Thursday morning we had tickets to the London Eye. My theory on this trip was to find things that the kids would love to do in London: coloring, riding a boat, eating sweet things, conquering a cathedral and riding a ferris wheel. But I have to confess that some of this I wanted to do because it didn't exist when I came in 1992 -- the London Eye was one of those things.
Despite that, I had really low expectations. I figured I'd be disappointed by it somehow. Instead I was rather bowled over for the whole half hour trip around. It's so quiet and smooth! You're up so high! You can see everything!
Even Joss took pictures. Mostly of his fingers on the lens.
The kids had a great time pointing out all the places we'd been. But if they hadn't, we didn't care because they couldn't run away!
The pod in front of us looking back up the Thames.
Joss and I and the Houses of Parliament.
The kids went back to the playground and blew off some steam while Rob and I tried to come up with a plan. Joss was a crazy man climbing around the web here.
And Sebi shared a personal milestone on this day: he finally climbed all the way to the top of one of these playground webs. Lots of our children's milestones have happened on the road: Bryce Canyon, Barcelona, Vienna and London. They need some airtime too, amid all of the sightseeing.
So here was our plan: we use Alternate Modes of Transportation (a McFarland family traveling tip) to go downriver and hit our next location --
Borough Market. John and Clarissa had raved about this place from their trip here a month ago. When they told us about it, we thought we'd never get here, but it was a Thursday when it is open, and we happened to be in the neighborhood looking for lunch so we checked it out.
I think John described it as "a palace of awesomeness, turkish delight and meat pies" and he didn't lead us astray. We had a sausage, a lamb burger and two kinds of curry between the six of us with nearly a dozen types of turkish delight for dessert (did you know there were so many kinds? I had no idea. I didn't know they made chocolate turkish delight either, but there you have it). Stellar food and we waddled away vowing to return.
After our Lunch of Awesomeness, we strolled off in the direction of the Tate Modern. I think we actually circled it before we finally found it, but it was worth it because Joss fell asleep again. Have I mentioned that this never happens? That he only sleeps in his dark room in his crib with his four blankets and sundry assorted stuffed animals? This was seriously perfect timing.
The whole family loved this whole room.
The kids got really into this one. It is a model of the headquarters of the Peruvian Secret Police, where files were kept and surveillance ordered and torture carried out. The model here trolls the internet looking for information on Latin American despots and then prints it out on little strips of paper. Will collected several and wants to translate them and get the word out. Whatever the word might be.
This one was a metaphor for my life: laundry, laundry everywhere and not a thing to wear.
Then we took at break at the family center. These guys play video games and answer questions about artists. The person with the highest score gets to choose the next artist -- outrageously awesome.
Here Will is trying to squirt the paint onto the canvas a la Pollock.
Maddie was taking pop quizzes on pop art.
Joss was mercifully and miraculously sleeping through everything. We tried to find him a quiet corner when we could.
Here Sebi is coming face to face with a real Jackson Pollock. This is one of the artists that the first graders studied and imitated this year. Rob and I really wanted to see this museum (among a dozen or so . . .) and we were prepared to force this one through the family legislative process. We were so happily surprised to find that the kids were just as interested as we were! I pointed out a huge photo to Will and asked him who it was. "Andy Warhol, mom. He painted Marilyn Monroe and I did a painting like him of Obama." Knock me over with a feather.
Joss woke up in the elevator as we were leaving. He said "My eyes just went PING!" and made everyone laugh. So we let him run up and down the ramp in the base of the turbine room about twenty-leven times.
Super Joss in his blue binkit, ready to save the world.
We walked across the Millenium Bridge and saw your next street performer:
He'll be along soon, no doubt. At that point all three boys were clamoring to go home. We walked to the tube stop where Rob ran into an acquaintance from the English department, in London on a research trip. What are the chances?! Anyway, we got dinner and bought a variety of Mr. Kipling's tasty teatime treats and headed home to crash and pack.
Once they had dropped us off at the underground, Rob and Maddie got dinner and Maddie fell in love with her egg & cress sandwich (who would have guessed?). They headed back across the Thames to get these 'seats' at the Globe theatre:Groundlings. They stood right here through All's Well That Ends Well and rested their arms on the stage, moving when an actors and props came too close. Rob said the acting just blew him away. Maddie wanted to give me a blow by blow account and I asked her if she could sum it up. She said "Girl loves boy. Boy doesn't love her back. Oy gevalt!"
All but one of our London students. Still smiling after a terrifically long week!
And Maddie and Rob having the ultimate literary daddy-daughter date!