‘I only give Purple Monkey to people I love. So here.’
Isla shoved the aptly-named purple monkey in my face. This recentish favorite creature was rescued from an otherwise depressing trip a safari park, back when Pokemon Go was still a thing.
Purple Monkey follows Isla wherever she goes, every second Tuesday.
I felt quite special when Isla decided I could take PM to The Bloggers Bash.
We’d been at Dad’s for a barbecue. With no marshmallows. Made no sense, but the company was good. We decided to leave while everyone still had eyebrows.
‘Should we have a gin & lemonade before bed? Because y’know?,’ asked Neil. So, we broke out the purple bottle of gin I found on our trip to St. Andrews.
We left the house on time the next morning, heading to Inverness for our flight to London. I only brought 4 books and finished one on the journey.
We parked apparently really far away, and I’m glad our suitcase has wheels, too. We checked the bag and tagged my chair, and y’know, actually talked to each other while we waited to board.
I’d been holding the passports, and I noticed something.
‘So, you um, haven’t actually changed your name?’
‘I’ve assumed our married name, same thing.’
‘Are you my undercover husband, then?
‘Not in the airport, there’s cameras.’
The dude helping us onto the plane liked my chair. I get that a lot. My wheels are bitchin’.
I walked to our row using the backs of the other seats on the way. My butt, since having Isla, is no longer small enough to get in an airplane seat without moving the armrest. That was fun.
We arrived in London ahead of schedule and got a shuttle bus, two trains, and a swearing wife to the hotel.
‘How far is it?’
‘Just up there.’
‘I love you A LOT. But next time we get A TAXI.’
See, the suitcase with wheels on it decided to stop rolling. With Neil pushing me, I carried the suitcase on my lap. It’s all good, I lift weights. And Neil and I made wedding plans by arm-wrestling through the various options, so y’know. Delicate flower, I am not.
Still, I was SO HAPPY to see the hotel and even happier that they listened when we asked for a wet-room, and not just a shower over the bath.
We went out to explore our surroundings and get food. And probably saw more people within one block than we have in two and a bit years on Skye. We found a burger place, with actual burgers, and talked and people-watched some more. Then we went to the pub and a twenty-four hour supermarket. It’s the little things.
Now, I spent Friday morning eating Italian toast and hoping that my new business cards, that I got printed just for the event, would y’know, arrive before the event.
I ordered them on time, but the company didn’t factor in travel time to Skye, and I had to leave, on a business trip, without my business cards. When they did arrive on Skye, it really did take a village to get them down to me in London. Which I’m thankful for, because I wasn’t prepared to pay £1 a card for replacement cards in London.
But I did think about printing Isla’s face on a mug.
We went to a bookstore and I got a text from Suzie. She told me to back away from the books and meet her at some leafy gardens somewhere. The only time I am happy to leave books is on the way to meet friends, so that worked.
Now, the thing about online friends is they’re real people. With real voices that it’s really great to hear after so much screen time.
We hung out and then Suzie went off to do top-secret Bash stuff.
Neil and I had a hotel picnic of booze and Twinkies, and I was awake at 6 the next morning.
Because it felt like Christmas. Happy Bash day, people.
And my cards arrived in time for me to take a photo and post it on my Instagram before we left. Armed with business cards and Purple Monkey, we ventured out.
‘People will think Purple Monkey is my support animal.’
‘I’m your support animal, though.’
‘There is that.’
More hugs and laughter and official stuff happened.
But this post is actually about the holiday that happened after the official stuff.
After the Bash, we decided to count the cultural references in Deadpool 2. Then we took a taxi back to the hotel. I swear the driver sounded just like Dudley Moore. I didn’t mention that to him, though. Because I’m not an idiot.
The next day stretched out in front of us with nothing to do. So we went on the London Eye.
Did I mention that kissing at the top of The London Eye is on my actual bucket list? WE DID IT. Well, we kissed. And then, of course the rest of the day was ISLA WOULD LOVE THIS. WHERE IS SHE?
I bought her something penguin-related from the Aquarium gift shop, and some other kid sneezed on me. Memories are made of this.
We found a busker who sang about getting lost and found and I cried. And then we met old friends for Mexican food and margaritas, which was AWESOME.
By the time we packed up to complete the circuit of two trains, a shuttle and a plane, I was ready to go.
I bought another book for the flight home, and Isla met us at the airport.
‘Did you have a good time? Did you bring me a present? I missed you. Did you bring me a present?’
We were home.
What’s your favorite place in London? Have you ever been on the London Eye?
Join the Gin & Lemonade newsletter!
Subscribe to get a roundup of posts, a writing prompt, and other groovy stuff every week!
Also published on Medium.