Monday, May 31, 2010

The In-Laws Week Three: Bonus Time in London

The week of April 19 was a crazy one. Louie and Suzanne were stuck with us for another week due to volcanic ash (I think we were happier about them staying than they were!), but I was really busy: school was back in session. So while they took a second look around in the British Museum and other places, I was writing or in rehearsal. Still, I managed to come along to a few things here and there.

On Thursday we went on a London walk of the City. In case I haven't explained this before, most of what people consider to be London is actually Westminster, just west of the 'proper' capital City of London. The City, as it's called, is now London's financial district, which means Teriann and I are relatively unfamiliar with it, but it's also the oldest and most historic part of London, which makes it an interesting walk.

Leadenhall Market was very nice,



and Londoners first got hooked on coffee in a little alley nearby.



In 1652, there weren't numbered addresses as we think of them today, but signs or pictures above each shop that would identify them to people who couldn't read. You see what I mean, though: history is thick on the ground.

The Guildhall is an old (and surprisingly German-styled) building now sandwiched in between modern glass insurance buildings. It is itself built near the site of the old Roman amphitheatre, whose outline is now the public square in front of it.




We'll be going back soon to see the exhibition about the amphitheatre — we didn't have time on the day, though.

During their first week in London, we had gone to Windsor Castle, home of Her Majesty Queen Superfluous, but because she was holding a superfluous State posh dinner, it was all closed up except for Queen Mary's doll house. Fascinating though the doll house was (check out those model cars!),



it wasn't really what we had come to see, so we went back for another visit during our extra week. The castle turned out to be worth the extra trip: fantastic and overwhelming (and a head-scratching use of public funds for a nation so profoundly in debt). We couldn't take our own photos inside, but the grounds were spectacular.




This just happened to be on St. George's Day, England's national day, so there was much patriotic singing and merriment at the local pub.



Okay, I guess there's not singing in the picture, but trust me... there was merriment! Just beyond those windows, there was a crowd of old Brits proudly singing/shouting "Ruuuuuuule Britannia! Britaaaaannia ruuuuuules the waaaaaaves!"

The next night, Teriann and Suzanne went to see Billy Elliot, but Louie and I went for something a little more gentlemanly: snooker.

Neither one of us had ever played snooker, but we were both basically hooked because the World Championships were on TV throughout April. So basically every night, we were watching snooker matches, and we were keen to have a go.



Look at the size of the table! I'm in the picture below... somewhere.



I lost, of course. Louie is a pool shark after all.

On their last night, the Suns were playing early enough in Phoenix for us to watch it in London. The only trouble was that only one place in town was showing it: the renowned American expat hangout, The Sports Cafe. Turns out Americans really do have bad taste: it's the worst bar I've ever been in: smelly, loud, rather-be-elsewhere staff — all that and more. Or less? Oh well... couldn't dampen our spirits — we had a great trip.

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