Like a true Brit, I’m going to begin with the weather.
This summer has been underwhelming here in the UK. As I write this, it is 13 degrees (55F). It’s July 1st. Last year on July 1st we had record high temperatures in London. I distinctly recall sweating through multiple outfits, the back of my legs sticking to my chair, and ending the day at a pub, thirstily gulping lemonade as it sweat down the glass. This year, I’m wearing a sweater. I have yet to wear my summer clothes.
Weather rant over.
We published our London Summer Bucket List in May, to provide some structure around the summer and to ensure that we squeeze all of the fun out of our precious remaining months as Londoners. I’m a huge fan of planning to have fun. Without making an effort to book those tickets, make those reservations, and email friends to join us, we’re likely to spend night after night at home on our couch.
It’s not a particularly spontaneous approach to fun, but it completely works.
So, here we are, one month in, and progress on the bucket list is chugging along. Here’s what we’ve completed so far and our upcoming plans.
We hope to visit 17 restaurants this summer (a mix of new-to-us and old favorites). That’s a lot, even for a couple of enthusiastic eaters like us. We need to average about 1.3 per week in order to get to all of them by the end of August. Thus far, we’ve been to four restaurants on the bucket list: Typing Room, Berber & Q, Morito and Jose. These restaurants are hard to compare given their varying cuisines and formality, but we particularly enjoyed Berber & Q, particularly their cauliflower shawarma and dirty fried mejadrah. I keep sending friends there, which is always a good sign.
Bottom line on the food front, we’re making slow progress and really need to step it up in July if we are to have any hope to get to the remaining 13 restaurants in just two months. We have plans for one this weekend, but I vow today to sit down with my calendar and trusty Open Table to book one a week for the remainder of the month.
There are eleven lovely London activities gracing the Summer Bucket List, and as of today, I’ve completed two. Oops. They were so much fun actually – a West End show, Kinky Boots, with my girlfriends, and a walking tour with London Walks, also a great cultural experience.
But man, I gotta get moving on the activities as well. I have an old friend visiting next week, which is the perfect excuse to fill the evenings with activities, so based on availability and free time in July, hopefully I’ll end the month well on the way to ticking off every fantastic item on the list.
Side note, I have made some updates to the Activities on the Bucket List. I was hoping to see a film at the iconic Prince Charles Cinema, but based on their summer schedule, I’ve decided to just commit to seeing a movie at one of the fun cinemas in town. I love the Everyman Cinemas, so that might be a better choice. I’m also having trouble drumming up interest among my friends to go dance the night away at Fabric, a famed dance club in town. Drew thinks I’m crazy. We’ll see if I can work this one out. (Shout out to my crazy party sister, Michelle: if you want to come and visit for a weekend so we can go to Fabric, give me a call! It’s only a 11 hour flight from San Francisco…)
The last category on the Bucket List, and the one that Drew thought up, is to visit several of London’s great cocktail bars. Of course, there are many in town, but our experience with them is pretty few and far between, given that we’re not very cool, and also cheap. We have identified four that are meant to be funky and fun, but we haven’t visited any yet. We actually made a booking at one a few weeks ago, but I thought the booking was for Saturday, and it was actually for Friday, and long story short, we missed it completely. My fault.
Despite our slow start to the London Summer Bucket List, we have had a good summer thus far. I went to visit my family in the States, we have had several visitors, Drew got to see a match at the Euros 2016 in Nice, France, and he got to visit San Sebastian as well. Phew! July finds us back at home, nearly the entire month in the UK.