1. We spent a lovely (if, at times, rainy) few days in Burgundy, sampling lots of local wine and phenomenal beef, and exploring a chateau or two and picturesque little towns. We stayed here, where we were extremely well-fed, and we were kept company by four fine ginger cats! (Who were particularly keen to hang out at meal times. Go figure.) Then it was on up to Paris, for a little injection of city life, and to catch up with this lady. We stayed at another fantastic Airbnb apartment in Montmartre, walked everywhere and enjoyed Paris's off-season. But then, before we knew it, we were on the Eurostar, and heading back to real life in London.
2. August was a grim month for many places beyond London. On 9th August around 150,000 people marched through the city to demand an end to ongoing attacks on Gaza. The 'Free Palestine' rally began up near Broadcasting House, the BBC's headquarters, and stretched down through the centre of town, along Oxford Street (past the US Embassy) to Hyde Park. I watched the crowds mustering before midday, clutching armfuls of placards and wearing Palestinian flags tied around their bodies and their babies' buggies. By midday people were on the move, marching, chanting, and thoroughly confusing the shoppers on Oxford Street. It was quite a sight.
3. The Accidental Ally, a pal from my old place of work, kindly treated to me to a night at the theatre. We went to see Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan in David O'Hare's 'Skylight' at the Wyndham's Theatre just off Leicester Square. Much like the critics, we loved it! Bill Nighy is a thoroughly entrancing actor, possessing every inch of the stage he paced. Even though we saw the play ten days before it closed, the theatre was packed. When we arrived there were even fans queued around the block in hope of returned tickets to see the sold-out show. No wonder the critics were raving about it.
4. In fact, August turned out to be a month of theatre. Remember my friend who wrote that mini-series I blogged about? Well, another friend of hers was starring in a play at the shiny new Park Theatre up in Finsbury Park, so we went along to check it out a couple of days after I saw 'Skylight'. This time we saw 'Crystal Springs', which handles the tricky issue of cyber-bullying, and made its British debut in London this year. We were impressed first by the play itself, and then, when we stuck around for drinks with the cast after the show, by the theatre's buzzy bar and kitchen. I was delighted to find a theatre so near home (no more having to slog into the West End for a drama fix now!) and also a fun new local spot for drinks.
5. If August was the month of theatre, summer has been the season of weddings. A second of my university friends got married last month, up near Manchester. Cue another weekend of big hats and fancy dresses, and champagne toasts and cake-cutting, and crazy dancing in celebration of another happy couple! (And yes, that is a Disney castle wedding cake...with Tinkerbell on the side. Amazing.)
6. I explored Southwark with several other bloggers on a tour of 'Naughty London', led by Charlotte of Best LDN Walks. We wandered around Borough and bits of the South Bank, learnt where the word 'hangover' came from, and ate a lot of excellent Ginger Pig sausage rolls. And, alongside the charming Charlotte, it was a pleasure to meet fellow bloggers Ocean, Katy, Haydn, Becky, Suze, Lisa and Erica. Nice to meet you all, ladies!
7. The kind folks at Foto Ruta also invited me along to experience their unique form of city exploration. Foto Ruta run photography walks and clue hunt events across London, and I was invited to take part in a clue hunt around Shoreditch. From iPhone-users to pro-photographers, we were all welcomed and given a crash course on street photography before being let loose in small groups to snap a range of photos in response to eight key prompts or 'clues'. We wrapped up the event with wine and a slideshow of everyone's photos. And I was pretty impressed at our collective efforts, which you can check out for yourself here. (I'll be writing up my Foto Ruta experience fully shortly....stay tuned!)
8. When not out and about gathering blogging material I've been working away on the back-end of my blog, and various other writing projects this month. I've set up camp in numerous local coffee shops, but the British Library has also provided me with plenty of desk-space and inspiration too. (Ok yes, and I still love their cafe...!) Somewhat disconcertingly though, the last time I was in there the fire alarm went off and the whole library had to be evacuated. Only when you're all forced out onto the courtyard in front of the library itself, blinking in the bright sunshine, do you get a sense of just how many other people are in there with you, working away on their various projects in all the different reading rooms.
9. Oh, and it rained. A lot. Those are wellies and thick woolly socks. In August for heavens sake!
And with that, autumn arrived.