath with some friends, and brave the ponds again. The sun is on the water this time, and the surface looks green and more inviting. We swim for longer than before, then pick a sunny spot elsewhere on the Heath to spread out our towels and dry out in the warm breeze, laughing at the antics of a boisterous Jack Russell nearby.
Later, we barbecue on my balcony, making the most of the final hours of the sun-filled weekend. The first of the peppers are burnt beyond recognition but once we peel of the black skin they are soft and deliciously sweet within.
I wake up this morning to the last of the pancake batter, feeling completely relaxed and fully topped up with Vitamin D.