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06 January 2014

A Busy Weekend

It has been a rainy week here in London. Not that we didn't expect rain, but there really has been an awful lot of it. It really emphasizes the contrast between San Diego (where we have spent the past 5+ years) and London.
I was going to practice driving during the weekend, but it was so rainy on Saturday, I decided to hold off if I could.  So, Chris drove and we headed to the Clapham area (the part of London we will be living in) and went shopping on Northcote Road. Our destination was Trotters, the store we were told would be able to outfit us with shoes and tights for the girls to wear with their school uniforms.
The school uniform specifies navy blue mary-jane style shoes, and offers a list of acceptable brands and styles. As it turned out, all three of our girls ended up with the same style and brand of shoe.
We also needed rain boots for Olivia and Sophia, and Hunter Wellies are cheaper here than in the US, so they each picked out a pair.

After we purchased school shoes and rain boots, we headed to the sporting goods store next door and purchased shin guards and mouth guards for field hockey. The girls will all be playing field hockey as their gym classes at school. Sophia will also be swimming every Friday.

We wandered farther down the street to explore until it began raining, but it is obvious that Saturdays are big shopping days.  There were "food trucks" parked along the curbs with fresh foods for sale. I snapped pictures of the fishmonger and the fresh olives before the rain came back again.  
I also took a picture of the sign I saw in the window of a pub. It made me laugh.
Look at this place we passed by, I'm starting to see a trend here! I will have visit each one of them.

On Sunday, we had an appointment to meet with the girls' school uniform shop. We had been able to acquire a few second-hand uniform items from the parents' association, but still needed almost everything. It was a huge purchase, but we have everything we need now. We will go back in April and get the last few Summer-specific uniform items.
The sun wasn't exactly shining, but at least it wasn't raining, so I couldn't put off my driving experience any longer.  As you can tell (and probably already knew), the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, and the cars drive on the left side of the road here - so opposite of the way we do it in America.  I have been really nervous about driving here.  Just about the time I had given myself a mental pep talk and was ready to give it a try, I would go somewhere with Chris in the car, and panic, thinking to myself that I was never going to be able to drive here!  
It was a little exciting at first, as there seems to always be a lot of traffic - it IS a big city, so I shouldn't be surprised, but still.  And, I have been driving on California freeways for the past five or so years, so it isn't like I can't handle busy.  But, it is really different.  
Our car is an automatic with built in navigation.  The shifter is on the center console, but shifting with my left hand feels weird.  The navigation system has a little screen that pops up on the dashboard.  I can use the controls on the steering column or a remote control to enter the destination address.  The voice from the navigation is a female, but with kind of a deep voice, and a little scary sounding (like you are in big trouble)!  It doesn't sound at all like the female voices that come from all of the US gps systems. Other than the scary voice, the navigation works pretty well.  As I was driving, I missed a few turns, and it just adjusted and gave me updated directions and I kept on trucking. I was pretty panicked about the roundabouts too, was afraid I would get in and not be able to get out. But, I must have had 6 or 7 roundabouts during my driving and I managed each time just fine.
My perception of where I am within the lane is kind of off. I had a tendency to try to stay to the curb side of the lane, and bumped up on the curb a couple of times. Chris was really scared that I was about to sideswipe a couple of parked cars and he was frantically trying to apply his imaginary brake pedal. But, I swear I wasn't really all that close to those cars!!  
It feels weird to hug the center line, but Chris swears that is what you are supposed to do. So, I'm working on that.  All in all, it wasn't as scary as I thought it might be. But, I have a lot more practicing to do!

Our tourist adventure for Sunday was to visit Hampton Court Palace. It has a pretty neat history, I think. But instead of going on about it here in case you aren't interested, I will link to Wikipedia.  In a nutshell, it dates back to the days of King Henry VIII, and was also lived in by King William III.  

 This is the great hall

The center court

 Master Carpenter's Court

As you approach Hampton Court Palace
 We didn't spend any time on the gardens as it was a very cold afternoon, but they were pretty impressive from the windows!

The fountain court.

 Henry VIII's kitchens.

 Serving pantry.

 This is Anne Boleyn's gate and clock tower. It is currently undergoing some restoration.  

 Great portrait of Henry VIII

 Sophia in King William III's Orangery.

 Rotisserie in Henry VIII's kitchens.

 The tapestries at Hampton Court are incredible.

 Georgia in the Great Hall.

 Olivia in the Great Hall.

Sophia in the Great Hall.

 One of King William III's dining rooms.

One of King William III's thrones.

 The Gate House.

 I picked up this photo off the internet so you could really appreciate the scale and size of Hampton Court Palace.  This place is huge!
See Chris all the way at the end of that hallway? checking his email on his iphone? Just trying to be authentic... I'm sure Henry VIII would have done the same thing ;)

 A moat.


  1. I love all your adventures. You write about the beautifully. Think it was that great education you received at FSU! Hopefully, national champions tonight. Love, Mom

  2. Love the girls in their "Madeline Hats" cute! And love Sophia's purple Hunters! We are seriously planning a trip for summer 2015, so I hope you find a house with a guest room...or some floor space :). Lily has already decided her souvenir will be Hunter boots! Keep sharing, love the posts.