Friday was great, just a quiet day with Rachel Turner and the girls in Hackney. Rachel and I haven't been able to spend tons of time together, but for a large part of the day it was just the two of us and her youngest girl, Eve. We chatted about tons of stuff, ate lunch, prepared tea (the evening meal), and laughed a lot. Then I took a long nap while she childminded and collected her other girls from school. I awoke in time to help finish tea, said hello to Andy (her husband), then did the washing up. (I used far too much soap, again!) Then, after the girls were settled, we went to a friend's house and watched Starter for Ten. It's hilarious, a must-see.
Saturday started with a nice lie-in (that is, I didn't get out of bed until after 10am). Had a cup of tea and a croissant, chatted with the girls, helped serve lunch, discussed parenting and admired Rachel's amazing abilities as a mother. Then headed off to the train with Jessie, their 12 yr old daughter, where she travelled to meet her aunt and I went off in search of Christmas presents and a possible theatre ticket. I found that nice street of rare bookstores off Charing Cross Road, then went searching for a certain Picasso poster for Miranda, which I couldn't purchase online, and which I found at the National Gallery (it's at the top of this post). It's in one of her board books, and she LOVES it. She always holds up her hands like she's holding the dove herself. I hope she'll like having it on her wall! As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to see Spamalot at the theatre, but tickets were outrageous, so I wandered around Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square, and ended up back at Covent Garden, where I had a beef and stilton pasty and some nice chocolate candies from a stall. I also watched a juggler on a unicycle and a Charlie Chaplin impersonator. I then took the train home, where I watched my first-ever episode of Doctor Who with Millie (then another one later with Rachel, Andy, and their friend Paul). What a day!
Sunday, I arose slightly earlier and bid farewell to the sweet Turners as they left for church. I had lunch and a nice chat withg their lodger Nathan, who's very interesting and has lived in Romania for a year, working with Romani children. I then caught the Tube to King's Cross and the train to Durham. I read more Augustine and ate the most fabulous sandwich -- bacon, Brie, spinach, and a cranberry relish -- so tasty. After arriving in Durham, I caught a cab to my bed and breakfast, the Castle View Guest House, then had a Subway sandwich, read some more, and went to sleep.
The daily highlights:
- Very tasty chicken and leek crumble for Friday tea, and Saturday lunch
- numerous cups of Earl Grey tea with milk
- bacon & brie sandwich (note: you'll see lots of food and bevs in these daily highlights)
- talking marriage, parenthood, faith & travel with Rachel
- getting surprise cuddles from Eve
- wandering through London on a Saturday evening, watching the theatre crowd
- riding the train with Jessie
- strolling through Hackney, taking in the sights and sounds
- singing loudly to "Bicycle" by Queen with Millie
- sleeping late in a warm bed with snuggly pillows and duvet
Anti-highlight: Hearing that something "biggish, and black, and running" was spotted under my bed. Discussion as to whether it was a mouse or a spider. Not sure which made me feel more uneasy. (OK, definitely the spider.)