London Tue Dec 4 - Day 4

Trip Start Nov 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 31, 2013

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fiona's Comments:
The shower still isn't working and Zed has had a firm conversation with the apartment manager about how to press the button on the shower. Gotta love coming half way round the wall to have many conversations about pulling cords and pressing buttons. Zed got a bit defensive when the manager asked him if he knew how to press a button. That wasn't like a red rag to a bull. I overhead him saying something like "Do you think I really do not understand the concept of pressing a button and holding it down for three seconds. It is not a difficult concept but you need to understand that the shower is not working." Bless bless. Anyway the long and the short was that a plumber was coming in and they wanted to know if we would be home during the day? I think Zed asked them to repeat that request a tad incredulous that they had asked it. He politely (I am so proud of his restraint) replied that we thought we might do some sightseeing instead of sitting around waiting for the plumber. So after our excruciating morning ritual of trying to work out who had showered/bathed the night before and who still needed to bath/shower in some form, we walked across Southwark Bridge and made our way to Russell Square to find an internet cafe. Didn't get that far but found a student accommodation office that happily printed out vouchers we needed.

Walking to a tube station, Nik went into pigeon catching mode. A school excursion to the State Library last year was the beginnings of Nik's pigeon catching days. He was able to catch pigeons, have a picture taken and then let them go. So somewhere in London on Day 4 of our adventure he tried to catch pigeons again when a teenage girl came up to him and asked if he would go out with her. He replied "I guess" when she and her friend walked off laughing. It was a dare and Bella had witnessed it all. So they were talking about it when Zed caught up with us and Bella told him how a girl had tried to pick Nik up. Zed asked Nik to explain what had happened and so Nik started his explanation by saying, "Well Dad I was trying to catch a pigeon..." Bella was in hysterics. This girl had tried to pick Nik up but putting it into context Nik had to start with his pigeon exploits first.

We made our way to St Pauls' Cathedral. Zed and I were both moved to tears at the beauty and grandeur of this building. I think we were there for about 3 hours wandering around and taking it all in. The kids were great and asked lots of questions. I left Zed in the tombs and took the kids up the zillion stone stairs to the whispering gallery. Oh but wait there was more. We went up a metal spiral staircase to the outside part of the the outer dome of the cathedral. I was struggling with the height and the stairs which let me look all the way down. Ugh. The kids were happily bickering and going up the stairs like a bunch of mountain goats. We got to the top, me sweating and really stressed only to discover we could climb even higher. The views from both outer levels were magnificent and it is quite a miracle to think that during WWII London was razed but the Cathedral Dome was not destoyed. A couple of bombs did hit but the dome remained intact and became Churchill's symbol for the spirit of London. The cathedral could not be destroyed so every night a bunch of crazy amazing English wardens stationed all over the Cathedral were in place to put out fires and do anything to save the Cathedral.

We made our way to Covent Garden on a double decker bus down the Strand. More massive photo opportunities. We had booked tickets to see the West End Play, The Woman in Black. Wandered around Covent Gardens, went into a pub to use the loo and Zed bought drinks for everyone ???? and then we went to a quaint restaurant filled with photos of actors over many years. Quick bite to eat and we scooted off to the theatre to see a play which has been running for years and only has three actors. It was incredible and with me sitting on the edge of an aisle I was paranoid that the spooky woman in black would make her way down the aisle and freak me out. It was brilliant and we all jumped and screamed and were scared. Amazing given the very simple sets and the powerful performance of just two actors. The stage play is quite different from what I saw of the movie ( I didn't see the movie to the end because it was too scary). Even the theatre was beguiling - up and down stairs to go into loos the size of postage stamps, heavy drapes, ornate decorations. It was wonderful.

Wandered around Covent Gardens and then decided to get a train to the Westfield Shopping Centre at White City to get a coat and warmer shoes for Bella. Zed scooted off with Sof and Nik and ended up taking them ice skating whilst I drew the short end of the straw and got to go clothes shopping with my teenage daughter. Usually Bella goes off with friends, tries on numerous outfits multiple times and then puts them on hold. I then turn up and go yes, no, no, no, pay and we're done. All happy and no warfare. Alas couldn't find a bunch of teenage girls she could go shopping with so pull my eyeballs out and roll them in salt I got that task. And I am not exaggerating. If someone could bottle the stress, tension and aggravation of mums and daughters shopping, that would be a WMD. Anyway after an ultimatum of you need a coat and warmer shoes and they WILL be bought tonight, a couple of hours later we purchased the first coat and pair of shoes Bella had tried on. Ice skating and shopping accomplished we went home.

Zoran Comments:

St.Paul's cathedral was designed to inspire awe and it achieves that admirably.  Fi said I was moved to tears and that is pretty much the truth.  Those that know me know that I am not a religious man but I can see how buildings like this would hold the population closer to the church and even bring new people to it.  I am just stunned by what the British people have achieved and so long ago.

If anyone is coming to London and you have not visited St.Pauls then do so, even if you have been there, go again.  I know I look forward to going back.

Woman in Black is rivetting.  You wouldn't think that two blokes on stage basically just talking would hold you enthralled but that is what happens, it is a measure of the excellence of the script, the talent of the actors, and how well our own imaginations fill in gaps when given the chance to do so.
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