|I look like I'm still asleep.|
But they still sell egg and cress sandwiches! Yeah. I had been waiting for this.
I used to always get an egg and cress sandwich on the train or in the station. (You can NOT make the same thing at home. I've tried.) There was no Appletiser though!
The girls slept part of the way.
When we got into King's Cross station we, Harry Potter nerds all, had to stop at Platform 9 3/4. They have a spot set up for that now. There's half a trolley sticking out of the wall. Apparently they didn't always have the trunks and the owl on the trolley.
|Emma, Potterist extraordinaire. She considers herself a Ravenclaw, the house of intelligence and creativity.|
|Ken chose Gryffindor. Either he values bravery and courage, or hes just not creative enough to pick a house other than Harry's...|
|And then there's Ivy, who chose Slytherin. She's just evil. I didn't pose with the trolley, because I belong to the house of old fat ladies...|
|Emma making her purchase. Ivy looks suspicious in the doorway.|
|Ivy tried to tell me the boxes were empty, but they really do contain wands.|
|Ken pointed out that this is the kind of school bag he carried as a kid, and I said, "Me too!"|
Here is where things started to go wrong. The girls and I thought the next stop was the hotel, to get rid of our bags. We knew Ken had been arranging with his best friend Robert to meet in London since before we left America. But we didn't understand that he was meeting us at the station before we got rid of our bags. I thought the disagreement between Ken and Emma was how to get to the hotel: walk or tube. The girls have a tendency to just charge off on their own, and they were particularly bad about this in London. They wanted to go off on their own all the time. My fear was that they had no idea how to get to the hotel, had no map on them, and were two young girls alone in a big city. I was a bit unfair about it, since Emma is the age I was the second time I went to England alone. but I'm her mother. I worry, ok? So I was afraid of them getting out of sight. I charged after them, trying to keep up, trying to get them to stop.
|Got them to stop long enough to pose for this.|
|This was sort of strange. Who was expecting the Tardis to just be sitting there on a London Street? The doctor is wrong: people DO notice it...|
We have to arrange a place to meet Robert. My friend Cheryl is meeting us in London too. They were both going to meet us for all three days we were to be in London.We have to arrange somewhere to meet them both. I think of meeting Cheryl in Trafalgar Square, the very first place we met. Cheryl had been my pen pal, and when I came to England the first time, in 1985,we arranged to meet at Trafalgar Square.
|Me at Trafalgar Square. Photo by Cheryl, 1985.|
|Emma and Ivy in Trafalgar Square. National Gallery in the left background, St. Martin's in the Fields background between their heads.|
|Tammy World is glad to get out of the purse.|
|Another of Cheryl's photos from that day in 1985. It's a little hard to see, but there is actually a pigeon on top of my head.|
While we were waiting we all went in the National Gallery. The National Gallery is amazing. It's a beautiful building full of even more beautiful artwork.
|Emma and the gorgeous National Gallery|
|Ivy and Emma. I like the first wall paper better...|
|Yeah, this one. Ivy still has some strength left. Ken is getting weak from hunger, and very upset about the Robert thing. He's still texting him.|
|Emma between two Van Goghs.|
You can't spend too much time there.
|Absolutely beautiful. The detail in this painting is amazing. Check below for close ups of the lace.|
I wish I could show you how real it looks. It's so three dimensional it actually looks like real lace.
|Check it out! It's full of miniature paintings!|
|This fantastic painting is by an UNKNOWN artist!|
After a super early breakfast on the train we were all getting hungry. I ask Cheryl if she wants us to wait lunch on her or go ahead. She insists we should go ahead. Emma has been hoping to get high tea while she's in London, and I researched the cafe at the Gallery. They serve a fairly affordable high tea, but when we check, it doesn't start serving until later. So we have a regular lunch, which still includes some great desserts.
|An amazing roasted vegetable sandwich and---HA!---some fancy version of a BAKEWELL TART! Come to me!|
After lunch we hit the gift shop. Emma was hoping to find a copy of her favourite painting, but no luck. You can have a print done of almost any painting, but it was kind of expensive. Then, Cheryl has arrived. I leave the girls in line at the gift shop and go outside to meet her. We have written and emailed all these years, but I haven't seen her since 1989, when she came over for a visit right before Ken and I got married.Ken followed me to catch our reunion on film.
|She's practically squatting because yes, I am that short.|
So we have heard from Robert. He is in Soho, which is a 15 minute walk away. He'll be here soon. This is good, because Ken has been VERY upset. I have been actually feeling sick because I felt so bad for Ken. So now we sit and wait for Robert.
A guy dressed as Sherlock Holmes keeps walking around the Square looking at his wrist watch, hoping someone will want to take a picture with him. Buddy, out of character! Sherlock Holmes, the traditional one at least, which you are dressed as, did not wear a WRIST watch. Emma texts Fuzzy to suggest this might be a job he would enjoy. (Fuzz has always loved costumes.) Fuzz texts back to say something like, 'Thanks for thinking so highly of my ambitions.'
Emma and Ivy wander off around the corner to the National Portrait Gallery. I try to stay with Ken so I can photograph his reunion with Robert after 31 years apart. Finally Cheryl gets thirsty and we wander across the street to get a drink at Tescos.
In the end Robert never showed up. He stopped answering Kens texts and didn't answer his calls. We haven't heard from him since.
Since this story is so long and requires so much time, I'm doing it in pieces. Stay tuned for part 2!