My summer vacation…

Well it’s been nearly a month since my last post, and quite a lot has happened in my world in that time.

For example, I watched England get knocked out of Euro 2004 by Portugal at the Dogstar bar in London on 24 June, which was quite depressing. At first I thought the referee was wrong in disallowing the Sol Campbell goal that would have put England through over the host nation (and I admit I may have even said “we were robbed” several times), but on seeing the replay in the cold light of the following day, I have to say that it was the right decision, and Portugal won fair and square. Basically England were a bit crap yet again, especially that overpaid waste of space David Beckham, who missed YET ANOTHER penalty!

To add insult to injury, I was staying that night with my friend Phil in Stockwell, which apparently is home to more than half the 70,000 Portugese living in London, and they weren’t shy in their celebrations!

Things improved dramatically after that, because the following day I met my friend Andrew at Gatwick airport for a 7 day vacation on the beautiful and lively Balearic island of Ibiza.

We immediately fell into a routine of driving to beautiful remote beaches in the afternoon in a convertible rental car, having drinks somewhere where you can see the sun go down over the Mediterranean (e.g. Cafe del Mar, Kumharas or Bora Bora), foraging for dinner, and then clubbing until morning. We didn’t make it to every big club on the island, but we did pretty well, visiting Eden, Pacha, Privilege, and Amnesia.

After a much-needed week of such relaxation, I returned to the UK to visit friends and family; after one night at my parents in Kent and another night in London, I rented another car and headed up to Sheffield for the final of Euro 2004, between Greece and Portugal on Sunday 27 June. Unfortunately I missed the match due to long traffic delays on the M1, and arrived to find my friend Nan and her (Greek Cypriot) boyfriend Jim celebrating Greece’s 1-0 vistory over the host nation.

The following day I met up with my two sisters Sharon and Vicki and their rapidly-expanding families for the Hunters Bar School sports day event in Endcliffe Park, where I managed to video both my nephew Rowan and my neice Madeline winning events. Nieces Jasmine and Lisa were too young to compete in the events, but did some excellent swinging on the swings in the park.

That night I had dinner with Nan before meeting up for drinks in the Lescar Hotel with friends and family, and the following day I visited school friends Anne and Sarah at their fabulous new cafe, Alfie+Bella — I even got to work the till and take customers’ orders, which was a lot of fun!

After that I jumped back in the rental car and headed down the A1 to Letchworth to visit my grandmother, who had recently moved to a nice managed care facility — she seemed very happy there, which was great.

Then it was a race against time to get the rental car back through the heavy London traffic (there was a Formula 1 event in central London causing huge delays) in time to avoid late charges, before heading back to Brixton on the tube for a final meal at the Neon restaurant on Atlantic Road with my Brixton-based friends and my out-of-context American friend Amy Stein, who just happened to have a short layover in London and came straight from Heathrow to join us.

On the next and final day of my summer vacation, Wednesday 7 July, Amy & I caught up with the elusive Dr. Lucy Norris for lunch, and then I headed to Heathrow for the long flight home — made infinitely more bearable by the fact that I was mysteriously upgraded to business class by United, despite the fact that I’d paid for the flight with frequent flyer miles.

So now I’m back in Brooklyn, settling into everyday life after an eventful, enjoyable and relaxing vacation.

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