We have recently had a Bank Holiday Weekend in Britain, which means a long weekend, as everyone gets the Monday off work (it is not just the banks that close down for the day). It was a lovely warm sunny few days (makes a change here – quite often our BH weekends perversely have torrential rain as one of their main features!), so I think everyone made the most of the wonderful weather. I spent the Monday with one of my best friends Lesley and her family, who are all very committed vegans (Lesley and her husband have 3 children, all of whom have been raised vegan from birth, which really impresses me).
We wanted to go out and do something for the day, something outdoors, since the weather was so nice. So I went with Lesley and her two daughters, Aurora, 17, and Lucy, 11, to their local open-air swimming pool near where they live in Hampton, Greater London. It’s a lovely pool, a good size, with a children’s pool too, and a green grassy area with trees bordering it, where people could sunbathe, have picnics, etc. So we had a delightful refreshing swim there under the sun. Then we went on to Hampton Court Palace, the famous historic royal residence that at one time belonged to Henry VIII. There was an open-air food festival in the grounds, which looked interesting, and we were half-thinking of visiting it. But when we got to the gate, not only did we find that the entry price was £12 each, which seemed extortionate, but looking at the programme, it seemed to be very non-vegan-friendly – no vegan food at all there, all meat and beer tents, etc.! So we decided not to bother. Lesley said she was surprised she hadn’t heard it was on in her area, and I said that for next year maybe she should consider having her own vegan food stall there, definitely something that had been overlooked! We need to get the word out there, and infiltrate as many of these “traditional” food places as possible. So we didn’t bother looking round, but it did give us food for thought (pun intended!)
We had planned to go round the famous Hampton Court Maze, which I had never been to before, but first of all we needed to stop for refuelling! (Of ourselves, not the car). We went into the café there in the Palace grounds - a nice café, but, as usually happens, no proper food there for vegans, apart from crisps, chips, etc. (they did at least serve soya milk for tea and coffee though). However, I spotted that they were also serving food at a table outside in the café garden, in the barbeque area. When we investigated, we found things we could eat: a delicious salad of couscous and vegetables, and some equally delicious vegetable kebabs, done over the BBQ, yum! So luckily we did manage to get a decent vegan meal.After that we went round the Maze, and had fun finding our way into the centre of it and out again (see picture), it wasn’t that hard!
To round the day off nicely, we then went back to Lesley’s place and watched Les Misérables on DVD, which was magnifique! (and Anne Hathaway, one of the stars of that film, is a vegan, so that makes me like the film even more!) It was altogether one of the most enjoyable and happiest days I have spent in a long time. I felt that one of the reasons for that was spending the time with close friends, who completely share my values, so much so that they feel like family to me (which is why I have put this in the Vegan Family category!)
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