The Victoria & Albert museum welcomed us with its neck-craning burst of Dale Chihuly color hanging in the entry. We could not miss a notebook of Da Vinci’s written in his mirror-image cursive.
This eye-catching bust of Donatello’s physician shows what happens when you treat a gifted master sculptor.
[enjoying a picnic in the sunny courtyard]
At London’s extensive botanical garden—Kew Gardens—we were treated to an unexpected show of aircraft on final for Heathrow.
[great picnic by the largest greenhouse I’ve ever seen]
I even got a later view of the enormous Airbus A380.
We walked along the platform in the treetops
and raced each other through a low log trail.
Almost immediately, once we saw this log trail someone had broken out the stopwatch and we started dashing one at a time. I was in the lead till Luke decided to try it one more time. He came rushing in about two seconds ahead of me. The little man was elated.
We decided not to try and unlock the marijuana plant in the cage.
The garden carefully displayed “risky” plants such as cannabis, poppies, and peyote. The kids kept a wary eye on the meat eating plants. The kiddos disappeared under plant canopies and attacked the playground with gusto.
[the boys covering the path in case any scary plants tried to sneak up on us]
[a Giant Sequoia living up to its name]
[treasuring, treasuring, treasuring this time]
We devoured the science museum and—surprise—I somehow ended up making the airplanes the main dish. We stumbled upon great displays on the Wright bothers, a WWII Spitfire and a German V-1 buzz bomb. An air traffic control display chirped out controller radio communications. Next thing the poor kids knew their Dad had launched into discussions on innovation in aviation and the courage of those WWII aviators.
At St Paul’s cathedral, we relished the masterpiece of Christopher Wren. He obsessed over each detail for 35 years, finally finishing the project in 1710. A technological marvel, its dome towered as the tallest building in London for over 250 years.
We caught our whispers across the room in the Whispering gallery and claimed the summit of the church for its views. Christopher Wren actually designed a lower dome ceiling within the tall exterior dome so you climb up part of the time between the two domes.
The iconic picture of St Paul’s cathedral shrouded in smoke but standing defiantly through the blitz has always inspired me.
Civilian defense brigades—the cathedral’s was St Paul’s Watch— worked through the attacks to quickly extinguish the fires that erupted after the bombs fell. At one point an unexploded bomb was removed at great risk from the roof of the cathedral. Even Churchill directed that the cathedral be a priority in firefighting as a means to keep up the people’s morale under German attacks on the city.
Here’s the St Paul’s Watch–Hogwarts chapter… Don’t even try to get past those wands.
The Wimbledon Library right near our flat as we were rolling our mobile homes out of England. This was the place where they generously gave us a library card and we were checking out English books left and right. Love you London, and on to Scotland!