After we gave up waiting for Robert-the-No-Show we had to decide where to go first. Ken was very upset, but determined to still try to get some enjoyment out of his trip. Since we were in Trafalgar Square at this point I suggested places within walking distance: all the way down to the Houses of Parliament, which were visable from where we stood, Covent Garden, which was a short walk, or Oxford Street, also a short walk. Emma and Ivy wanted to shop while they were in London, and Oxford Street is a big shopping street. I kept trying to give Emma opportunities to go to Oxford Street because I knew they really wanted to buy some clothes in London, and she kept turning me down. I think she was confused as to why I was suggesting it at the time, but I got blamed later for them not getting much time to shop there. To be fair, it was mostly Ivy doing the griping. It's hard to please everybody in a group anyway.When we originally found out we were going to London we tried to get the girls to tell us which places there they were interested in visiting. They didn't have many ideas, especially Ivy, whose answer to 'What do you want to see?' was, "Stuff." I made some suggestions, and they actually turned down Covent Garden at the time. I was a bit disappointed, because I had heard so much about Pollock's toy shop. I'm not sure I had gone when I had been in Covent Garden years ago. (I was in my early 20's. I was still trying to be a grown up. This is where Emma would ask me, "How's that working out for you?") So I wanted to go, but as I think I said before, I deferred to the girls and Ken because I lived in London for three months and I figured, that was fair.I had had plenty of chances to see what I wanted to see then, so if I never got around to it in that amount of time,that was my tough luck.
But when given the options, the choice was Covent Garden. The girls seemed to agree on that.Emma was very enthusiastic about it.So I got to go to Pollock's after all.
|Emma, Cheryl, Ivy, and me, outside Pollock's Covent Garden shop.|
|The paper theatres at the top were a couple of inches tall, and, as you can see, cost 40 pounds! That's a over $60! In the front you can see tiny paper dolls,boxed games, and other 1/12 scale items.|
There was a mix of vintage and new toys in the glass case as you entered.
There were some beautiful painted pewter figures.
|They have wire jointed arms and legs, and are about 1 and 1/2 inches tall.|
They had an Alice and the caterpillar that liked, but it was way out of my range.
I had promised myself I would let Dad treat me to one big splurge while I was in England though. Dad passed away last year, and there was a very tiny insurance payment I split with my sister. (Dad didn't understand how the insurance policy he always thought was going to pay out about $10,000 would shrink over the 40 plus years since he took it out.) So I've been holding it back. I planned to use a few hundred of it to fix the house up a bit, and put some of it on Dad's head stone. But I thought it would be nice to have one thing that I wouldn't buy for myself, that would sort of be a gift from Dad. Before I left I researched the A Girl for All Time dolls. I knew they were English dolls, so I thought they might be cheaper there. I have always kind of liked Clementine, but I wasn't sure about her.
|The idea behind the A Girl for All Time line is that the dolls are all members of one family, throughout history. Clementine is the 1940's girl.|
|This is a stock photo of Matilda, the Tudor era girl. The dolls are 16" tall, and all vinyl. They have jointed elbows and knees, as well as the usual joints.|
I spotted some cute hand made art dolls on a stall, and took a few quick pictures to share with you. The pictures came out great and the detail in the furniture that came with the dolls was wonderful. But in looking at my pictures I noticed a sign down in the corner of the picture that I hadn't seen when I took the pictures. (I was moving pretty fast at this point, trying to find a bathroom!)
So I can't show you the dolls, even though that would be free advertising for the people who make them. I can only give you this link to their web page: Hobo Designs. I wish I could show you the old lady sitting in that great chair, but I can't, and she doesn't seem to be on the site. She was called 'Gran', and she was 275 pounds.
I also saw these sweet dolls at a different stall.
Mrs. Dumpling's Dream Company. If I could give them a word of advice it would be to settle on one name for easy identification and location. The dolls are cute though. Apparently they were originally made from dough, but are now made of a more permanent material. (Haven't we all made figures or Christmas ornaments out of that dough stuff you make at home, only to have them start to crumble after a few years,or be eaten by bugs while packed away in the attic?) The site is a nice one. The company has a sweet idea behind it:
"The aim for our project is to create a fresh wholesome little brand producing and presenting items that are designed to appeal to the child within us all.
The ethos for the brand is to be, that no matter what age we are, we all deserve to be allowed and encouraged to hang on as long as possible to the belief that anything and everything is achievable and that dreams and aspirations should always be encouraged, nurtured and never let go of.
Mrs Dumpling’s world is universally attainable to everyone, no matter what age, creed, colour or persuasion the only entry qualification being an unfailing belief in the magic that lives within us all!"
The site has a couple of games for kids. (I tried the Snow Ride game and although kids will find it pretty easy to do, I'm afraid I did plow through a few snow men and trees trying to get my mugs of cocoa and hot pies!) They seem to be trying to get their own tv show using the doll characters.I wish them luck.
I didn't think there was that much in Covent Garden to keep the girls so long, and I kept trying to move them along to Oxford Street. I wanted them to have time to shop there.They got all interested in a shop selling tea and tea items, and really wanted to stay in Covent Garden for quite a long time. Ken and Cheryl and I killed some time looking at all the cool stuff on the stalls, and looking for a bathroom and a place to convert dollars to pounds.
|They're pretty good 1/6 scale. The Big Ben could be 1/12 scale for sitting on a mantel or something.|
We finally got the girls to leave Covent Garden. We were all hungry by then and Ken went on ahead a few streets to scout out an Indian restaurant. The one he found had a guy outside trying to encourage people to come in. Emma said it reminded her of Babu Batt on Seinfeld, and she hoped that wasn't a bad sign for the restaurant!
Cheryl was starting to feel the effects of her cold. We were unfortunately seated right under a vent. I loaned her my sweater, but we were worried it was going to be bad considering her cold. As we were discussing whether or not we should ask to be moved to another table for Cheryl's sake another employee came over and told us he had turned off the air conditioning for her. Now that's service!
The food was good too.
After the meal the girls checked out a Top Shop. At this point it was starting to get late and Cheryl was feeling pretty tired and worn down from her cold. So she headed back to her hotel, after setting us on the right course for Oxford Street.We arranged to text each other in the morning once we had gotten ourselves moving, to sort out where to meet.
It was then my job to get Emma to the HMV music store on Oxford Street before they closed. Since it was getting close to closing time for most of the shops I was panicking and starting to move very quickly. I went from bringing up the rear to leaving everybody behind. Unfortunately, what used to be my every day run down Shaftsbury Avenue headed to Oxford Street was blurry after all these years and the changes to London. I wasn't sure of my route.We found a large music store first, where she did buy some things.
|This blurry picture is one I didn't know Ken took, of me, fleeing into the Disney Store before they closed. That's me on the right.|
|With Rapunzel on the ramparts. Notice the floor has sparkles and looks like a night sky.|
|Ivy on the left.|
|Yes, that's a boat hanging from the ceiling.|
|This guy is life sized.|
|I think Yoda was bigger than life sized.|
|Waaay bigger than life size.|
|Ken asking the help a question.They were more than happy for us to take as many pictures as we wanted.|
And do The Avengers belong to Disney too?
|Stan no! Not you too! (My pet peeve is Disney owning other people's stuff, like The Muppets and Star Wars.)|
There's a huge Cinderella's carriage.
|The back of it is a pumpkin.|
From there we caught a bus to the tube station and saw some of London by night from the upstairs of the bus.
Then we took the tube back to the hotel and collapsed for the night. The hotel room had two floors, so the girls could be in the same room and I'd feel safer for them. It was pretty cool anyway. They were upstairs above us, like a balcony.
Next time: London Day 2!