Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Welcome to England"...

... is how it looked in the morning when we woke. A cold drizzle of rain. Very disappointing, for folks who had come all the way from London to find some sunshine. I said as much to Matthew when I picked him up for the drive out to the Irvine Amtrak station to pick up his Mom, arriving by train from Iowa, via Albuquerque, where she had spent some time with friends. We drove up through the canyon in the rain and arrived in good time to learn that the train was delayed by a few minutes. We were still debating where to pick her up when we were surprised by a shout from the other end of the track... She had taken an earlier train and had been waiting in the drab cafe.

Dropping them off at the hotel I returned at home for a quiet breakfast with Ellie before the gang arrived. Here they are, enjoying yesterday's blog entry...



By this time, the weather was clearing just a bit, and we decided to make the most of the opportunity for a walk we had planned along the long beach at Crystal Cove.



A good choice, as it turned out, because the weather continued to clear and we all had a great time strolling along the water's edge, exploring tide pools and beach combing. Here's Alice...



Georgia is an avid beachcomber, like her grandfather, and I had to explain to her, sadly, that we're no longer allowed to take our treasures with us when we leave the beach--a rule she followed graciously enough, but wanted, at least, a picture of her finds...



Sometimes the hunt is pleasure enough in itself. Joe, who had done a report on fossils at school was interested to learn that the huge, circular rocks along the shore are actually ancient tree stumps and fallen trees...




We must have walked a good mile in each direction, and it was already two in the afternoon before we returned to our starting point, by the Beachcomber restaurant nestled between the beach cabins at Crystal Cove...



A good place to stop for a feast of hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and chips... And the sun came out!

We split up, then, into two parties--one, including Diane and the two grandmas, stopped off at Trader Joe's and The Gap for some shopping needs. Matthew and the kids returned to the hotel with me, where the twins were anxious to spend some time in the pool. Alice came back to the cottage, and we picked up George to give him a good run in the park at the Top of the World. Never at ease with children, George has been learning slowly to accept that these are his family, and that he must be at pains to make himself somewhat tolerant of their attentions. Up at the park, Alice took his leash and threw the ball for him, and thus earned his lasting affection. We hope.

I dropped Alice off at the hotel to join the twins in the pool, and drove back home for a brief rest before Ellie arrived back and the supper prep began. Matthew trudged up the hill a little later, to join me for the drive to John Wayne Airport to pick up his brother, Jason, arriving from Iowa via Minneapolis. He had texted earlier from the gate that the flight seemed to be leaving on time, but we should have checked the updates on flight arrivals before leaving; they were half an hour late leaving Minneapolis, delayed by screw-ups over the loading of snacks. I learned to know the circuit at John Wayne much better than I would have wanted to.

But anyway, finally he arrived, and we drove back to Laguna to find the family gathered and hungry. We (now nine of us!) all sat down around our rather small dining table for a delicious white bean soup, spinach salad, and cheeses with good brown bread. A great and regrettably rare occasion, to have so many of us gathered in one place at one time. Unfortunately, no one had the good sense to bring out the camera. There will be another time.

1 comment:

TaraDharma said...

what satisfying encounters with family, nature and food!