Posted by: jeannineatkins | April 7, 2009

Big and Small in London

We began our trip getting a long and wide view from the massive London Eye. Here’s Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. I was excited to walk past it on the hour to hear it gong. And somewhere around my knees, a little boy hopped past us, saying, “Bo-ing, Bo-ing, Bo-ing.”

St. Paul’s cathedral is enormous.

At the Tower of London, the guards wear big hats as they guard big diamonds and sapphires in the royal jewel collections.

And the ravens are pretty big birds.

The queues, as they say, in Madame Tussaud’s were long and far from orderly. We saw some big name mannequins, though the girls were disappointed that Leonardo di Caprio was in maintenance. And Emily blinked for Orlando Bloom. Their friend Edward enjoyed perching on Harry Potter’s shoulder.

So we did lots of the big touristy things, but the small moments were as precious. Walking along and spotting a small blue sign that noted that Frances Hodgson Burnett lived here. And starting a big conversation about The Secret Garden and The Little Princess. Or passing the hotel mirror, I tilted my head and Colleen laughed. Em laughed, too. “Yeah, I know I tip my head just like that when I look in the mirror.”

And I found out that Colleen not only loved Little Women, but she told me she spent about five minutes at the Barnes and Noble where she works trying to persuade a girl to read it. How could I not have known that? I feel like Emily did when it came up that I’d lived in Colorado for three weeks. “Mom, I never knew!” Hey, I’ve lived a lot of years. And shouldn’t everyone spend a few weeks at a Buddhist college?

I’m pretty much caught up to my Massachusetts world, having blogged a few times, gone to the grocery store, taught, visited my friend Pat in the hospital, where she was surrounded by red tulips and drying palms, made snickerdoodles –decorating them with pastel candy corn in a floral shape — for a talk on wildflowers I helped arrange at our library last night I revised a chapter, sent a query, and, of course, made my library stop, where I checked out Mary Poppins on c.d. to keep a British accent with me for a while.

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Responses

  1. What a great trip – and how lovely to be building such a great relationship with your daughter and her friend!

  2. It was fun. And especially now that it’s rare, to spend time with my daughter. Her first venture out, she did not win the roommate lottery, so it’s wonderful she scored this time!

  3. What fun! And snickerdoodles are definitely my favorite too!

  4. I miss the city already! Though home is good.
    I like popping those candy corn things in the middle when they come out of the oven for a seasonal touch! They’re not so popular, except with me, in my house, so I gave the leftovers to a friend’s daughter who was smitten and a great handraiser at our wildflower talk.
    “Does anyone know what this is?”
    Hand high and proud and swift. “A flower!”
    “Yes. Um, but what kind…”

  5. This makes me want to go back! What a great city.
    “red tulips and drying palms” . . . like this
    Thanks for sharing, Jeannine.

  6. Thanks, Jenny. You sound quite busy right about now, but sure you’ll get back sometime.

  7. Leo in maintenance? Frances H. Burnett, boing boing and snickerdoodles all in the same post? And you’re listening to Mary Poppins? Brilliant!

  8. Yes, and in another post, we get daffodils, poets, a sister who never got the attention she deserved, and a bedazzled writer from Hawai’i taking in all the romantics’ words and gardens and stone walls.

  9. One of the moms at my son’s elementary school had a dad who was one of the guards at the tower, and that’s where they stayed when they went to England. Her youngest, a little three-year-old boy, would say to people, “What’s YOUR grandparents’ castle like?” 🙂

  10. You are so busy, and your trip to London sounds fantastic! I love London, too.

  11. Wonderful photos, and I love hearing about the small moments like the sign for Frances Hodgson Burnett. Can you go in or is it a private house?
    I’m so glad you had a good trip with your daughter and roommate.

  12. That cracked me up about the little, hopping boy. And I love that huge raven. I loved them when I lived in Alaska and they’d talk away from up high.

  13. Oh my gosh, my daughter better not see this. She’d totally be stalking that boy to get an invite!

  14. It’s starting to seem like too long ago…

  15. It was a private house — I think she lived lots of different places in US and England; perhaps that schism is why there seems to be no house where you can visit. That and her life seemed more sad than you’d wish.

  16. Aren’t ravens supposed to be as smart as dolphins, at least? I think they really do talk to each other and share their finds. And those darling little black beards…

  17. Well, he’s only in about 3rd grade, and I think Grandpa retired and moved out! 🙂

  18. I see our UK trips overlapped! We didn’t make it into London with our toddler this year, but your wonderful photos make me look forward to the days when she’ll be old enough to go there with us. (Though I’m enjoying these days when she’s small, too.)
    Welcome home!

  19. On my one other trip to the UK, I stayed mostly in the country, which I actually preferred. But the young ladies were more about the city, less Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, and it was nice sharing that with them. Even if it meant no little scone shops (you can see I’m obsessing on this): it was pretty efficient, if not very spirt-of-England, to run across the street from the hotel and grab Starbucks in the am before setting out… I guess every trip, and every age of your offspring, offers something new.


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