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25 August 2015

park life.

my life is planned out meticulously, weeks in advance. my friends will often text and be like, "wanna catch up tonight?", and my standard response is a version of "nah mate, i've got stuff on; how about three tuesdays from now?" it's ridiculous, yes. do i prioritise badly? no, i don't think so. i accept offers based on the amount of notice given, because i like to know what my plans are in advance. i can't be the only person like that, surely, but it keeps my social life full, and in check.

so to have a completely free weekend in the diary, void of any plans whatsoever, is a rarity. and yet, it happens. come friday morning of this past week, that's exactly how my weekend was looking like; a blank canvas; with my flatmate away, and with my tattoo healing, i can't say i was too unhappy about that fact either. and then chloe told me about the free santander cycle hires all weekend, and in an instant, my unplanned saturday became full of ideas.

i insisted mike join me in ticking off one of my bucket list items before heading off on his spontaneous german adventure, and thankfully with the mention of burgers for lunch too good for even him to refuse, we had made a plan. i met him at bethnal green tube station around midday before heading to patty&bun by london fields to meet up with his friend gabi. i'd never been to patty&bun before, but with the smokey robinson firmly in mike's top three list of london burgers, i knew i was going to be alright.

and truth be told, it's now probably even in mine. the burger was fat. and juicy. i don't normally opt for a beef burger - with thanks to my bloody food intolerances for making red meat a bit touch-and-go for me, i'm normally a chicken burger kind of gal. not that day though, that day, i was all about the beef and bacon, and whole heartedly not the buttermilk chicken option. the smokey patty&bun mayo was all kinds of tasty, and the way that burger looked when i ripped the wrapper away from it was nothing short of sexy. thank god i'm the kind of girl who lives to eat and not someone who eats to live, because there was absolutely no easy way to eat that burger. i realised that after six napkins and a wet wipe.

with our meals devoured, it was time to say our goodbyes to gabi, and head off to find our nearest bike docking station. we strolled by the canal while our food digested, stopping for a break inside victoria park briefly because that much food needed more time that we'd considered to settle. the hottest day of the year was upon us again, and so the park was heaving with families and dogs and sunbathers, and it was nice to be able to sit in the shade and watch the revellers out on the lake - trying to paddle their way through the lake's still and stagnant water. fools! we were jealous of their fun, and given a cooler day and a properly-functioning arm, we might have joined them. next time.

eventually we found it in us to carry on with our plans, despite the ferocious heat, and made our way to a docking station outside the park. despite having downloaded the santander cycles app the night before, neither of us had thought to register or anything, and mike ended up unlocking his the old fashioned way while i stood in the shade creating my account. bikes unlocked, we were on our way!

for about ten minutes before we realised that mike's bike had a flat tyre, and the next docking station was completely full and not allowing me us to return/rehire bikes as quick as we'd like. in the early afternoon sun, i had a minor melt down and decided that maybe the hottest day of the year wasn't the most ideal day for "getting back on the bike", so to speak. because i'd downloaded the app during one of the free weekend events, it did mean i could continue to hire bikes for free all weekend, which was an idea... i prayed for a cool change!

there are a ton of other events coming up according to the website, so that gives me hope that perhaps i will get another chance again soon. i realise i'm talking like i may never get to ride a boris bike again, despite the fact they are all over london, but i just really do never get a chance. i'm hardly going to hire one on the way to work - central london roads terrify me, and there are no docking stations near where i live so it's just not really an option for me at a weekend. i loved the idea of cycling through the park, and although walking through it for those few hours was still a lot of fun and really peaceful, there's something about seeing it from a bike - kind of flying around the paths, that seems wheelie ideal (sorry).

we walked from the park to zealand road coffee shop on roman road for some iced coffees in the "shade" before calling it a day, and heading home. last i checked the temperature at bow road it was still 30 degrees at almost five pm, and i was knackered. full, tired, and with sore feet (stupid footwear for walking or cycling, to be fair), and ready for a dark room. it was a fantastic last-minute plan in the diary, but one that certainly paid off. 

maybe i should clear my diary more often, eh; look at all the fun i'm missing!

*thanks to santander for making this afternoon possible*

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