Day 1, or is it Day 2? I have lost track already. I wake at 4, London Time. Which would be tomorrow for most of you. May 6 we left. We missed half of May 7. I drained three cups of coffee and wrote fourteen pages till the luminescent white appeared out my window this May 8. As far as I know, the kids are still sleeping thirteen hours later. Jim has had the most practice staying up all hours of the night for the past fifteen years. The rest of us have coped, occasionally snappy, definitely dulled.
Zach looked awfully drowsy when we first sat in our British Airway plane seats. It was bedtime as the plane lifted off. While I blowdried Zach’s pants in the Calgary airport family room for a half hour, Jim was pre-medicating the kids. For two hours Zach cuddled with blanky and thumb, then woke for a meal. Who serves meals at 10? Despite an ativan-induced sleep, I slept little. But Hannah declared that she felt like a queen with all the airline accoutrements.
“We’re on top of Scotland now”, says the flight attendant overhead. I looked out the window to get a glimpse for my sister; she is more Scottish than our other origins of English, Irish, or German. All I see is a blanket of clouds.
The London Eye and Parliament buildings are visible from our Trafalgar Square accomodations. Tame pigeons roam in the tall grasses and thick camoflouge-barked chestnut trees of St. James Park were our first walk. Hannah’s meeting with the Queen and Duchess didn’t happen as hoped, despite a kind letter from the Duchess’ secretary welcoming us her to country a month ago. But I see a British monarchy lapbook! We stood, we stared, we photographed Buckingham Palace. Guards marched. “Do you think those are real guns?” Rachel asked. Buckingham Palace boasted a changing of the guard, and a few guards with real artillery, who were interested in my camera poking through the wrought iron gates.
Our first meal, lunch, or supper? (we’ve missed a few hours of Monday) was fish and chips at an english pub…the best place to savour that flavour, with a Pimms. The girls guzzled the Pimms until we realized it wasn’t lemonade, rather spiced gin and citrus. Their drinks came with an amused waitress.
And now we begin a new day, Tuesday, abroad.