They say that if life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. Personally, I think if someone gives you lemons as a present it’s time you got some new friends. In the mean time you should make hay whilst the sun shines, try to fit as many clichés into one paragraph as possible and, as Marie Antoinette is not often misquoted as saying, one should be allowed to eat cheese.
As I write this the rain is teaming down and giving me an excuse to further postpone the run I’ve been ‘intending’ (it’s a political ‘aspiration’, and thus probably suitably doomed) on going for all weekend [EDIT: I actually went for that run, perhaps political office beckons; or am I too good at fulfilling my aspirations?]. It hasn’t been like this all weekend though, on Saturday it was beautifully sunny and actually quite warm. In a bid to do something exciting with the day I went over to my good friend Carley’s for lunch and to go on a little adventure.
It just so happens that Carley and I share a passion for food. In this case it was cheese and wine (you can see why we’re friends), and so we hatched a (very cunning) plan. We decided to go for an adventure – a slightly different adventure from last weekend’s Pentlands jaunt – in the sunshine. Armed with a couple of glasses, a knife (not the offensive weapon kind), some imagination, a bottle of wine and the knowledge of where the nearest cheesemonger was we set off.
With a piece of brie, aged comté, cashel blue and a pack of oatcakes we left Mellis’ (in Stockbridge) and headed off down the road. We’d decided to be slightly naughty and have a picnic in the Botanic Gardens, not sure whether or not you’re allowed to do such things – we suspect the ‘or not’ option – but it seemed like the appropriate thing to do with the afternoon and no one told us we couldn’t (which obviously makes it totally legit).
The sun was still beating down when we chose a spot in the rock garden and there we lay for the next hour and a half nibbling on morsels of cheese and sipping slowly; with various parents occasionally wandering passed giving us the “Damn you, that was us five years ago” look whilst their progeny merrily ran along, tripped, landed on their face and started crying. In fact, we lay there for so long that by the time we were ready to move there was no time to see the rest of the gardens…
We’d chosen our cheeses wisely, with the saltiness of the blue, the creaminess of the brie and the nuttiness of the comté balancing each other out nicely; with the wine making a pleasant cheese tasting into a blissful afternoon nibbling and imbibing ourselves into oblivion.
In retrospect it’s hardly surprising that I missed the bus I needed to get home in time for dinner, but we had a quick G&T to console ourselves and I caught the next one (by which time I had a severe case of the hiccups).
All in all it was an excellent way to pass the afternoon away — even if it means another trip to the botanic to actually look at the plants (such a hardship…) — and pretend that it’s almost summer. And better still tomorrow (Monday) is a bank holiday! Well, for some – once again I shall be sitting in the office, although judging by the weather forecast that might not be such a bad thing…