Welcome to another Seasonal Digest! Reflection is an important part of life and in my effort to be self-aware and grateful, I will go through a summary of what’s been going on in my world season by season. This Seasonal Digest covers Autumn 2020 from September to November. If you want to read more Digests, click here.
Another season of Covid-19 has passed us by… what a strange time to be alive. I remember back in the Spring when everyone thought the lockdown would just be for a month or so… and then in the summer people said that things would be back to normal by Autumn. Well, at risk of stating the obvious, clearly things are not back to ‘normal’. Autumn is when many of us felt what has been called fatigue, meaning that people are sick and tired. And I get that. I really do. Nonetheless, we all need to stay strong and persevere.
Here in London, stricter restrictions had not been put back in place until the November lockdown. This meant that September and October looked weirdly normal in many parts of the UK. Of course, now, we’re back in lockdown as I write this at the end of December, but Victor and I did venture out and do some activities earlier in Autumn.
During the first weekend of September, Victor and I went on a day trip with our friend, Ioana. We took one hour and 30 min train from King’s Cross onto Margate, a lovely seaside town to the east of London. Margate had been on my day trip list for a few years, so I was very excited to finally make my way over there. Margate is well known to visitors, both domestic and international, and has been that way since the 18th century. It was a popular destination because of its sandy beaches and the Dreamland amusement park. Margate became the perfect seaside resort town, rivalling Brighton to the south.
Due to it being Covid-times, we were slightly limited as to what attractions we could visit. The biggest issue was that most things were completely booked due to capacity constraints (thank you, social distancing). Nonetheless, we were so lucky to have fantastic weather. We spent the first couple hours wandering around the town, and then we had the most excellent fish and chips from Peter’s Fish Factory. I mean, when you look up fish and chips in Margate Peter’s is likely the first result, but it is so worth the hype.
Afterwards, we needed to walk off lunch. We did the coastal walk from Margate to Ramsgate, which I highly recommend. It’s a glorious path with fantastic views.
In terms of normal, work-life, I did experience some changes. I had been away from my regular place of work from March to August because I was on secondment as part of my training to become a solicitor. On 8 September, I started back at my usual workplace which was a bit strange as I was joining back remotely!
But it wasn’t too long before we had an itch to go adventuring again. To celebrate Victor’s birthday, we took a long weekend trip to Norfolk. A blog post is definitely in the works, but I can at least say that I was so impressed by this beautiful corner of England. It has an unspoiled coastline, sandy beaches, forests, nature reserves, market towns, seafood… so much good stuff!
Back in London, we made a day trip out of visiting Greenwich. We rented a Zipcar and parked near Greenwich Park. We walked through the park to enjoy the fall foliage.
We also visited the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College. Last time I was in Greenwich, the hall was closed for refurbishment so I was excited to now see the result. It is truly amazing — no wonder it’s considered Britain’s Sistine Chapel.
October was here before we knew it and I was eager to get in some more stereotypical, autumnal activities, so we went pumpkin picking! It was actually quite complicated to find a place due to the capacity restrictions. Nevertheless, we did find a place and it ended up being the same farm we visited last year, Foxes Farm. We had a great time and also got so many great pumpkins.
On 12 October, Boris Johnson introduced the three-tier national system to replace any local regulations. London was quickly placed into Tier 2, which at the time essentially meant that you couldn’t meet with anyone outside your household indoors and if you met with anyone outside, this was limited to 6. Honestly, this did not affect my day to day very much as I was not meeting anyone indoors anyway.
But, it also did not matter for me because I made the anxiety-ridden decision to fly to the US to visit my family and go to my best friend’s wedding during this time. After weeks and weeks of research and overthinking, I finally decided to go. I was worried I was not going to have another chance to see my family. I was also very sad at the thought of missing the wedding. In the event, I’m so glad I went because here I am now in December unable to see my family. It was great being back in Virginia to enjoy fall.
And needless to say, the wedding was lovely and I’m so happy I could be there. I had a great time, even though my partner was missing in action due to the ban for non-Americans to travel to the US from Europe. Nonetheless, my best friend looked so beautiful and happy on this very special day.
I arrived back to London on 31 October ready for a 14-day quarantine. It was long and tedious as I was not allowed outside during that period. But, on 5 November, England went into lockdown again so I really wasn’t in that much of a different situation than everyone else (unfortunately).
Due to the lockdown, my birthday weekend was a bit different this year but it was my turn for a lockdown birthday anyway! I had the Monday and Tuesday off, and Victor took off my birthday, and so we took full advantage of the time. On Saturday we had pancakes at home (my fave) and then headed over to Violet for a mini-vanilla cupcake.
On Sunday we walked around London Fields park and then Columbia Road where I got my “birthday cake” from Lily Vanilli, another East London Bakery. They do fantastical cakes, which for me are really only reserved for special occasions. You can read more about both Violet and Lily Vanilli in my bakeries blog post.
On Monday, I just relaxed at home and we had a cheese night for dinner. Finally, on my actual birthday, we did a London walk around Bloomsbury, taken from a book I bought last year called Rebel Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Radical History. It was a lot of fun and I certainly learned a lot. We also grabbed lunch from BAO, a favourite Taiwanese-Esque place of ours.
And of course, I couldn’t round off Autumn without celebrating Thanksgiving. Though we were not able to invite anyone over this year, Victor and I did prepare a lovely spread. We also brought lots of leftovers to our friend and her mom to enjoy.
Autumn is typically my favourite season of the year, and luckily I was still able to enjoy many of my favourite activities (which mostly consist of being outside).
Let’s see if my seasonal digest for Winter 2020/2021 will look a little different or more of the same!