In which we attend another German wedding and meet Margaret Atwood

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I blinked, and August sped past in a haze of hen dos, weddings, full time and freelance magazine editing and cycling. Oh, and meeting Margaret Atwood!

In relation to my taking exercise a bit more seriously, S helped me to buy a new-to-me bike this month, a Merida 29er. He informs me I am now uber-trendy, and that he felt inadequate when cycling next to me in on the local trails! It’s been exciting to go from 5-but-4-really-as-bottom-one-never-works gears to the dizzying heights of 24, and it also means I can now climb a lot of Bristol’s killer hills which were never an option before. Combine two rides in three days with a session on the aerial hoop, though, and today finds me hobbling around like a 90 year old!

My oldest friend and bridesmaid extraordinaire Miss W had her hen do right here in Brizzle, which was ace as I could act as guide for the mostly London hens, and then just slump home on the Sunday to snooze off the excesses without the need for a queasy train journey. Her bridesmaids rented us the most amazing house in Montpelier, chock full of tchotchkes, eccentric wallpaper and exotic costumes (the owner was a former BBC costume designer and jewellery maker), so of course after only an hour in we were all looking like this.

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And then later on, this.

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There was quilt making and Pimms drinking and bowling (miraculously, I won) and karaoke and dancing and much, much merriment.

We attended our second wedding in Germany, yet again not understanding the vows, but not needing to translate that two people are so right for each other. The sun shone brightly, the fizz flowed generously, and my German vocabulary increased to include ‘zum wohl’ (the polite form of ‘cheers!’).

And to top off a busy month, with a bit more organisation this time (i.e. not finding out two days before and miraculously getting a return on the day), S and I went to see Margaret Atwood talk about her new book Maddaddam as part of the Bristol Festival of Ideas. Just like four years ago, she was witty and engaging and very interesting to listen to, but unlike four years ago, I’d actually read Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood this time around, so bought a copy of Maddaddam in excited anticipation and queued up patiently so Margaret could sign it. We even had a little chat with her about her virtual autograph machine, which S was very impressed by.

This August has been very different to last year’s: as I write this, twelve months ago me was crossing from Peru into Bolivia after three weeks exploring Inca ruins and eating ceviche. A cliché, but what a difference a year makes. In 2013, the sun is still with us but I have a feeling today is really the last day of summer; the weather is set to break tomorrow and the nights and early mornings are already feeling chilly. Time soon for brown leather boots, woolly tights, crunching leaves underfoot and the smell of distant bonfires.

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