“Neeno, neeno” Lakshmi trilled. It’s coming up to eleven at night and she should have been fast asleep by now. We are on our way home after a very long day in Croydon. Lakshmi has been playing with Micah’s toy ambulance, fire engine and other rescue vehicles all day and she is still buzzing. We have had a very busy day and even busier weekend.
It started with a visit to Hyde park yesterday to see the newly and temporarily installed ‘Mastaba’. A floating artwork which is 20 metres high and made up of over 7000 empty colourful oil barrels. We got off at South Kensington station and walked the pedestrianised road past the Natural History museum, Imperial College, Murali’s old student haunts and the Science museum before reaching Hyde park. With the sun shining, the temperature in the low twenties and the gentle breeze, the stroll should have been pleasant, if it wasn’t for Lakshmi insisting that I carried her all the way. As we reached the lake, we could see the sculpture in the distance. Ducks with their ducklings and Swans were swimming blissfully in the clear shallow waters near the bank. It was a perfect day for having a picnic, reading your book, walking the dog, swimming in the lake, going for a boat ride or meeting up with friends, which was what most people were doing.
We crossed the bridge and walked along the lake to see the sculpture at close range and then slowly continued along the path to Marble Arch. The horses from the Hyde park stables were out for a walk. The wind swept up the dust from their sandy walking path over us as they trotted past. A quick lebanese lunch was all that we had time for before making our way home.
Kavitha had arranged a surprise party for her dad in a restaurant with beautiful riverside views. She hired a private room in this Michelin starred restaurant which is also one of the oldest pubs in Essex dating back almost 700 years. It was indeed a surprise for him as he thought it was just us having a meal, but his family joined in. We had a wonderful evening playing games and in between, tucked into a sumptuous meal.
Sunday arrived and we were back on the train. This time to Croydon for another party with friends and family. Lakshmi likes to entertain herself when she is in a good mood. Singing songs, acting along to them, doing her dance routines and miming her favourite TV personality, Mr Tumble, who teaches sign language. As she carried on doing her one child talent show I could see her getting secret smiles from the other occupants in the train carriage.
In the evening as the heat became less intense we made a visit to the Lavender farm. Acres and acres of lavender covered the grounds giving the whole area a purple hue. The blooms are not fully out yet and the colour will only reach it’s maximum intensity in the coming month. Even so it was a pretty sight. Some visitors came all made up to the hilt and in their finery ready to pose for the photos.
It was late when we started our return journey. I was hoping that Lakshmi would fall asleep on the way home but there was no such luck. She continued her songs and mimes as we made our way home. The other day she gave me a hug and asked me “are we friends, ammamma?” Then she asked “I like you ammamma, do you like me?” tightening her hug or ‘cwtch’ as her dad would say in Welsh. How can you get annoyed with someone like this. My friend for life.