London is really, really hot right now, but still a ton of fun. Yesterday I slept late and lazed around the house with Rachel and the kids, then babysat while Rachel went out for the evening. Very relaxing. Today, I headed into the city for sightseeing and wandering. I visited Covent Garden, where I watched a man juggle hatchets while atop a 15' unicycle. I wandered down Charing Cross Road and found the "street o' rare bookstores" -- anyone want to buy a 1st edition Alice in Wonderland for £200? I put my feet in the fountain at Trafalgar Square (which was so deliciously cold!), and listened to all the folks around me (most of whom were tourists and weren't speaking english). I wandered through the National Gallery and especially enjoyed the iconography from the 12th-14thc. It's amazing how pictures told stories, something we could stand to recover in the church today. I visited the Tate Modern -- always a great time with their quirky exhibits -- and arrived at St. Paul's Cathedral (where Princess Di and Charles were married) just in time for Evening Prayer. I wandered for an hour or so, visiting Aldersgate Street where John and Charles Wesley had some significant experiences. (I'm headed back tomorrow for noonday prayer at St. Paul's and a sermon series at the little Aldersgate chapel.) I ended up at Oxford Circus and people-watched for a while while eating frozen custard, then concluded the evening by visiting a little Tandoor restaurant that Billy and I found on our trip in 2004, heading home to Hackney around 9. All in all, I'd say I got my money's worth out of that £4.90 travel pass.
In a word, today was relaxed. It was such a treat to just wander around, exploring little side streets and taking my time. I realized that I don't often get the chance to just amble. So often, life with Miranda involves so much planning, structuring of time, and being intentional about every minute, that today was deliciously free and easy.
All the same, it feels very right to be gearing up to return home. I'll spend tomorrow morning finishing up the tourist thing, then take a train to Manchester for the night before flying home on Friday. As much fun as I had today, it's time to rejoin the family -- I miss them more and more. Billy sent some pics that indicate a few new teeth, and she's taking more and more steps around the house. She even looks different in the pics he's sent! That's it, party's over -- everyone grab your stuff and head home.