Wednesday, June 12, 2013

frosties -- they're what's for dinner

We finally left JFK around 1pm yesterday. The flight was uneventful, which means the fates had blessed me by placing an aisle between Owen and me on the plane. Sorry, Keri. I took the opportunity to watch Life of Pi, which I knew I would have to see sans Keri anyway, given her abhorrence of cinematic depictions of violence to animals. The movie was very well done and Pi was a truly compelling character. His struggles -- real and imagined -- were overwhelming. I am not a huge fan of water travel as it is, and let's just say the movie only confirmed the rightness of my opposition to seafaring as an acceptable mode of transportation.

We got into Heathrow close to 1am. The business through which we are letting our flat arranged for a driver to pick us -- and the army of luggage that accompanies us -- up and take us to the flat, which sits on Eccleston Square in the Belgravia section of London, wedged in between South Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster. Our flat is at the top of three flights of stairs, giving me the first of what I suspect will be many opportunities to supplement my exercise regimen with four sets of good old fashioned European stair-bag climbing.

After sleeping in, Keri ran out to get some essentials -- Frosties for Owen, coffee for us -- and then we headed out, our first stop a local launderer. Our flat was advertised as having a washer/dryer.

That turns out to be about 30% accurate, as there is something that purports to be a washing machine tucked next to the refrigerator. The instructions for said machine describe some amazing method by which you can wash a load in as little as 55 minutes. Seriously. There is further no evidence of a drying function on the machine. The prospect of Keri spending most of the next two weeks doing laundry inspired what will probably be the best decision I make over the next seven weeks -- insisting we drop off our clothes and have them washed and dried by a professional for six pounds a load (insert sick joke here, Eric Schaefer).

The laundry disposed of, we headed to Victoria Station, a grand train station at the heart of London. Owen was most taken by the presence of a Burger King.

Figuring there was enthusiasm for all things royal, we walked over to Buckingham Palace. A steady wind was blowing, lodging some microscopic particle into Lauren's eye. After a few difficult moments (pictured below is Lauren hiding behind her father and brother as they mock her pain) -- and before the Palace Guard was called in -- she rallied. Walks through Green Park and St. James Park followed, leading to the thing-Owen-was-most-excited-about-seeing-on-our-trip, Big Ben. By the time we arrived, Owen's "tired legs" and what I took to be some genuine surprise that Big Ben was not bigger resulted in a happy, but not ecstatic reaction. I tried to explain that there was a building attached to Big Ben called Parliament that had an really important function in human history. Crickets from the Eckstein children.

The kids' first tube ride, a journey into Sainsbury's (for a family size box o' Frosties) and dinner at some Portuguese chicken joint around the corner before we called it a day. Following his third bowl of Frosties, Owen is now reading Lauren's copy of a children's version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the play we are to see tomorrow at the Globe. The plot is pretty confusing. We hope knowing the story will help keep his interest. Just in case, I will make sure my phone has a full charge as five acts of Angry Birds can take out a whole battery.


  1. Given the summer doldrums in my field of work, your blog has become the highlight of my day. Fantastic stuff, Tim. I eagerly await each new post. That I was mentioned in this particular post may just be the icing on the cake of my sad, pathetic existence.


  2. Enjoying your updates! Have a wonderful adventure!

  3. My first comment is that it is a good thing we are doing a vacation at the beach next year-not on the ocean. I agree with Eric--the blogs are the highlight of my day as well. Did you think perhaps you can publish this whole thing once you have completed 8 weeks?? Great material. My only concern is how Papa & I will be depicted once we arrive on the scene.

  4. Hmm sounds like my typical Saturday night minus the whole palace and Big Ben business :) But the drama, mocking, and not as much enthusiasm from the kids as right on par!

  5. Keep the posts coming! I thoroughly enjoy your writing and seeing the world through Owen and Lauren's eyes!!