London – Day 12 – July 21, 2019
Had another lovely breakfast at the hotel, this time for free because of the early morning fire alarm issues. Then we headed to Leytonstone Elim for the service. This is the church that I attended for many years, served as a secretary and youth leader, and where Colin and I got married.
I love that the boys were able to experience some different types of churches and services while we were in London. Zane really loved the singing and danced and sang loudly during the fast songs. There were quite a few people still around from my time there and it was good to see them. There was a great word by the youth pastor, who it turns out, is part of the Jamaican Miller family that we have lots of connections to both in the Jamaica and the UK.
After the service Nigel showed us around. They’ve done some major updates to the facility since we were there. It’s lovely and a great mix of old and modern and more functional. There were lots of greetings to give to Mom and Dad.
Then we took a bus to Tesco, Zane was not happy that we had to go on what he calls a “sad bus” which means not a double decker bus. We got supplies for a picnic and headed to the Hollow Ponds/Epping Forest area and had lunch.
When Colin and I were dating, we hired a boat on Hollow Ponds and remembered it as quite a romantic experience. The boys were excited to hire a boat. The water level was quite low, but off we went. Colin at the oars first, then the boys together, then they each had a turn. Oh my goodness, we laughed so much. We were also terrified of falling in because the water was not nice. Needless to say, it was not at all romantic, but it was fun!
Headed back to the hotel and had some time at the playground/pub combo. Colin and I played cards while the boys “worked out”. They made a Bangladeshi friend and brought him over and introduced us to him. We sat between a family from Yorkshire and a couple from Newcastle. They chatted to us and to each other. Lots of laughs. Politics, football, phones, travel, accents, cars, and where to find the best fish and chips in the UK (Michael’s Fish Bar on Hainault Road, obviously) – the topics were wide ranging. It was just so British and International and good. Also, I totally beat Colin at Gin.
The boys have developed some traditions in our time here including getting one of the hotel keys from us and racing ahead of us, getting to the room first and hiding . They have found a remarkable number of places to hide in our one room and one bathroom. When G&B were at the hotel, they were on the floor below us and asked if it was our boys they could hear racing down the hall.
I was feeling a bit bad that we’ve done a lot more grown up things and non-entertainment stuff, a lot of walking and exploring old places, museums, galleries, but the boys have also had some amazing multicultural experiences. They’ve been amazing travel companions and have learned so much, have been curious about places and art and historical things. There have been moments when they were tired or cranky, but overall they have been fabulous. We’re all learning and growing. We’ve also grabbed some fun kid experiences along the way – playgrounds and parks.
I’ve been impressed with their stamina and great attitudes as we’ve just gone and walked and done random things and met lots of different people. I honestly still can’t process all that we’ve done and seen. There have been lots of little magic moments and places. I’m feeling very thankful.