Monday, July 4, 2011

Picnic on the Common

Independence Day is a big deal in Washington, DC.  My first 8 years there, I lived across the street from the Iwo Jima memorial -- a prime fireworks viewing spot.  We'd have a huge party every year and then slip in amongst the throngs to watch the fireworks.  Afterwards, we'd simply walk back across the street and continue with the party.  Perfect!

After we moved into our house, we'd usually spend the 4th attending our cute neighborhood parade and picnic, maybe attend an afternoon barbecue, and then make our way to the Iwo Jima to watch the fireworks in the evening.  It's only 2 Metro stops away, and we could still walk home afterwards, although it took a bit longer.

In London, the 4th of July is just another date on the calendar.  In fact, it's probably a day most of the Brits would just as soon forget, so there aren't many celebrations here.  The American Women's Club didn't have anything planned, and even if I had known about it early enough to RSVP, I doubt I would have gone to the unveiling of the new Ronald Reagan statue by the American embassy.  Some other expat groups had barbecues or picnics yesterday, but they were either inconveniently located or had steep admission fees, so we planned our own.  I emailed Bethie and Sarah, a woman I had met at the AWC meeting, to see if they were interested, and we agreed on a potluck picnic in Clapham Common, since both Bethie and Sarah live in Clapham.  Bethie said Jason would make Thomas Keller's fried chicken recipe, I offered to bring brownies, fruit, and chips, and Sarah was in charge of salad and plates, cups, and cutlery. 

Unfortunately, Bethie came down with some kind of stomach flu yesterday afternoon, so she and Jason and baby Charlotte had to bow out at the last minute.  Bummer.  We were looking forward to seeing them (and to the chicken!).  I heard from Bethie that Jason is sick now, too.  I hope they recover soon!

We met up with Sarah and her husband, Christian, as planned, and picked up some fried chicken at one of the many take-out chicken places before finding a grassy spot that wasn't already covered with people out enjoying the nice weather (cloudy, but warm -- low 70's).  Sarah and Christian moved here from Washington DC as well, AND Christian works for BAE, just like Josh, so we had plenty to talk about.  Christian and Josh work in different departments, but their work overlaps enough that they had actually met at a work function when we were in DC a month ago.  It was nice to make some new friends, although they are likely to be moving back to DC in 6 months.

Oddly enough, there's a store a couple blocks from our house that sells fireworks, so I asked Josh to see if they had any sparklers to make our picnic a little more festive.  Of course, it was still light out, but we all appreciated the sentiment.
Sarah, Christian, and Josh are transfixed
We had a lovely time -- although we were sorry Bethie, Jason, and Charlotte weren't there -- and promised to try another group outing sometime soon.

Today's been kind of a downer so far.  Josh had to go to work, since it's not a holiday, and I spent the morning doing laundry.  I was washing dishes and set the pyrex pan I used to bake brownies in on the edge of the sink just as the washer kicked over to the spin cycle.  Since the washer is in the kitchen next to the sink, the vibrations from the spin cycle knocked the dish off the counter and onto the tile floor, where it shattered into a BILLION pieces!  Waaah!  I could feel tiny bits of glass embedding themselves in my flip-flops as I gingerly retrieved the broom.  I spent an hour sweeping, vacuuming, and picking glass shards out of my flip-flops, but I'm still nervous to walk barefoot through the kitchen.  AND, now I need a new brownie pan.  That one was at least 20 years old, but it had served me well over the years.

Well,  I hope you are all having a better 4th than I am!  We still have some sparklers left, so we'll save them until it gets dark tonight (10 pm or so) and scare the neighbors.  USA!

The other reason I'm feeling down in the dumps is that Josh is flying to DC tomorrow morning for a meeting, so not only am I missing the 4th in DC, but I'll be here on my own for the rest of the week while Josh gets to hang out with our friends -- in DC.  If he had known about this sooner, we might have been able to plan a trip together and be there for the festivities, but his boss just sprang it on him on Thursday and he got his tickets on Friday.  Since we were just in DC a month ago, and are likely to be back in October, it wasn't worth the additional expense for me to go with him on this trip.  In any case, I already have a few things on my calendar for this week that would be a pain to reschedule, and several people we know will be in London next week, so I need to get the house ready for visitors.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry about the brownie pan! I also broke a dish on Monday, and I ended up with cuts all over one of my fingers. I empathize!


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