• Snow in London (or Pee in the Abbey)

    Monday, February 2, 2009

    I wonder can you hear the chatter of my teeth? We have made a bit of an impromptu trip up from Africa to chilly London. We were running low on some supplies and thought we would head to the nearest supermarket. Just joking. I needed a good cup of strong tea and Roger needed some history and the girls wanted snow. This trip to London is giving us a bit more time to explore this amazing city.

    The first destination on our list was to hear the choir at Westminster Abbey. They have a service every evening at the Abbey. Here the choir sings perfectly situated with the dramatic historical Abbey walls as the backdrop. As the first few moments of the service took place, Roger and I were amazed at the beauty of the songs. It was the most beautiful music we had ever heard. Pulling me back from the magic of the music was Marion tugging at my arm. She needed to pee. I whispered “there is nowhere to pee!” “But I have to!” Blast, now what do I do? There are no bathrooms in the Abbey! Marion is obviously wiggling in the front row, which is very distracting as we are in a very serene setting. With every second Marion becomes more wiggly and I become more panicky. We are standing now for the procession of the head clergy priest, regally walking down the isle to the front of the church. We are at the very front where at this moment every eye is turned to our seats and in the silence and reverence of the moment I (and most of the church) hear a pitter-patter. There, at the exact moment the priest pasts us, Marion has made a shining puddle of pee on the one thousand year-old marble floor of Westminster Abbey. Of course the pee is shining like the sun and I am mortified. Marion looks up at me with a face of utter relief and sheepish embarrassment. Oh the joys of parenthood!

    The following day we went to the countryside. We took the train out from London into the Cotswolds; a quaint cluster of towns only separated by farmer’s fields, meandering brooks and hedgerows. In the UK the entire countryside is open to the public, allowing you to trek wherever your feet and exploring soul leads. The ability to walk through the countryside brought about the imagination of many of our treasured story books; Brambly Hedge (lives in the hedgerows), James Harriet (story of a veterinarian in the London countryside), Kim Lewis (stories of farm living). All the illustrations and stories were brought to life for Marion (and me). My most ideal afternoon would be one where nature and time for my imagination to explore come together. In the Cotswolds this marriage easily transpires. Oh what a breath of county air does for me! I felt a bit like Marianne from Jane Austin’s Pride and Predjust(oops sorry, Sense and Sensability, I have to many Jane Austin books running around in my head while in London!), ever dragging her younger sister onwards up another hill and down another enticing trail. In my case it was my girls, who by the time we finally turned back to the town could not feel their nose or toes. Marion was shaking like a tropical leaf! A teahouse greeted us with warmth and perfectly brewed tea.

    Today has been so very cold we headed indoors to (apparently) the worlds finest toy store. Six floors people! The girls were thrilled. Davina loved the Thomas Tank engine toys and Marion played the whole time with a life size toy pony. I am glad my kids like playing with toys of substance...instead of those awful ‘Bratz dolls’, could you imagine letting your little ladies play with a toy called Bratz?

    Tomorrow if the snow continues to fall we will cross the road and build a snowman in Hyde Park. Our week might allow us to visit the Lake District, take a spot of tea on Beatrice Potter’s farm. Maybe even a visit to the collegethat my favourite educational philosopher Charlotte Mason started. Or should we go to Oxford? Cambridge? Maybe Stratford-upon-Avon? We will have to see if we are brave enough to face the cold!

    The Next Day

    Snow did arrive last night. Apparently more then London has seen in eighteen years!
    We hunted in the morning for appropriate winter clothing. Then played the morning away making snowman and snow angels. Marion’s Canadian spirit was kindled and delighted while Davina was very uncertain, she has never seen snow. I loved the look of my little girl’s cheeks rosy and cold. We did enjoy our taste of winter. Of course London is not use to coping with this amount of snow. The airports have been closed all day so our flight have been bumped to later this week…no complaints from me…keep the snow coming!

    Snow at Hyde Park.

    Snow Angels.

    Snowman building.

    Marion hugging her snow.

    Reading our new Kim Lewis book on the train back to London.

    Which quickly turns funny.


    Cotswold countryside.

    Walking in the country.

    Only in the Cotswolds.

    In the town.

    Tea house.

    Marion and Davina persuaed us with much drama to buy this make-up kit! And so our lives are changed forever...

    A veiw from the eye.

    Waiting for the tube train.