Friday, June 1, 2012


I walked downstairs this morning--as I have done every morning here--and looked out from the big windows in the stairwell over the rooftops.  London, like me,  is not quite awake at 6:30 when I make my way to the Starbucks next door for my grande cappuccino with two extra shots.  Westbury's picnic tables are leaned up against the wall.  The Tesco is getting its deliveries and commuters running to their double decker buses dodge piles of yesterday's rubbish.  It is our last morning here. As soon as Greta wakes up we'll start packing for Paris.

Friday May 25, Victoria & Albert

Princess Di's Memorial Fountain.  Best Memorial Ever.  
The ones in Westminster Abbey are great and all, but how much better to give joy to so many on a hot day.  And it was very hot.  Although, we did not swim in The Serpentine (where Olympic triathletes will swim) as we had planned, but settled for the fountain.

Clem grew an extra leg!

Saturday May 26: Mudlarking on the Thames
Wow, the Thames is full of junk--er, treasures!--from horse bones to medieval pottery to 19th century pipes to stone age tools.

The Tate Modern

After our walk on Hadrian's wall we could better understand this work in sheep excrement.  
There's just so much of it--it ought to be good for something.

The best part of the Tate Modern was that Mike joined us there!

A jog by St. Paul's Cathedral.

Sunday May 27 London Walk
Taking this tour was a mistake.  The guide was great, but we ran into a 10K and streets were closed, we couldn't see the changing of the guard.  And the city is in the throes of preparing for the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics.  Lots of things are closed up, under construction, or surrounded by stages or bleachers.

Clem is just a lump of sugar.  At least the horse thought so.

Trafalgar Square

These "Walkable London" maps saved us over and over!  There is a walking campaign on to encourage people to walk instead of taking transport during the Olympics.
And walk we did.  And walk and walk.  Hadrian's Wall was good prep for London.

Greta still has energy for hopscotch at the end of this day.
Sunset from our place.

Monday May 28  Dover Castle
It was going to be even hotter, so we decided to head for the coast.

They're not sleeping.  This is their sign that they want me to read more James Herriot.

Dover Castle was strategically important from when it was built in 12th century through the cold war when it was one of several sites that were to be a seat of government in the event of a nuclear war.

We toured the secret WWII tunnels.

And the medieval tunnels.
Evelyn stirring the stew in the kitchen.
It was set up as if it were Henry II's time, when he had it done up as a guesthouse for those making pilgrimages to Canterbury to view the relics of Thomas Beckett , whom he'd had killed.  It was a kind of penance.
From the tower.

Pharos.  A Roman lighthouse.  Clem rolled her eyes and said, "Ugh.  Restored."
Yes, restored.  In the 1400s.

We climbed to the outer walls and looked out.  The fog had cleared and the white cliffs of France were visible across the channel.  We were so close, in fact, that my phone sent me a "Welcome to France!" message and moved its clock ahead an hour.

Mike joked with some tourists from Yorkshire that we were looking forward to going back to California where it wasn't so hot.

And now Mike is calling for us to pack and get out of here so that we can visit the British Museum one more time before we head to Paris.


  1. This is a lot of eye candy for me. I've just bought a bunch of British flags and am placing them around, so I will think I am there and celebrating the Diamond Jubilee. I told my girls about mudlarking, and suddenly they are really enthusiastic about London. And here's a coincidence -- you and my brother are in Paris AT THE SAME TIME. It's too much. :)

  2. Jennifer, my folks are going to the Diamond Jubilee today. Is Tim really in Paris! C'est chouette!