With a bit of time to kill we admire the park beside the old St Leonard C of E church fronting Hackney Road. What a gorgeous London Spring Sunday it is, with all the cherry trees and Manchurian Pears at their blooming peak.
It is such a thrill to meet up with Joel - all the way from Seoul - here at our meeting point on Columbia Road - on his birthday - at 10.30 in the morning - unbelievable!
We braved the crowds at the Columbia Road flower markets and enjoyed the East End barrow boys' banter as much as the gorgeous blooms. This shot was taken for me by Al J Zees' best cameraman (as well as considerable technical advantages, he also had the height advantage).
Without too many false turns we found our way eventually to the beautiful Victoria Park, Hackney....
..taking time to admire the canal boats moored beneath the bridge at the entrance to the park.....
..while Joel tried to show me how to do panorama shots with my iPhone (except mine is too old to know how!)
From Victoria Park it was only a few minutes to Davey and Cath's local - The Lauriston. In no time at all we'd INVADED the place - so many family members all gathered in the one place...in London....such a thrill!
Little Eddie is totally at ease in a social setting. His Australian cousins (MY Angus and Ollie) were very useful in helping him play Connect 4 very calmly at a table while the adults did lots of hugging and squealing (delightedly) together.
It took Papa no time at all to teach him how to spin those counters too!
Davey and Cath look so well and so happy - all set for an amazing week before the BIG day.
I counted 17 of us all up...we virtually took over The Lauriston for about four hours..the little kids coped well with all the static socialising, with time for drawing, puzzles, a short time out at the nearby park and lots of pizza for lunch.
...while we found lots to laugh about..being together feels so good.
These two wonderful women are the MOTB and the MIL-OTB. They have both had the challenge of working out the right wedding footwear for riding on a tractor.
Mal and Pat were able to join us after lunch, which really rounded the party out. They'd come all the way down from Cheshire for the afternoon (and bearing gifts!) just to make sure all the Australian family felt welcome. It was such a special thing for them to do. For many members of the family it was the first time they'd met Mal and Pat...We'd been lucky enough to meet them two years ago and been able to keep in email, sharing photos, contact ever since.
Eddie had a long sleep in amongst all the noise and mayhem. When he woke up he felt like a dance - especially when a good old Jimi Hendrix was playing.
It was after 4.00pm when we finally left and The Lauriston could settle down again to a quiet finish to their Sunday trading. We paid a little visit to Davey and Cath's flat and then walked all the way back to Islington along the canal.
By now it was quite cold - but it was still an interesting walk seeing life on the canal boats up closea. At one stage we were lucky enough to see two boats using the lock system to pass from one level of the canal to another - fascinating; never seen that before!