Thursday, August 13, 2015

London: Unexpected Take 2

I woke up on July 1, the day we were supposed to meet the Kizziahs, to a flurry of messages and Facebook activity concerning their delay in Texas and finding out they wouldn't arrive until the following day.  Thankfully, it wasn't too big of a deal to rearrange plans and stay an extra day in London.

Our biggest obstacle was our own attitudes (as it so often is).  The kids were already tired from a late night and lots of walking the day before, it was hot, and I tend to over-worry and feel a little too deeply when I think the kids are tired.  Plus, we just had no plan for this day.  What to do?

Ella wanted to see Buckingham Palace, and as we walked that way we passed the Wellington Arch and saw that it was an English Heritage place, to which we had passes.  Score!  We were able to go inside to the top just in time to watch the Queen's Lifeguard on their way to change at the Horse Guards Parade.

June 18 marked 200 years since the Battle of Waterloo, so there were a lot of special things on exhibit inside the arch.  We saw Wellington's boots (the original wellies!), letters of instructions he wrote during the battle, as well as his sword.  It's been really good that we spent the past two years studying an overview of world history, because when we go to these places Ella has at least heard of them, and it's bonus points when she remembers things about what she learned.  We talked about Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo this past year so it was pretty fresh on her mind and pretty cool she could see all of those things in the Wellington Arch.  It's such a gift.

Next we recharged with fruit while walking through St. James's Park and made it to the palace in time for the changing of the guard there...though we really didn't have a good spot for watching.  So we just walked around and took in the general splendor, and in our walking, did get to see the guard passing and enjoy the music.

St. James's Palace peeking through the trees

We found a playground and let the kids play while we tried to regroup and make a plan.  I must confess I was feeling pretty ornery.  It didn't help when as I pushed James on a swing he decided to get off without telling me and fell flat on his face.  And just think, if I didn't tell you about my bad attitude, and James's fall, and how I spent an exorbitant amount of money on a Diet Pepsi that I then almost immediately spilled while eating my lunch and had to pay for another one again, all you would know about our time in the park are these happy pictures.

But we bought lunch, I walked by myself through the park to find a bathroom, saw some lovely views, and by God's grace we moved on with our day and our attitudes.

James at St. James's Park Station

For some reason, this particular train had air conditioning, and it was lovely.  

Next up was The Science Museum, and it was absolutely amazing!  You could spend days in there. And just like the Natural History Museum, it was free!

Space and the  Moon Landing

 So Many Pretty Toilet Seats

My favorite room was filled with a history of technology through different time periods and how that technology changed and affected life.  It was fascinating.  It was a lot of fun showing Ella the first cell phones and weird to see my first laptop looking like an ancient relic.

 I thought my brother, Jesse, would appreciate this cool motor bike.

And I know little to nothing about cars, but this Model T was a thing of beauty.

James playing the first video game
It was kind of momentous for our game-loving boy.

I thought the Formica advertisement was fun as it is not the most popular counter surface today.

The History and Evolution of the Vacuum Cleaner!

Sewing Machines

It was neat to see the humongous first computers, see the first radios and Walkmans again (just threw mine away not too many years ago), and the kids got to play with a hands-on experiment with circuits.

Ella wanted to ride a double-decker bus, and as this one went in a different direction than expected, we literally rode it around the block, but CHECK.

And then we walked and walked looking for sustenance before we succumbed to the familiarity and ease of McDonald's, and then it was off to find some fresh t-shirts for the next day since we weren't prepared for staying, and the heat left us pretty soaked through.

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