Tuesday, 28 June 2011

June 14-19th

Tuesday, it was time to go to work again.  This week was a little quiet because our team was all separated.  Silvia and I are in London, Beata is in Hungry, and the consultants are all at home.  It gave me a little time to catch up on some things I had been ignoring.  My dad just has 4 days left in the UK, he goes home on Saturday, so they made a list of things he still wanted to do.  Looking at the weather, Tuesday was the best day to go back to Legoland (because of the weather).  So they all took off for that.  Since we bought season tickets, the more times they go, the better at this point. 

Wednesday the kids and my Mom and Dad went into London to the British Museum.  My Mom wisely found a scavenger hunt for kids on the internet, so the kids looked for stuff and my Dad looked at antiquities.  They all had a great time.  Then they went to a new park in London and played.  They said they made new friends.   Wednesday night, I rushed home, because of course, this night, the shuttles were late.  I ran home and then ran to catch up to my dad and Elizabeth who were walking to the church for a Girls Brigade meeting.  Elizabeth was able to go and interact with some girls there, which was pretty fun.  They played games and had a devotion and a craft.  It was a nice time.  I sat and watched though mothers usually leave.  It was too far to walk back home and walk back. 
Thursday the parents and kids went to the Imperial War Museum and Churchill War Rooms in London.  They all really liked it even the kids which I was impressed by.  It was a well-designed museum and gave the kids an idea of what it was like in London during WWII.  Thursday night my Dad took Paul and Jacob to the local Boy Scouts meeting.  They really seemed to enjoy that too.  It was similar to Boy Scouts in the US.  The troop near our house meets in an old barn about 1km from our apartment.  It is one of the strongest troops around.  The troop owns canoes and BMX bikes and it sounds like they have a lot of fun. The really enjoyed the evening.  The guys there said there is even a badge for seeing a foreign club, so we will have to check into that when we get home. 
Friday morning the kids and my parents went to Hampton Court Palace.  It was a home of Henry VIII.  They had some really nice interactive programs, where they kids got to dress up and (in their case) apply for a job at the Palace.  Elizabeth especially liked dressing up and was curtseying right away after putting on the frock.  They had someone dressed as Henry VIII and his 4th wife.  Their tour guide was the wife’s best friend who was interviewing new servants for the new household.  Everyone enjoyed their time at the palace.  I was a little jealous I couldn’t go with.
Friday night the local town, Harlington, had a “fayre” to raise money for the Harlington Hospice, a local aid organization.  It was at the Boy Scouts hall.  They kids all wanted to go, so after dinner I took them to the fayre.  My parents finished packing my Dad and went ahead and took his suitcases to the airport, so on Saturday we could go straight from our fun to the airport to save time.  It had been raining all day, and pretty cold, so we all dressed warmly and headed out.  They had a climbing wall, or rather, trees, that everyone wanted to do first.  Elizabeth, especially, was a little monkey and climbed all three routes and went back for more later.  So we were nice and wet right away (that was outside).  We played games and won prizes and spent money, and had fun.  Jacob bought some sweets, I bought some handmade gifts.  We bought punch.  We had a nice time, in spite of the rain.  When we got back my parents were just leaving to go to the airport.  They got home an hour or so later, and we had a nice week.  I would call it a week of doing things like locals. 
Saturday my dad didn’t have to leave until 6pm, so we thought if we got up and got going we could head to Oxford.  We did.  It was really interesting, we got to Oxford, it looked a little rainy.  It did sprinkle a little a bit, but it wasn’t too bad ever, and ended up clearing up nicely.  We made it to the information center, and hoped to take a tour, unfortunately, the tours for the morning were all full, and the afternoon ones would be too late to make it to make it to airport.  But we got a walking tour guide and set out on our own.  The colleges are different, they are separated from one another and they have a gate, so students live, eat, go to class within the gate.  They each have a fancy gate, and a nice courtyard.  It is a different system than we have in the US.  I thought the buildings are pretty.  The gardens and flowers were so beautiful.  We had a nice day, though it got a bit busy at the end when we were trying to make it to the Eagle and Child (where Lewis, Tolkien and their friends would meet to discuss books, philosophy, life etc. in the Rabbit Room.)  We were looking for a bathroom which when we found had a terrible line and we made in to the train station with 2 minutes to spare.  We had to go pretty fast there at the end, and we were all happy we made the train.  The train only came once an hour, if we would have made the next train, it still would have been ok, Dad would have made his flight, but this way, we rushed up front and had more than enough time at the end. 
We took Dad to the airport, had some ice cream with him and then it was time for him to leave.  We were all sad.  We went home and ate frozen pizza and watched a movie.  The apartment had a DVD player, but of course DVDs in the US have a different format than the ones in the UK, so the DVDs we brought from home don’t work.  Fortunately I was able to hook up my computer to the TV and we could watch DVDs that way.  It was a relaxing evening.
Sunday we got up and went to church.  We had figured out that we wanted to go to Cambridge on Sunday.  They had an afternoon service in the famous chapel so we wanted to make it there.  We figured out with the buses, tube, and train that we should probably leave church a little early to make it in time.  Well, this day was not the best for travel, so we had no end of  troubles, though they were all just minor and annoying.  So, we made it on the bus, tube, and to the train station.  We only had a few minutes before the train left, and the machine selling tickets wouldn’t take our credit card.  So finally we walked and got in line with a person, Mom tried different machines and finally got one to take our credit card.  We got tickets, rushed to the train and …. Missed it.  Grrr.  It turned out ok, because I wanted to go to the London 2012 Olympic shop that was at this train station (there are only 2 in London right now), so we shopped.  We made it back for the next train; we still had enough time to make it to the service.  Then we sat on the track not leaving the station for 20 minutes.  It was very frustrating the train was delayed. So when we got there, we had about 5 minutes to get to the concert.  We took a taxi.  When we got there we followed the arrows to the entrance, when we got there it said to go around the other side to enter, when we got back to the other side, it was too late and the door was closed.  Oh well.  We walked around with a walking tour and the Rick Steve’s guide and saw things.  We bought Elizabeth a t shirt with crests to all the schools in Cambridge.  So we would look on the gates and signs and try to figure out which school we were looking at and take a picture with E in her T shirt.  That made it fun.  I enjoyed Cambridge better than Oxford, even with the train problems.  It seems more relaxed and the schools seemed more individual than at Oxford.  I liked the town better.  It was smaller.  We took the train back to London and there were SO MANY people, we couldn’t sit down.  The kids just sat on the floor.  Mom and I tried to lean and crouch and at least the train ride was only 45 minutes.  We made it back home after a nice day.
Monday it was back to another week. 

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