To prove to him that I can organise (and to thank him for reminding me that I am a young person in London and not a Grizzly Bear in the Alaskan wilderness), a plan was hatched. It was an organisational soufflé: for it to rise successfully it required a few days to prepare the key ingredients.
Before I impart my recipe, it may help you to know that this friend is also my French tutor, so there are many French flourishes involved. If you do not enjoy a good French flourish, you may substitute this ingredient with some icing sugar.
Sarah’s London Soufflé
1 x red beret
1 x black and white scarf
1 x quantity red wool (at least 150 metres)
1 x picnic blanket
1 x pack of chalk
1 x quantity home-made food labels in French (eg. ‘a knife’ = ‘un couteau’)
1 x quantity basic picnic food, including a baguette and camembert cheese
2 x functioning mobile phones with sufficient credit
1 x desperate prayer to Vishnu that it doesn’t rain
You will need to select a fitting location to cook in. I selected Hyde Park, but feel free to adapt this to your own city or town.
1. Organise to meet in front of the Serpentine Art Gallery in Hyde Park at 1pm sharp on Saturday.
2. That morning, purchase all of your fresh food, don your red beret and scarf, pack your wool, chalk, picnic blanket and food labels. Before leaving home, drop in your prayer to Vishnu (you may have to do this the night before, also, and sprinkle more in – to taste – across the course of the day).
3. Arrive at the Gallery at midday so you have ample time to prepare. Once there, approach the Gallery staff to ask if they would mind you scrawling a small message in French on the pavement near the entrance outside. Take their advice and write the note on paper instead (even though you spent your lunch-break the day before on a cross-London chalk-hunt).
4. Get out your ball of wool and tie one end to a post near the Gallery entrance. Attach your sign that says ‘Suivre moi’ (‘Follow me’).
5. Unravel your wool, weaving it around trees, over footpaths and down hills until it runs out in a place not many people would choose for a picnic.
6. Set up your picnic blanket at this end of the string and affix your French labels to the food (eg. Le Fromage, Le Noix, L’eau, La Myrtille, Un Bol, Un Plat, etc.).
7. Send your friend a text message that says: ‘Quand vous être à le musée, chercher pour l’instructions’ (‘When you are at the gallery, look for instructions’).
8. Try to look as ‘normal’ as possible when strolling families and curious tourists notice your woollen trail and (a) stare, (b) smile, and/or (c) approach you to ask what on Earth you are doing.
10. Wait some more.
11. Worry about the other end of the string.
12. Panic when your friend sends you a message, clearly having not seen your note.
13. Reply, telling him to look for a little red clue.
14. Keep an eye on the trees in the distance until you see your perplexed friend collecting the string: weaving around trees, over footpaths and down hills.
15. As he gets closer, try to look as nonchalant as possible. Fail miserably.
16. Eat, drink, and discuss steps 1 through 15.
The rest of my plan involved seeing The X-Files movie (which, I hate to admit, disappointed me immensely), having a drink in a pub overlooking the Thames in Bermondsey, then heading to the National Theatre in Waterloo to watch Bafta nominated short films which were shown outside up on the Fly-tower.
The hibernating bear has awoken…