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Around Town

by on July 1, 2012

From David:

We’re back, sorry for the hiatus.

Saturday was just a lazy day exploring a neighborhood… one of my favorite ways to spend a day in a new city. We walked along the Regents Canal which is part of the 200-year-old canal system which goes from London to Birmingham up in the north.  It starts in “Little Venice”… a really pretty, quiet, treelined section of town near ritzy St. John’s Wood (where even us jaded Portola Valley homeowners were absolutely stunned by the price of the homes….only oil-rich sheikhs need apply I guess.)


Wait, Mommy, don’t take the picture yet… there’s a runner coming!!!


The canal led us to the Camden Locks, where we got to watch the boats go up and down “boat elevators”.  Here are the locks, along with another bald guy:


The locks led to a discussion of why people haven’t found better technology to raise a boat than “close the gates, open the valve, wait 20 minutes for the bathtub to fill up, push the other gates open, and sail away”.   State of the art in 1807 AND 2012.

Next to the locks were the very busy Camden Market where there were many opportunities to buy cool stuff.  Given my rule of “everything you possess needs to fit in the suitcase that you carry yourself”, we didn’t partake of any of those opportunities.  But things you carry in your stomach are a whole different story; here’s Anna’s treat-of-the-day: a chocolate and strawberry crepe:


And then we wandered through Regent’s Park, one of the biggest parks in the city and originally a hunting ground for the King.  It had this amazing drinking fountain… which we all believe was JK Rowling’s inspiration for Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom sinks.  Which led to a discussion of whether the Portola Valley Architectural Committee would approve this at Town Center?


There was a play structure, which resulted in some scratches, rope burns and twisted ankles, and led to a a discussion of different countries’ cultures around product liability lawsuits, rubber mats under play structures, and personal responsibility for your own actions:


And there are some really pretty flowers in the park, which aren’t that big a deal but it’s the only picture from the entire day that Renee is in, so in the spirit of fairness…


And then on the way out, past Sherlock Holmes’ “home” at 221-B Baker Street.


This was fun because we’ve been reading Holmes stories at bedtime (currently on “The Red-Headed League”).  This stop led to a discussion of why people would wait in line for half an hour and spend 20 pounds to visit a completely artificial depiction of the home of a purely fictional character… so we skipped the “museum” but we did go in the gift shop.

And then, after at least 6 miles walk, we returned quite exhausted, to find Harry Potter on TV.  All in all, an excellent day in the UK.


Then Sunday we did the tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace (which led to a discussion of how much money did the Royals really have and where did it come from and how much gold and diamonds are there in the whole world).  No photos because no cameras were allowed. But Renee and I were amused that after the King died, Parliament fired the architect for going at least 3x over budget on the construction.

And then we saw the Lion King which was very exciting.  No cameras were allowed either, but that didn’t stop Daddy from taking a picture of a big elephant:


… which led to a discussion of copyright laws about taking photos, and the difference between the ability of a Lyceum Theater usher and a Buckingham Palace armed soldier to influence Daddy’s actions.

So lots of walking, lots of fun experiences, and lots of opportunity for discussions on the long walks.  What else is a vacation for?


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  1. John Beaver permalink

    taking the picture is one thing. posting it on the internet takes the crime to a whole new level. I’d be watching my back if I were you….

  2. John Beaver permalink

    Daddy in jail should make for a good discussion….

  3. Aunt Ginny permalink

    I love Anna’s Wimbledon pink t-shirt. Is Anna having the time of her life or what?

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