Sunday morning saw us both waking up feeling a lot better than we had the day before - but then a good couple of hours sleep will do that for you.
It also does wonders for your libido (as does a horny pup, its limpet lips and waggy-tail)...
It was late morning by the time we finally dragged ourselves out of bed; we probably should have started packing, but our exertions had made us both hungry, and so we decided to leather up and head out for the morning instead.
We made a stop in Shoreditch first, so that Sir could visit His rubber-tailor. The guy has been designing a new rubber bike-suit to replace Sir's set from HOST (which is slowly self-destructing), and Sir had promised to leave him the old set to look at as a comparison. He had an amazing little studio flat and workshop in a yard on the edge of the Boundary Estate - filled with off-cuts of rubber and random designs for ball-gowns and theatre costumes - and the pup had a really enjoyable time nosing through his scrapbook of ideas. If he does as good a job of Sir's new suit as the plans suggest, then I just might have to get him to design something for me too...
Chores done, we then wandered around Arnold Circus. The estate and circus where one of the first Council housing estates in the UK, built at the turn of the 19th century to replace the terrible slums in the area. It's an amazing place, with beautiful red-brick tenement buildings, narrow streets and curious yards - all centred on a conical park with a band-stand at its peak. Best of all, the housing still seems to be social housing, and to have avoided gentrification and redevelopment. The local community were having a street-fair on the day we were there, and so we were able to wander the streets without traffic to disturb us - enjoying the music and the carnival atmosphere and noting the little touches they had made (such as a bubble fountain filling the street with rainbows, and a set of bunting outside the community laundrette made from old unmatched socks).
From the Circus we wandered down into Bethnal Green - looking for somewhere to stop for lunch.
We finally decided on an amazing little cafe at the end of Swanfield Street, just as it started to rain. The food was an incredible mix of Mediterranean and green salads, warmed quiches and halloumi pastries - served at long bench-tables and lit by chandeliers. The place was incredibly popular, but we managed to squeeze onto a bench end, next to a fascinating bohemian trio who were discussing recent art exhibitions. They kindly shuffled up to let us take a seat, and were very welcoming: commenting on the doggy-ears on my helmet, and then being very complementary about both my collar and my self-penned puppy t-shirt. Then one of them spotted my tattoos, and Sir had to indulgently listen as His pup waxed lyrical in advertising Jo's amazing work...
Finally the rain stopped, and so we took a stroll down Brick Lane - which is an amazingly diverse mix of street markets and fashion boutiques, exclusive art spaces and bars - like an unspoilt Camden Market before all the tourists and commercialisation.
We wandered in and out of a few shops, bought a very fine leather cow-boy hat for the dog, and ended up at the 'Boiler house' food hall at the old Truman's brick factory - stealing little tasters of the amazing range of food from the dizzying diversity of cultures on display, and making a promise to return for a proper nosh on our next visit up to the capital.
As we wandered back to the bike, the dog also treated my Man to one final ice cream - then it was back to the hotel and the long avoided job of packing.
At least, that was the plan; but then Sir commented that He hadn't had a chance to wear His new rubber wrestle-singlet and waders, and so the dog asked Him to wear it so that it could see what it looked like. The sight of my Man in tight shining latex got the pup far too interested of course, which then meant a return of the dreaded licky doggy-tongue and a pair of limpet lips - and finally a horny little dog humping its Mans wadered legs...
But we finally managed to pack everything away, and to load the car - and then it was a return game of 'dog and hare' down the M5 - with both of us grinning and filled with amazing memories of an incredible weekend...
Pride London, 2012
Thursday: mule-train and arrival
Friday: Acton and play-time at the Hoist
Sunday: Shoreditch and home