The Clash’s cri de coeur from 1979 seems to be newly relevant in these strange days of “will they or won’t they” Brexit chaos. No one seems to know what’s really going on, not even the folks doing the thing. There seems to be a massively consequential vote in Parliament daily, and yet nothing is resolved.

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In the meantime, we’ve been having a great time in London. It took a few days to adjust to the time change, but we’re no longer waking up at 4am or falling asleep at 7pm. It’s colder than I’d like, but Henry is ecstatic about that, and cheerfully refuses to wear his sweatshirt even when I can SEE the goosebumps on his arms.

We hit the ground running, visiting the British Museum the morning after we arrived.

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The British Museum

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Hercules

We then visited the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studios that afternoon. The boys enjoyed it just as much as the first time we went, in 2016, and after three years of waiting, were blissfully happy to get to the butterbeer.

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Max had his stitches removed a couple of days after we arrived, at the Junction Health Centre here in Battersea. It’s an NHS walk-in clinic, so available to all, and free. We waited just a short time, the facilities were modern, and the NP who removed the stitches was fantastic. We could do healthcare like this, America.

So many of the museums here are free, and we’ve taken advantage of that to sample a number of them. Victoria and Albert, the Science Museum, and The Natural History Museum. We paid to visit the Churchill War Rooms, and it was entirely worth it. Over the last few years, I’ve read a number of books* that take place in London during WWII, and the war rooms really brought depth to some of the stories.

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Churchill War Rooms: The Fine & Warm sign indicated the current weather for all of the people working underground for hours / days straight

A personal highlight was finding the home where my great-grandfather George Pitter was born in 1871. He left England in 1903 for North America, traveling west across Canada with his family. By the time my grandfather, Earl Clifford Pitter, was born in 1919, the family was in Victoria, B.C. and would sail for Oakland, California when he was just one year old.

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8 Trevor Square: home of Tania’s great-grandfather and his family in the early 1870s
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8 Trevor Square
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Railing around Westminster Abbey. According to family lore, Tania’s great-grandfather George Pitter (blacksmith) worked on this railing in the late 1800’s.

I’ve had the chance to catch up with friends here, too. Serendipitously, my former colleague Catharine was in London for a conference and we met for a delicious lunch at Padella, before I rejoined Kyle and the boys at the Sky Garden.

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View from the Sky Garden

On St. Patrick’s Day, we shared a Guinness and an enormous Sunday roast at The Prince Albert pub with my college friend Tricia, who lives the expat life here with her husband and two adorable children. After lunch, we wandered through Battersea Park while experiencing what felt like all four seasons in a brief hour. Sun, rain, wind, and then sun again. It can be hard to keep up.

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Battersea Park playground

We also took a day trip to Oxford, where we had lunch with Ellie, who took the boys on many an adventure in Paris when we stayed there in 2016. The boys loved seeing her again, and talked her ear off. I think she appreciated the break from studying.

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After lunch we walked around town, marveling at the history. The university lists 1231 as the year of its founding, but it has been a place of learning since 1096, or earlier.

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The “Bridge of Sighs”, New College, Oxford

We’re off to Dublin next!

*  Books: Life after Life and Transcription by Kate Atkinson, The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

 

One Reply to “London calling”

  1. I also recently read Life After Life and Code Name Verity with my book club. We also read Code Girls, will you be visiting any Bletchly Park exhibits?

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