1/18/09

Hold on Tight

Another fun time we had in England was when we took a day trip into London. After a bit of a snafu with the train tickets, which was courteously resolved once we reached Waterloo, we headed to The Science Museum--yes, that's its official name.

Last time we were over for Christmas, we tried the Natural History Museum, which was intensely packed with people. The Brits have this thing about, gasp!, free admission to many of their museums. Great idea. Very proletariat. But the proletariat happens to contain a lot of prols. The Natural History Museum was packed two years ago, and The Science Museum was no different this time.

Ilsa was in full-blown mommy attachment mode. I called her a lamprey. She wouldn't let go of my hand the entire trip. Keven's attempt to extract her from my company resulted in a) tears, and b) Ilsa's informing him that she loved me more. At that point I didn't give a good goddamn how much she loved me. I really could've used some space or, at the very least, some time with Juliette.

We ate lunch in the basement cantina, managing to score a table (thru subterfuge and cunning) while others had to eat on the floor. There were so very many people. Afterward, we tried to get into an attraction called "The Garden," which was like a very tiny children's museum full-to-the-fire-hazard-brim with kids and utterly deadfaced parents. I know we were all there to make family memories and such, but many of the memories I saw being played out across adult faces were not pleasant ones. Is it a stiff upper lip thing? I don't know. But after a while, I just needed air.

A break: Ilsa and I went into a bathroom stall together. Of course we did. I told you she was exceedingly clingy. Anyway, she informed me that I have "a giant bum." She then proceeded to make her arms into two globe shapes to demonstrate how big my bum is.

I said, "I don't want a giant bum."

"Too bad, mommy."

"What about you? One day you'll have a giant bum."

"That's right. But now my bum is tiny."


Anyway, we exited and went on toward Big Ben, strolled down the Thames, and crossed over to get in the queue for our scheduled ride on The Eye. We'd purchased tickets online, which saved a great deal of frosty weather waiting.

The girls were very, very excited about going up on "the big slow Ferris wheel," but I only hoped they wouldn't freak once we were onboard. No problems there. They were great. Ilsa and I knelt together looking over the Thames toward the buildings of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. The sun was setting right behind Westminster so that the light glowed through the upper stained glass windows. I'm not a religious person, but that was a very special and rather divine moment. Absolutely breathtaking.

Speaking of breathtaking, poor Keven. He's become rather terrified of heights in his olden age. Linda took a picture of him where his hands are gripped tight around the wooden slats of the central bench. "I was fine for the first 30 feet," he mentioned afterward. I didn't spend too much time with him because his expression said he'd be a complete killjoy.

We rode on a merry-go-round afterward, about the fastest I've ever been on. I sat behind Ilsa on a horse, naturally. Trevor rode alongside Juliette and very often repeated the words, "Juliette, hold on!" I thought it was cute--grandad getting to be in the Position of Fear and Authority for a few moments. The horses all featured painted names on their necks, with the girls' rides named modern, urban creations like Leshon and Zanika. However, and this was bizarre, there were horses named Linda (Kev's mom), Kathleen (my mom), and Dorinda (my dad's little sister)--a strange mix of old and new and very unusual.

After a lulling train ride back to Surrey, we all collapsed from the exhaustion of the day. A good excursion, overall, although I don't think we'll be heading to a free museum over the Christmas break next time.

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