Adventures in London

It occurred to me this morning as I boiled water to heat up our bath tub that this is really quite nice for a camping trip. I mean, we have comfy beds, wifi, even skylights in the bedroom for a breeze, so really, what do I have to complain about? 

We are staying in an AirBnB in London, so it’s possible my expectations were a little off. When I read “continuous hot water” on the description, I sort of thought, hey, steamy showers! But maybe it’s a cultural thing. I suppose it would be hot water if you are used to chopping ice off a pond for a swim, and that one time it sort of spazzed between Arctic and scalding, so that’s something. We have noticed that American and British English have a few other discrepancies; for instance, “just a short drive” in America is considered more of an expedition over here, and a “big” car over here could fit inside our Durango back home. Still, my child is howling downstairs at the moment in an ice water shower, and I feel like the yelping is a universal language, don’t you think?

We’ve already had the repairman come by once and “fix” our water heater, just before the locksmith came. Because there’s that, too. As soon as we got into our flat, the door locked behind us and we were stuck. Fortunately the neighbor hadn’t quite left on her vacation, so we tossed her our keys from the window and she was able to unlock us from the outside. Do you think that’s a cultural thing, too—locking one’s guests in so they can’t get up to mischief? Hmmm.

Just before we left, I read some great travel quotes from the inimitable G.K. Chesterton. He maintained that an inconvenience is just an adventure wrongly considered. Striving to keep that in mind! So “whilst” my husband has spent hours culling through history at the British Library, the kids and I have been having our own adventures. We are staying, by the luck of the draw (or grace, perhaps), in a lovely part of town called West Hampstead. It reminds me of Cherry Creek in Denver, with amazing window shopping and bakeries and green space. Walking everywhere is going to help me burn off all of these British carbs.

Yesterday we did get down to see the library on Michael’s lunch break (do normal people go to libraries in foreign countries, or is that a Morgan thing?) I am telling you, England knows how to do libraries! Not only is it an amazing building (opened by Queen Elizabeth herself) but we were able to stroll by the Magna Carta and the oldest surviving Greek copy of the complete New Testament! For his part, Michael got to peruse lots of Wilberforce’s handwritten correspondence along with notes by people like Charles Darwin and an associate of the Wright brothers, all jumbled together in the same big folio. History is an adventure in itself.

I’d better go pack up some snacks for our next jaunt downtown. Hopefully I’ll be able to report back that it was “amazing, delightful, fantastic”—words that are true whether you speak English or just plain American.

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