On Wednesday, we left England and arrived in Montreal for a few days' visit with my parents. At their house, there is no Internet access, so we had to content ourselves with eating, relaxing and socializing, but now I am trying to catch up with the blog entries.
We spent our last full day in England visiting places close to our London hotel, The Hart House in Marylebone. Our first stop was Madame Tussauds. This was the kids' treat, for putting up with hours in cathedrals and museums, not to mention having to stand in the wind and rain to look at a circle of large rocks. Kate loved posing with Albert Einstein and the Royal Family, while Julia was photographed with a selection of singers and movie stars. I got my picture taken with Michael Caine, whose wax figure did not draw the crowds that Leonardo DiCaprio's did. I can't understand why. My favourite photo is this one of Todd with one of his guitar heroes, Jimi Hendrix.
Staying with the guitar theme, we next visited the Beatles store, where Todd and Julia found very cool T-shirts. Kate, strangely enough, asked for a guitar pick as a souvenir, to use with the cardboard dulcimer she'd made in a Kindermusik class or "in case Daddy buys me a guitar one day". The shopping trip was followed by a tour of the tiny Beatles museum, in the basement below the adjoining Elvis store. The museum "curator" seemed very enthusiastic, though she did confess that listening to Beatles tunes eight hours a day can be tiresome.
Finally, we stopped at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, located at 221b Baker Street of course. I admit it is strange to have a museum devoted to a fictional character, but having read all the stories in my youth and seen many of the film/TV adaptations, Sherlock Holmes seems pretty real to me. I'm not sure the kids got the point, but they willingly trudged along after me and were intrigued by the various wax corpses lying about the house.
We returned to Tim and Kimberly's house for a final farewell dinner. Kimberly had the marvelous idea of hosting a big group birthday party for everyone, as the distance had made it difficult to celebrate individual birthdays together this year. She made us another of her fabulous dinners, and we celebrated with champagne for the adults and a hedgehog cake for the kids. The photo below shows Julia with Teaghen, in all her party finery.
Everyone got up at 6am the next morning to send us off, and we said our sad farewells. Kimberly and Tim were such gracious and generous hosts that I wasn't sure how we'd ever repay them. However, I did have an opportunity to perform a bit of sewing surgery on Alexandra's stuffed pony right before we left, and I received the warmest hug from her in return. We had such a wonderful time in England that I'm already thinking about the next visit!