Summer hasn’t been very kind to us this year here in London. The longest day of the year has passed and the days are slowly but surely getting shorter and the nights longer. With less than 6 months until Christmas (I’m sorry to be a “negative Nancy”), there isn’t much time left to enjoy summer, or what’s left of it. Half of my summer wardrobe is yet to see the light of day this year. Back in spring I spent one whole weekend excitingly unpacking my summer clothes from winter hibernation, and I’m not ready give up on them yet!
We have all been accustomed to the unpredictability of the weather and are used to witnessing the coming of all four seasons in one day – a summer day can start with a beautiful blue sky, encouraging one to put on that white dress one purchased on sale the previous autumn. By the time we get to the office, it has turned so dark, we believe that the train must have taken a detour to “Mordor”, there simply can’t be any other explanation. Then it pours down for 10 minutes and the sun comes up, and it rains a bit more. Then by the mid-afternoon, just after one consumes all the ‘emergency’ crackers and nuts in the desk drawer stored for (excuse the pun) the rainy days, it has all dried up.
One such Friday, I happened to have a picnic planned. Not just any ordinary picnic, but a rather special picnic afternoon in Somerset House. To celebrate the “Great British Picnic” this year, Mercure Hotels hosted a free picnic day in association with National Picnic Week. It looked gloomy outside the whole day and I kept checking my phone every five minutes for weather updates. As if by some miracle, it managed to stay dry and even the sun came out for a little bit in the afternoon.
On entering the courtyard area, we were given a nice purple and pink checkered picnic blanket, which solved my dilemma of “but where are we going to sit, it’s all concrete?” There were groups of summer loving people everywhere, enjoying drinks and various food and nibbles. A stage was set up for a performance, so we quickly picked up our beautiful woven basket hamper with food and drinks prepared by Tom’s Kitchen, as well as a bottle of Mercure’s “Perfect Picnic” Prosecco, and spread ourselves at the front for the best view. We indulged on scotch eggs, salmon and cream cheese bagel, vegetarian wrap and a bag of sweet popcorn, and washed it all down with a couple of glasses of bubbly.
By that point the entertainment started and an acapella band called AfterParty took to the stage. Now, I have always been in love with the ‘Pitch Perfect’ movies. Every time I watch one, I would secretly fantasise about being able to make people faint with my singing (unfortunately I have inherited only a mild talent of this sort). So by this point, I was in awe, singing and swaying, and exclaiming, “oh my, they are fabulous!” As they finished their joyous and energetic performance, the dark clouds started to pose a threat and we just about managed to dodge the rain. Despite the lack of sunshine, it was a delightful evening.
Sadly this was a one off event, but don’t despair. If you book with Mercure Hotels until 31st August and stay in one of their UK hotels from now until 30th September – you can enjoy your very own complimentary picnic hamper anywhere you like, regardless the weather, even in your hotel room.
- For further information and bookings, visit www.mercure.com