Tag Archives: Kingston

The Three-Picnic Day

10 Jul P1030845

Today is Mike’s last day before he starts work. We marked the occasion with some serious lounging, punctuated by novel-reading, a trip to our first regatta, and multiple picnics.

Picnic One was served at our kitchen table, so I suppose you could say that this was technically not a picnic. It was all fresh from yesterday’s trip to the market, though, so I say it counts.

Chopped radishes, one of my favorite things ...

Served with toasted handmade English muffins, fresh French sea-salted butter, coffee and, naturally, a side of digital interface.

At Mike’s suggestion (picked up from The Londonist’s invaluable “Cheap London”), we took the tube to Waterloo station, where we hopped on the National Rail to get to Kingston-Upon-Thames for the Kingston Amateur Regatta.

Kingston is a southwestern suburb (officially a Royal Borough) of London. Though well outside of the bustle of the city, I noticed it was still very densely built-up, at least around the rail station and the lovely Thames waterfront park. With the quick and simple rail commute to central London (maybe 30 minutes to Waterloo), I would guess it’s very easy to live in Kingston and work in London, even without a car.

(To get a sense of the National Rail network connectivity, check out this great map that Mike found, which overlays the National Rail with the tube.)

Just before we left home, we discovered Food Hall, a real gem of a gourmet food shop, just steps from our apartment. We combined a few our Borough Market spoils (cheese and Turkish olives) with some new produce, fresh-baked bread and beer for a truly indulgent picnic spread:

Avocado, tomatoes, soft-boiled eggs, cheese, baguette, olives, a fig and two ripe nectarines.

The amateur regatta, it turns out, was a very professionally executed middle-school sporting event, featuring mainly first-time rowers. Still, the races were generally close, and very exciting. It crossed my mind that my mom might have enjoyed certain rites of parental passage (ie, 4-hour dance recitals) if open container laws in the US were more like what they are in the UK.

We loafed around a little more, read and sipped some coffee, and then hopped the train back home. I shook off the day’s laziness with some yoga in our apartment, and then we headed out in search of dinner.

We settled on Thai carryout, spread out picnic-style in Hoxton Square at dusk and washed down with a few sips of wine from our Borough Wines refillable bottle.

Tomorrow, Mike will get up for work at 6 and I’m going to start putting myself back on a (somewhat) more disciplined schedule. We’re also looking forward to visits this week with three dear friends who happen to be passing through town … Nathan and Talia from Seattle, and Allison from San Francisco. We can’t wait to see you guys!


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