We returned to London where you can already buy Queen memorabilia from any street vendor. One local news anchor actually used the phrase “toings and froings’ during a segment and I’m glad it is now in my lexicon. With the most notable sites closed to honour a week of mourning (In the UK I will make full use of the extra ‘U’), we still found ways to spend money. Tower of London, which boasts some towers dating back to the 1200s, and then the London Dungeon- think if one of those scary Halloween experiences also gave you a bit of history. Part ride, part show, part gross. One thing that wasn’t cancelled was Hamilton showing at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Ross and I saw it in 2018 and immediately fell in love with all things Lin Manuel Miranda. I was so happy the boys enjoyed it and loved being able to watch it with them. And I was wondering the entire time how the audience would receive a musical about this part of their history, but there were no audible ‘boos’ so I think it went over really well.
With so many things being closed we life-hacked our way into St. John’s Cathedral by attending a traditional Anglican church service. The boys were agape when they looked through the morning bulletin- we counted 20 pages of reading, response, sermon, prayers, etc. I really enjoyed it and have been a little surprised at how I’m a little more emotional about the Queen’s passing than what seems reasonable for a visiting American. The small choir would elicit tears even on normal days with their beautiful harmonies, but singing Kyrie eleison (greek: Lord, Have Mercy) 3 days after the Queen’s death did me in.
Classic in boy style, they left saying how much better our church is compared to St John’s; donuts, bouncy castles, ping pong… the only thing better about St. John’s Cathedral is that it “looks better.” Kyrie eleison.
Wednesday we trained out to Chelsea and chanted along with a crowd of thousands for the boys all-time favorite soccer team. A picture of our 4 American passports would not do and Ross had to physically print out, sign, and send a form that assured the Chelsea Football Club that when we attend their match we WON’T wear any of Salzburg’s colors and we WON’T cheer or celebrate anything about the opposing team either. They are not messing around. A dream come true for the boys to see a match live and even have their favorite player, Christian Pulisic, a part of the fray. If they had played him more the result would have been a win instead of a tie, says an American about the only American on the team.
After chatting it up with some locals, I have come to agree that we can return to London and see the main sites at any normal time, but being a part of this moment is really once in a lifetime experience. With that spirit we made our way to the center of the city to join the throngs watching the processional of the Queen’s coffin across town.
We happened to end up on a side street but with a view, and then it turned out to be the main route for all VIP attendees to drive to the Abbey… i.e. Princess Kate and Duchess Meghan- it was quick but I saw them both flash by in their separate cars! I am officially now into all things royal, as any good meddling American should be. (Ross, not so much) The boys still don’t get the significance and it’s hard to relate it to anything they are familiar with. Walking a couple miles and waiting a few hours was about all they could do before melting into nothingness, so the 13 hour 3 mile queue (again, fully embracing my current locale) to see Her Majesty lie-in-state was off the table.
Speaking of 13 hours, I only wish I could have spent that much time at the Harry Potter Studios (Our 4 hours just scratched the surface!). First, if you’re not a fan of the books, stop reading now. Second, shame on you. They had all the sets, props and Butterbeer you would ever want to experience. Hard to describe being in the places you’ve seen in the movies, seeing the actual costumes, the thousands of newspapers and potion bottles the art department created, the myriad of jokes and toys in the windows of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes storefront, the 1940’s National Rail Line train painted red with a perfect version of the station built around it… I have a whole new appreciation for these movies and movie making in general, and I sound like the biggest nerd of nerddom that ever nerded. But I digress. I liked it.
We cross our fingers and attempt laundry again, then say goodbye to England and head to Scotland Monday via train. Lots of travel coming up and oh my goodness, we haven’t even been gone 3 weeks and it feels like we’ve been living out of suitcases for 3 months. When you joke in response to the question of how you are that you’re ‘living the dream,’ that’s actually what we’re doing. Definitely doesn’t always go right or even well (damn toddler socks) but it’s not lost on me that we are truly living out a dream. Kyrie eleison!
2 thoughts on “Toings and Froings (4)”
Alli, I’m loving these! Also, I can’t let Zach read them or we will be scratching the new house and packing up to join you (which I’m not honestly opposed to at the moment!)
maybe just call this fall a loss and pack up to come meet us. We head to France around Sept 30 and will be there for a while. There are legit castles are airbnb… just think about it…