Weekend in London
Friday morning I was all in a rush to get Andy to school so that I could get everything ready for a long weekend in
London. Allan was already there for work so all we had to do was hop on a plane and meet him.

After dropping Andy off at his class I waited outside another classroom because I wanted to talk to someone. As I was standing there waiting for her it felt like one boot heel was shorter than the other. Thinking that the heel sole had come off I looked down. That wasn’t the problem. I had on one black boot with a round toe and a stacked heel and one brown boot with a wedge heel and a pointy toe. What a great beginning of the day! Rather than trying to hide it I pointed it out to everyone standing around and gave a little smile and shrug.

Fueled with three cups of coffee I rushed around to the gym, showered and did some housework. I looked up at the clock and it was already time to pick Andy up! But I couldn’t find my car keys. Go figure. I always keep an extra set in my bag so I just used those.

There was a Chinese group in front of me checking in. Evidently the Chinese have no idea how to wait in line. The flight was pretty uneventful until the landing. As we approached London City airport a storm front was rolling in. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a white knuckle landing before. A lady behind us would scream, ‘Oh!’ Every time we’d hit one of those little stomach lurking air pockets. When leaving the airport I slung my handbag over my shoulder and it fell to the floor. The strap had broken. Oh goodie! I get to go shopping for a new one!

It poured rain as Andy and I made out way to the Shell building outside Waterloo station. I kept calling Allan on my mobile but I didn’t see hide nor hair of the distinctive yellow scallop shell logo. Finally Al just came and we walked to the hotel. The walk would have been stunning if it hadn’t been raining so hard or if we were properly dressed for wet weather.

We made a brief stop and then turned around to catch a taxi to our friend’s house. They have a little boy so Andy had a friend to play with. We caught up over pizza and some very nice red wine. The boys hit it off immediately.

We stayed over night with our friends. In the morning we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of bagels with cream cheese, washed down with gallons of lovely hot tea.

Saturday found us at the London Dungeon. Andy adores Halloween and all things ghoulish. I wonder what the plague victims would think of their misery being turned into a tourist attraction? The first exhibits were cheesy/funny but the end is a bit of a downer with gory details of Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd. The actors at each station really liked to pick on some mouthy boys standing in the front. Thank goodness our little jewel was not among them.

I burnt my tongue on some ‘white’ (with milk) tea and then…

We walked to the giant Ferris wheel (the “Eye”) built to celebrate the turn of the century. The lines were very long but Andy insisted. Everything seemed mind boggling expensive. So while Al & Andy waited patiently I went to look for an ATM. I found one but the software ‘hung’ and kept my card. I called the phone number on the machine with my mobile and the lady said it would time out after 5-20 minutes and I’d get my card back. Let me tell you that was a tense wait!

We had plenty of time so we made out way over to Waterloo station where Andy devoured and entire McMenu. Notice I didn’t say a Happy Meal. He ate an entire adult meal which didn’t leave much for mom & dad to pick at.

It was a beautiful clear day and the people watching was terrific! I saw staggeringly attractive people and fantastically unattractive people. I thought, ‘thank goodness the skinny jean fad is NOT catching on.’ Finally, at dusk we boarded our capsule to get a bird’s eye view of London. For about half an hour we were transported in a transparent ‘bean’ up where we could see much of the city.

We stopped at St. Martin in the Field for an afternoon tea. When I got to the counter I forgot the word ‘scone’ and asked for one of those biscuity things. How embarrassing. I had my heart set on afternoon tea but the meal looked wonderful, especially the dessert of apple crumble with custard. Maybe later.

The Lion King started at 7:30. You know I didn’t have any fear of heights in the Eye but the steep seating in the theater was a bit daunting.

The music was wonderful and the animal costumes were so creative and unusual. There was a lady narrator with an incredibly big voice. Andy started to fade after the intermission but the colorful costumes and African music kept him engaged until the end.

The next morning we found an old haunt from some of our previous trips- The Stockpot where we ate an inexpensive and filling breakfast. There were a bunch of men behind us who kept ordering heaping plates of food. When we got up to leave I saw that they were street workers. I guess it’s okay. They’ll definitely work it off!

Our friends said Andy could join their son in Sunday morning soccer practice. As it was a sunny and clear morning we all enjoyed getting out in the park for a bit. Church bells were pealing as the boys started their warm up. The adults made their way over to the café for some coffee and tea.

After practice we found a local restaurant for brunch. I couldn’t pass up the apple strudel with custard. Then we rode the bus to Hamley’s toy store. I think Hamley’s on a Sunday not too long before Christmas is a bit like banging your head against a wall. It feels really good when you stop. It was very crowded but they boys did get to point out some things they wouldn’t mind Santa bringing them.

We parted from our friends after a stroll down Carnaby street. Al took us to the airport. I couldn’t bring myself to pay £3.20 for a magazine. Everything went smoothly until we were back in Holland. Andy did ask if he could got to soccer practice in London every weekend. They were working on the train lines between the airport and where we live so we had to take a detour train to get home. Not fun when you have baggage and a sleepy/tired child.

The first thing I did was tuck my zombie child into bed, then I unloaded the car and tried to wind down myself.

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