Um, London? Wasn’t I telling you about London? I think we’ve been back for a few years now, and I still haven’t finished telling you about London? Way to milk it, no? Or, as it’s London we’re talking about, way to tea it, no?
Okay, Days 3 to 7 in rapid speed:
Monday was our first day sans Adam, who kept having this annoying thing called “work” get in the way of our fun. But the children and I were not to be deterred so off to the London Eye! After that, we met up with cousins at the Museum of Natural History. I have one cousin who lives full time in the London area, complete with British-born kids, and another cousin who is taking a semester abroad in London during his freshman year of college. Freshman cousin is apparently desperate for free meals as he was willing to put up with no end of humiliation from me on four evenings. (What kind of humiliation, you ask? Why, I mocked his reading choices. I critiqued his post-college plans. And, perhaps most horrifying to him, I gave him [da da dum] … the sex talk!)
Tuesday we decided to try for a less crowded view of Changing of the Guard activities. We went to the Inspection at the Wellington Barracks. Perfect! We got there five minutes early, walked right up to the fence, and had an amazing view of the fresh guards being inspected for duty with bonus that the band played lots of songs. From there, the Royal Mews.
After we headed to Kensington Park, which is completely under construction, and after much wandering in circles, we found our way to the Orangery where we had high tea. Well, Pie and I did. Doodles didn’t want it and so he just sat reading his book while Pie and I, pinkies poised, had tea sandwiches, cakes, and scones (and champers for me. It was a vacation, after all). We played at bit in the Princess Diana Memorial Playground and then met Adam for dinner and a West End show that was out of this world: Matilda. All four of us loved it and we haven’t stopped singing the songs since.
Wednesday morning we cleverly decided to go to Westminster Abbey. Where we were cleverly told we couldn’t go in until 11:30 because people were–gasp!–praying! Yes, it appears we Jewish Yanks forgot all about Ash Wednesday. So instead we walked up Whitehall, reading the relevant bits for our Rick Steves’s book and oohing and ahhing over the sites. We did a fabulous kids’ audio tour at the National Gallery. We had a pub lunch, which Doodles and I enjoyed, and Pie just whined about (“They don’t understand what chicken salad is! This isn’t chicken salad! It’s a slab of chicken with mayonnaise!”). We did a bit of shopping after lunch and then early evening we split up: Pie and Adam had dinner at the hotel, and Doodles, Freshman Cousin with a Penchant for Abuse, and I all went on a Harry Potter tour. Walking around London at night with a fabulous tour guide was terrific, even if there aren’t that many Harry Potter sites to see, although Doodles got a huge kick out of Platform 9 3/4.
Thursday morning we first hunted for the spy clues in the kids’ spy pack around the hotel. Then we had Westminster Abbey Take 2, which almost went okay. Pie was slightly whiny, though Doodles loved doing the kids’ tour, and by the time we exited both had pushed buttons and I was standing outside of Parliament yelling, “We are going to go back to the hotel RIGHT THIS INSTANT AND STAY THERE ALL AFTERNOON!” I don’t know why people say Americans are so loud and ugly.
We did get over our spat and decided to make our way to Camden Markets for a wee bit o’shopping. Pie had to buy something for everyone in her class. Doodles refused to buy anything for anyone because he didn’t want the mortal embarrassment of having to give it to them (“Fine! You can buy my teacher some tea, but I’m not giving it to him! You are!”). That evening we met up with Adam at a cocktail party at his office, where Doodles sat in the corner reading Harry Potter 6 and Pie decided to pull her tooth out in the bloodiest of ways she could. Freshman Cousin with a Penchant for Abuse met us for dinner and Adam left his wallet in a taxi. Good dinner, though. (And just after Adam canceled all his cards, the wallet was returned, and Adam was completely dependent on me to pay for the rest of the trip. Ha ha ha ha ha!)
Friday morning, Adam returned to us. He took Friday off of work and we crammed in as much as we possibly could. We went to The Monument (designed by Christopher Wren in memory of the London fire), climbed the 311 steps, only to have the kids freak out and decide they are scared of heights. From there we went to London Tower, lunch, tour of the Globe Theatre, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Harrods. Deep breath. We made it! We met the Freshman Cousin with a Penchant for Abuse and his roombuddy (as Pie called him) for a Chinese dinner, and thus ended our London trip, as in the early hours of the next morning, we headed toward Heathrow where we bought enough chocolate for our friends back home to keep them on a sugar high for a month.
Not enough for you? Here’s our trip in a seven minute video (music from the Clash, of course, and from the musical Matilda).
Whew! Done. And now back to writing the school newsletter; driving to dance, Hebrew School, Cub Scouts, hockey; preparing for the next Girl Scout meeting; planning for the synagogue seder; writing my novel; and, oh yes, planning the next vacation….