Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Quilt

My sister not only flew across the ocean to visit with me but before she left she had made me an incredibly beautiful quilt. It is lovingly handstitched with butterflies and flowers and a blue that I love. And of course with the very cold weather we have been experiencing, such a blanket is cosy to bundle up in on those chilly evenings. Thanks, darling sister!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More travels with my sister

Not that we're doing that much travelling - mostly back and forth in between Bromley South and London and all over London. So we're becoming familiar with the trains and the tubes and today we progressed to buses so we could stay aboveground a bit more. The London transportation system is fantastic! And everything is communicated so clearly - we have been very impressed.

So yesterday we went on a boat cruise on the Thames in the morning and then in the afternoon we met up with Naomi and Ben at Trafalgar Square. They drove in from another part of England to spend time with us and given the snowy conditions, unfamiliar to the Brits, we were very honoured that they made the effort. We had a great time together, poking around the National Gallery a bit before we went looking for a place to have supper.

Eventually we ended up at the Anchor Pub, near the replica of the Golden Hind and not far from the Globe Theatre, and had a great meal of fish and chips. But even better than the meal was the wonderful time that we had together and good conversation with this young couple, who we really appreciated. They were good sports, in spite of the bitter cold weather.

Today (Saturday) we met up with my good friends, Kathleen and Said, who I haven't seen in 4 years. They are now living and working in London and we had a very happy reunion. It was wonderful to be together with them and they showed us a fantastic time! First we had coffee, then wandered a bit around Covent Garden, then headed to another part of town to find a Lebanese restaurant. It was super having Said take us there, order for us and explain all the different dishes to us. The meal was really delicious - baba ghanouj, falafel, pita, chicken, vegies, mint tea, baklava and great company. I don't know how long we were there but we talked for hours and hours before we finally headed back out into the cold.

We took a walk through an Arab neighbourhood and were very interested in the different shops that Said led us to. I ate rose petals. My sister tried on perfume that cost 10,000 pounds a bottle. We sampled Lebanese ice cream, smelled frankincense, and we learned about how a hookah works. Then it was off for a quick peak at Fortnum and Mason before seeking warmth once more in a British tea place.

There is still lots of fuss about snow and cold here in Britain and much uncertainty about whether trains are running on schedule or at all. In fact, we're beginning to wonder how our flights will be on Monday and whether, in fact, we will be able to fly out!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Travels with my sister

I didn't know I would have such a gift but right around Christmas I received an e-mail from my sister to say that she would be joining me in England. I had a week of vacation time which I had decided to spend visiting friends in London. To have my sister fly across from Canada to be with me was a wonderful Christmas present. Both of us are now big fans of air miles!!

So here we are in jolly old England and wouldn't you know it, Bev brought Canadian winter weather with her! But how were we to know that the Brits would not welcome it with the delight and pleasure that a Canadian does a significant winter snowfall? Let this be a warning to any Canadians thinking of bringing our delightful winter weather to any country unfamiliar with the beauties of snow, that they must also bring along snow tires, boots, winter clothing, salt (GRIT), and snow plows or people will be overwhelmed for days with the 'adverse weather conditions' that assail them!

Anyway, we are having a delightful week in London, in spite of the "weather problems", only sorry that one of my friends was unable to get into London for a visit because of the snow. And I was really looking forward to seeing her. :-(

Nevertheless, we have got around quite a bit, which my feet can testify. My sister, though older and shorter of memory, is in far better physical condition than I and so at the end of each day I am dragging myself behind her trying to keep up and wanting only to be home with my feet up. If I have lost any of my generous build next time you see me, you will know it is Bev's fault! She never stops and especially not when we are passing any kind of shop that wafts the delightful aroma of a sweet delicious dessert. sigh.

So on Tuesday afternoon we visited a friend of Bev's who works at St. Mark's church in Clapham Junction ( He showed us around this very alive Church of England church which is incredibly active and involved in the community and it was exciting to hear about what God is doing there and what God has done in Dave's life. I really like the sign that you see in the windows behind Dave and Bev in this photo.

That evening we had a wonderful time attending the musical 'Oliver' at London's Royal Drury Lane Theatre.

The next day we had a real treat, as it gave us the opportunity to meet cousins whom we never knew before. Their grandmother and our grandmother were sisters (making us second cousins) and they still live in the area Grandma grew up in. One of my cousins lives in a very interesting building that used to be the water pumping station but looks like a castle! The turret is part of her apartment - very cool. The four of us braved the winter weather and spent the day talking and talking and getting to know each other and learning more about each other's culture and backgrounds. How amazing it is to have family halfway around the globe and to share a common history with people you have never met before!

Thursday we started to do more touristy stuff, like the city bus tour. The highlight of that day was seeing St. Paul's Cathedral. What a beautiful and incredible place! Now I want to read up more on Christopher Wren, who was the very gifted architect of St. Paul's and other significant buildings in London.