Alexander Palace, London

The plastic swan-peddle boats floated in a group of what looked to have been loud colours back in their hey-day, though they were now brutally faded. They swungย round and round the island in the middle of that lake from the gentle wind. There was another couple laying their heads on each other’s shoulders as they sat mesmerised by the light changes on the softly moving water, the sun dipping beneath the hill that Alexander Palace stood upon.

“I came here last New Year’s,” he was telling me, looking beyond the swan’s heads now and to the structure and the park stretching out in front of it. “We Boris biked from Primrose Hill after midnight ahhh it was perfect. I’ve gotta show you the track, come on!”

We huffed up the hill, retreating a little to wait for the security to finish his round, as when we had tried to park there a few moments before, we had been told there was a private function and so we couldn’t go up to the Palace.

Nevertheless, we pursued our adventure, somehow ending up on a terrace overlooking the skyline of London. Tens of formally-dressed businesspeople eating dinner for a function were fenced off with a velvet rope; they eyed us as we took up a perch on the ledge to watch London, not caring that we clearly were not welcome (although in our defence, we were a good metre or so from the function!).

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Eventually, the stares at our backs got a little uncomfortable, and we moved on, chasing each other down the hill and into the forest, our path no longer quite so well-worn. In fact, we were climbing over logs, vines obscuring our view. I was in the lead, clambering around sticks and fallen trees, praying there would be no sudden spider surprise. As we explored, I picked a few flowers (Caroline Calloway style) for my hair, and dropped a couple leaves on him just for fun.

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The “path” led us back out to the clearing, and we sat, puffed, with Alexander Palace perched on its pedestal, now only a silhouette as the sun was truly on its way to bed xx

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