Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The End

Very early Friday morning we're catching a plane to Stuttgart. From there a train will deliver us into the loving embrace of Erika's family. We should be in Oberkochen by noon or early afternoon. So we haven't gone to many places this week in preparation for our departure. Erika did spend the afternoon yesterday with Suzie in Covent Garden. And Benedict stayed home on Monday and Tuesday with a cough and feeling some soreness here and there. The fast London life style may have finally gotten to him.

He did make it to school today. He didn't have to be there until late morning because he and some other members of his class went on a field trip. They went to see a pantomime, similar to 'Jack and the Beanstalk' we saw a couple of weeks ago, in Hammersmith called 'Dick Whittington and His Cat'. I know a little of what it's about, and Benedict tells us it was very funny. Good songs, lots of jokes. It's a traditional English story/legend nominally based on a real person from the 14th or 15th century. I could Google it, but I've had enough of that. The kids got to the theatre on the tube. Hammersmith is the next stop after Acton Town, the tube station down the street from Acton High School, and that's how they returned. No school buses. It was well after dark by the time Benedict came home. Just for your information, the sun doesn't rise until 8am and it sets before 4pm. It isn't much fun getting up in the dark.

Benedict told me this joke this evening. If you live in the UK or have been following the county's politics you'll get it. Otherwise you won't. Sorry.

Q: Why did Nick Clegg cross the road?
A: Because he said he wouldn't!

It's very funny. Really.

This is my last post, and I suppose I ought to have something fitting to write about, such as our reactions to our experiences, our impressions of London and England., and such. But I won't. It'll take too long and be too boring. Let me just say that it's been an incredible experience and great fun, most of the time. It's been a pleasure writing for this blog. It's taken much more time than I anticipated, but in years to come when we want to remind ourselves of what we did while in London this account will help us remember the places and the people who have had such a wonderful and positive impact on us. The effort will have been worth it.

And if any of you are still reading and keeping up with this very subjective account of our time here, thank you for your loyalty. In early November Suzie nominated London Stories when The Guardian's travel section was looking for City Travel Blogs. The paper selected London Stories and we were in the paper and on their web site. After the publicity, a huge spike in readership occurred, followed quickly by an almost as rapid falling off. Looking at the statistics page for London Stories one doesn't see a Bell Curve; one sees a Bell Nail, so steep and swift was both the increase and decline in readership. A few, however, have remained, and a special thanks to them for reading although we've never met. Of course, I expected readers in the America, the UK, and Germany. I informed friends and relatives there whenever I published a new post. Amazingly, there are also readers from Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, South Korea, India, Iceland, Ghana, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, France, Finland, Argentina, Japan, and a few more. So a big hug and thanks to you, Suzie, for my 15 minutes (seconds?) of fame.

And a big hug and kiss for Erika, who took at least 80% of the photographs and put up with the hours I spent writing this thing.

We could easily stay in London another 6 months and not exhaust what the city has to offer. There are places worth visiting we didn't get to: the Imperial War Museum, HMS Belfast--a retired warship turned museum floating on the south bank of the Thames, the Tate Britain, the Gaguin exhibit at the Tate Modern, several more plays, a return visit to the Museum of Natural History to visit the Darwin Center, Osterley Park, Richmond Park, Chiswick House, a tour of Fuller's Brewery, London Transport Museum, the new Olympic park being constructed in East London for the 2012 Olympics, the Thames Tidal Barrier, Banquet House, Oxford, Avenbury Henge. And that's just off the top of my head and doesn't include what I've forgotten or haven't yet learned about.

And though I know where it is, I didn't find the Holy Grail I sought a few weeks ago when I became lost and ended up at Heathrow and Hammersmith. Time now to reveal the Grail, though it remains distant from my grasp. It is, of course, a pub. Not just any pub. The name of this pub is Famous Three Kings Pub, and it's in West Kensington. My goal was to take a picture of the placard outside the pub picturing three famous kings: Henry VIII, I believe (which means I'm not sure) James I, and most importantly the grandest and most famous king of all, ELVIS!!!! You see we still have much to do should we return.

Thursday it's supposed to rain, and some forecasters predict light snow Friday morning. Others predict freezing temps but clear skies. I hoping the latter are right.

If I get around to it, I may do a post or two after returning to Texas about our time in Germany. But don't count on it.

Meanwhile, a Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to you all.

Franz

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