(Full September photo set here)
It’s another beautiful day in London, and I’m alone in the house! (well, I was when I started the post. It’s now 16:40 and I should be thinking about dinner) The kids are at their second day of school. The school they were assigned to looks promising (decent school dinners! A garden and bee hive on site, which provides much of the food for said dinners! A programme seeks to try to apply their knowledge as much as possible!) Plus, they look so cute in their uniforms!
It was a busy week! Zebula and I went on a birthday shopping excursion on Sunday (we started at Harrod’s, just to say we went. We ended at the bookstore, of course!) , and then we met some friends visiting from Seattle at Hyde Park later in the afternoon. They have the best playgrounds in London. This was at the Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Hyde Park. The biggest feature at this one is a giant wooden climbable pirate ship (because nothing says Lady Di like a pirate ship!)
The kids had their first London piano lessons on Monday. The teacher lives about 5 walking minutes away, which is nice. Drama (for Zebula) and Hip Hop (for Vorlon) is continuing. I had an audition for a choir on Tuesday evening (I am 94% sure I will not be asked to join). Wednesday, the kids and I headed to the V&A Museum of Childhood as a Last Day Before School field trip.
The Museum of Childhood is kind of neat – it’s a subset of the collection of the Victoria and Albert museum. It’s basically a collection of toys, clothing and baby items from prehistory until now (Ok, I might be exaggerating with the prehistory, but there was one doll from something like a 1000 years BCE). It’s not flashy, there’s not that much interaction with the collection, but the kids really liked it, and it was very interesting to see how play has evolved over time.
And yesterday, they started school. What a relief! Homeschooling was both better and worse than I expected, but I’m much happier sending them off to school. Even Vorlon was psyched. Apparently, they were both super-popular yesterday – Vorlon said it was a little overwhelming. I told him not to worry and that by next week, he’d be old news. Zebula is just happy to be hanging out with people other than her brother.
Last Saturday was the Great London Yarn Crawl. Organized by two expats (one from Toronto and one from Boston) and modeled after the TTC Yarn Crawl in Toronto, it’s an event designed to combine yarn shopping with the use of public transit. There were 5 routes – you pick your route ahead of time, meet with your group at the first destination. A travel ticket for the day for Transport for London is included, and you go from place to place on the bus or tube. It was a nice way both to meet some people and find out where some good yarn shops are. I tried to limit myself to buying things of British or European origin.
We hit four yarn shops (Nest, The Handweaver’s Studio, Prick Your Finger and Loop). All had a different focus. Nest aims to sell mostly natural fibres. The Handweaver’s Studio is mostly yarn and supplies for weaving, but has a lot of fibre for spinning. Prick Your Finger features a lot of their own hand-dyed yarn, and Loop is mostly imported luxury yarns. I liked them all, though I didn’t get anything at Loop – their stuff was lovely, but mostly North-American, and I can just wait a year and get the same stuff for much less when I get back.
There was a party at a pub after, where the 100 or so of us crammed into a room and had beer and the lucky ones received door prizes (I wasn’t one of them). I met some lovely people, and hopefully I’ll get to see some of them again! There are knit nights throughout the city at regular intervals – I’ll see if I can make it to one of them.
I went on a bit of a spinning spree afterwards. I spun while making dinner, while helping the kids with their lessons, while listening to podcasts, and I made it through about 100 g of the beautiful undyed BFL I got at The Handweaver’s Studio (from a sheep named Hobnob). It was beautifully prepared and basically drafted itself.
I’m going to make a concerted effort to use this before I leave. It’s soft, but a little dense – I spun it worsted, and it’s a 3-ply. I’d say it’s a fingering or light sport weight, and there are 230 m of it. If you can suggest any pattern that would work with this, let me know! I’m thinking a cowl or a little shawl, definitely something lacy.
Oh, and I met Deb Perelman yesterday. She of the smittenkitchen.com website. I’m a huge fan of hers, ever since having discovered her, I think, when my friend Ruth made her homemade oreo recipe. I made a few of her recipes, and then I was hooked – hers is the website I go to when I’m stuck for what to make for dinner. I like her food aesthetic. Plus she’s adorable. She was signing copies of her cookbook, which recently became available in the UK. My copy is still in Canada, so I brought a printout of the first thing of hers I ever made and had her sign that. I felt kind of ridiculous, but she was very nice about it.
I had lunch with Dr. Thingo at Ottolenghi today (the Islington one). So delicious. It was one of my London eating goals. Have I peaked early? We’ve still got 10 months to go! Maybe I should just go again, to one of the other ones, just to be sure my experience today wasn’t a fluke. That would be best.