Are you serious? Part Four of a series and you still need an introduction? Well, in the spirit of mixing things up, maybe I’ll do a Hollywood-style preview instead:
From a land that time forgot … four intrepid explorers take on a vision quest that will change their lives forever … a legend, and a secret, so powerful it defies explanation … and it just may be the universe that hangs in the balance. From the creator of “Mud Bath” and “Wrecking the Car” comes a new post from albertnet … London Part Four … Gamma Force.
The simple word “garden” can be oddly misleading. I think of a garden where you grow vegetables, or at least fail to grow vegetables. Meanwhile, the term has taken on new significance with my kids, because right before this vacation we went to
If you’re hoping to get a good look at a swan,
The trees at
That’s about all I have to report about Kew Gardens other than to point out this little bench plaque, one of literally hundreds throughout the gardens that individual sponsors of the worldwide Kew plant conservation effort get to have if they donate what I’m sure is a vast amount of money. Like the menu disclaimer in my last post, you just wouldn’t see this in the States.
The phrase “
My kids didn’t gush about
A highlight of our visit was the opportunity to have our photo taken with Henry VIII himself (and his brother-in-law William). Henry was resplendently attired because a) he’s a king, and b) it was his wedding day (well, his sixth). The astute reader will have realized by now that this couldn’t possibly be the real Henry VIII, who died in 1547. Lindsay also recognized this, and had no enthusiasm for posing with the imposter. Knowing our opportunity was fleeting, I grasped at straws to get Lindsay to participate, and committed this misstep: “I know it’s not really Henry VIII. It’s his ghost!” Boy, that didn't help. I finally had to resort to bribing her with three Smarties (which are basically English M&Ms).
To some degree, this was a literary pilgrimage for Erin and me; we’d both read (if not enjoyed) “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” in Chaucer’s
Long journeys of any kind can be intimidating to parents, because when the kids melt down there’s no escape for anyone. A Greyhound trip with kids would be a Room 101. But this trip went really well. The train was spacious, fast, smooth, and quiet. Here we are speeding along, watching the lush scenery go by as we have a little picnic.
It’s a good thing we had the guided tour, or we’d have missed some of the coolest sights in
A walking tour in the heat, especially one with a lot of history and such, isn’t how most five- to seven-year-olds would prefer to spend their day, but Alexa and Lindsay did really well, sitting down on the ground every time the guide stopped to talk, Lindsay getting out her little activity bag and Alexa her book:
So, he tried wallowing around in the mud himself, and sure enough, he was cured too, and so he decided there was something salubrious about this area, and built something here, and either he or somebody else generations later commemorated the whole episode with these giant acorns that adorn the building.
Towards the end of the tour, our guide singled out Alexa and said, “Now here's part of the tour just for you. This will be the part you remember! Do you like ‘Wallace & Gromit’? Well, this house right here was the home of the man who invented Plasticine. And do you know what Wallace & Gromit are made of? Plasticine!” I wish I could say Alexa's eyes lit up and she asked all kinds of questions, but she didn't. She was hot and tired and bored, and of course a bit shy. (But she and Lindsay still got the ice cream we promised on the condition that they behave exquisitely throughout the tour.)
Well, that’s it for today. I’m on a plane now, heading back to the land of very large stoves and fridges. Thanks for tuning in.
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