Just me and my guy went to a show over the weekend.   We don’t leave the kids much here, but we had to go and could not bring the kids along to this one.   I was not familiar with the entire storyline, so it was rather entertaining to us that we went to a Pie shop; “Battersea Pie Station” in Covent Garden, for dinner before the show.  It was my first real British pie and it was delicious.  Butternut squash and goats cheese.   When Mrs. Lovett started using the flesh of Sweeney Todd’s murder victims in her pie shop, we had a nice chuckle.  And to add to the fun, our pie shop was off of The Strand which is just around the corner from Fleet Street…where Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett worked and lived.

Imelda Stanton (played Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter) was Mrs. Lovett, and she was AMAZING!  Her best songs were mostly humorous and performed in Mrs. Lovett’s silly voice.   Her ability to let sounds and body language spice up her acting was incredible.   Can you tell she was my favorite?

Other than the opening song, which was not my favorite, I really enjoyed the music in this show.

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The kids and I had one of our coolest field trips ever this week.   It was in the Royal Albert Hall here in London which I have been wanting to go to since the day we moved here and the taxi cab driver told me all about it.

The London Philharmonic played famous classical pieces accompanied by a laser light show.    Seth actually got out of his chair to hug me and say thank you during the show, he liked it so much.  Even my teenager thought it was great.   She is no longer easily impressed.

 

I took a few pictures while the orchestra were setting up and the lights were still on.  We felt just like we were in a fancy old Victorian opera house, because we were!   Red curtains behind us and all.

There was a special guest performer for one song; a Spanish guitar player.  The kids were so impressed, he was amazing.   It was a beautiful experience.  On the final song, there were fireworks inside the building and then some people dressed as soldiers appeared in the columns at the very top and they fired pretend muskets and a huge old looking cannon went off.  It was very patriotic.

The hall is so large we had to go across the street into Kensington Garden just to fit some it into a picture with the kids.   And once you are there, well, you may as well walk around and thoroughly enjoy the rest of your day…….

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Today was fun.  I got my first London haircut and its totally punk-rock.   Its buzzed  about 3/4  of the way up, and then the top layers are hanging over above it.  Its one of those haircuts that you have to be committed to, but I am very happy with it.  It reminds me of an early 90′s skater cut.

The haircut took almost all the money I had in my wallet.  It was way more than I am used to paying in the U.S.   But since I didn’t have the kids with me I took the opportunity to stop in the local music store and check it out, and more specifically see if they had the latest Mummers cd “Mink Hollow Road.”

I have checked other music stores in London and not had any luck, but somehow hadn’t looked in my local one yet!

When “Mink Hollow Road” came out months ago I of course wanted to buy it right away, but it wasn’t available in the U.S. and it was more than I wanted to spend to import it.   Plus by then we were already well aware that we might have the opportunity to buy it in the U.K. if we moved here this summer.

The cd was there, and since its a 6 track EP, it was just 5 pounds.   I felt just like I did when I was in college (or “at University” ) as I looked through my wallet and found that if I counted out all my change I had just enough for the cd.   I was totally grinning while I handed over my coins for a new cd and walked home rocking the new hair cut.

 

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I have been having tons o’ fun in London.  I have not, however, been able to listen to music in my normal ways.

I don’t have a car, and I used to LOVE music in the car because you can concentrate and listen so much closer (and louder when the kids are not with you).

I don’t have any of my stereo, music playing devices other than my computer and my i phone.  The first week or so I was a snob and didn’t listen to much music because I didn’t want to if it wasnt on good speakers.  Then I got desperate, and now i’m very happy to just have my phone playing a tune in whatever room I am in.  No more snotty here.

Also, I have not had decent enough internet access most of the time to even try and listen to new things.   I have felt a little stifled.

Last Saturday we were celebrating my daughters 13th birthday in Covent Garden and doing a bit of shopping.  While she and I were in a posh shoe store, I found myself being much more interested in the song that was playing than the beautiful shoes that surrounded me.  I got brave, and asked the clerk if he could find out who the band was, and he did, and they are called Stornoway.  I still have the cute little card that he wrote the band name on for me.

My internet connection was so bad that I couldn’t really get a good chance at listening to them.  But I waited all week, and tonight I was rewarded.  I’n pretty sure that this is the song we were listening to:

They are a British band, named after an Irish town. They sound like everything that is wonderful and that I love about England so far. Check out Stornoway’s cool website and be sure to watch the video for “I Saw You Blink” because the drummer is using a lopped off human head for a drum and it’s quite amusing, and the music is good too (lets not forget that, right?)

Now I just have to figure out we are doing our music purchasing here in the UK and I wil be listening to their album Beachcomber’s Windowsill in no time. Yay for good music!

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Me eating exquisite dark chocolate ice cream on the ThamesWe have enjoyed two gorgeous days in London and I have not written to tell you all about them yet.  Yesterday was Tac’s first day of work, I was not readyfor that, I wanted to have more vacation and fun.  The kids and I took off to do some major exploring in some boroughs around West and North London.  The first was Kensal Green and we did’n't love it.  The next was Willisden Green and we liked it quite a bit.  We didn’t know what we were doing so we just got off the tube and wandered around town for a spell.   It took a lot of getting on and off at different tube stops to make it to all these places, and when we got to our third destination the kids were super tired.  But they perked right up when we walked out of the Highgate station and into flower scented air and the beautiful village atmosphere of Highgate.  Hmmmm…from this opening I’m sure you can tell which one we are hoping to move to.
England may not be famous for good food, but they make super good sandwiches and I really like sandwiches!  I ordered a pickle and cheese sandwich, I was practically jumping I was so excited for it.  Then the nice girl asked me if I would like to try it first, and I did, and I’m glad because it was not even pickles.  I think it was some kind of onion chunks in reddish sauce, apparently a traditional English food.  While I want to be a traditional English kind of girl, I had to pass and have a turkey, brie and cucumber one instead.  I have eaten so much brie since being here.  Emma normally doesn’t like cheese (“cheese me no likey”)  but she knocked my socks off today by saying how good the cheese in her sandwich was.  Good European cheese, yummy.

We went into some bookstores and that was totally fun. There were even multiple books by Wilkie Collins on the shelf (my sister Jennette will know what I’m talking about here).  Another thing that abounds here is patisseries.  There are so many cakes and tarts and delicious confections that its a good thing I’m doing a lot of walking.  I could go on and on about the chocolate mousse….

The laundry has taken on a whole different meaning in my life.  Its now something I am doing constantly.   The washer and dryer are the same machine and it is super tiny.  The wash time isn’t much longer, but the dry time takes hours and hours and sometimes still isn’t dry.  And the door locks so you can’t take one or two items out to hang dry after the wash and before the dry.  Its all or nothing.

We are having great fun, I do miss my ipod speaker though.  Its kind of a pain to have to log onto the internet every time I want to listen to music from my computer.

MIND THE GAP

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A song of the day (one of them anyways) could be “Where is Home?” by Bloc Party.    Another one would be “I Have Some of the Most Amazing, Beautiful Friends Evaaar, and I am Crazy to be Leaving Them!!!!”   But I don’t know who sings it (oh yeah, I do).

We had our last day in Issaquah today before we embark on our new adventure.   The children had special days in school with their friends and teachers.  Xzavier’s teacher did something so neat that I cried in his classroom in front of his friends.   His teacher is fabulous and I will miss her, she was critical in the positive experience that was his 3rd grade year.

We said goodbye to our friends, and I did more crying. Another song of the day: “Goodbye, Goodbye” by Oingo Boingo.

I love my friends and I love Washington.   But London is Calling.

 

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