|Flat Stanley, notoriously slick 2nd grade stowaway, made an excellent travelling companion and eluded the authorities yet again..|
We flew to England for Christmas, to spend time with Steve's family. We stayed, for the most part, with his sister in his home town, and drove all over kingdom come to visit other relatives. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but we had a really great time. Starting off with a night at a Heathrow Airport hotel due to our late arrival, his sister picked us up first thing in the morning, Christmas Eve and drove us to her place, a spacious townhouse in a quiet community. Samantha was excited by both the presence of Auntie Caz's cute little dog and the close proximity of a playground to the house.
On Boxing Day (that's the day after Christmas to those of you not in-the-know...), we drove up to Wolverhampton so Steve and his brother could attend a Wolves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) game. We walked around the town and did a little bit of shopping while we waited. The next day, Friday, we drove to York, one of my favorite cities in the UK. An ancient walled city built up by the Romans, much original architecture still stands strong, and all of its beauty and history is spread out and ready to dazzle and teach its visitors.
|She's IS dazzled - really! Faking irritation, followed immediately by a cheeky smile.|
|York Minster (Cathedral), current design circa 1220, tucked behind it all.|
|Not a real cat, not a real pigeon.|
In London we revisited old haunts, and introduced some of them to Samantha. Soho was our old
stomping ground, and Steve was thrilled that Bar Bruno was still around, still in the same family as it was over 20 years ago when he frequented the little cafe for breakfasts and lunches while living and working in the pub across the street.
I didn't actually get to shop at all for myself. Not possible with a 7 year old who hates shopping. I did get about an hour and a half in London on my own when Steve took her back to the hotel to rest, but if any of you are familiar with both the Piccadilly and Mayfair sections of the City, you won't be surprised to hear that in that time I came away with only a tourist t-shirt for Samantha from one of the hundreds of tourist trap shops in Piccadilly Circus and two (on-sale) musical wind-up tins of biscuits (that's cookies to you) from Fortnam and Mason (which deserves a link here to its Wiki page, detailing it's long and prestigious history). Sadly, Rolex, Charles Tyrwhitt, Prada, Gucci, Bugatti and Stella McCartney were not in my budget this trip.
Photos were also a bit scarce on this trip. I got a few, but England is so far north of our own habitat here in the States, that it's easy to forget that the summer days are longer (I remember, years ago, going out to clubs just as the last rays of the sun had set, near 10pm, and walking home in the wee hours of the morning as they began to rise and paint the sky pink again) and the hours of the average winter day are painfully short. We slept uncharacteristically late each morning, as the sky remained dark until nearly 8am, and no sooner had Samantha asked if the sun was coming up, than she'd be asking if it was going down again, those late afternoon tinges of orange visible as early as 2pm, the dusk arriving by 4. And we were on the go for most of the trip, making the stop to take photos one of the last things on my mind.