Monday, October 15, 2012


On the path from our B&B...

A much-needed quiet morning in our B&B, after a big day in London at the art fair.  My head was so befuddled with time change and travel fatigue that I arrived at Diane and Matthew's mid-morning having completely forgotten that this was the date of Diane's birthday.  I walked in on the family in the midst of opening presents and exchanging greetings without the first idea, for a moment, about what was going on.  Such an embarrassment!

Diane had planned for us all to take the train down to London for a boat ride up the Thames to Greenwich and a tour of the museums there, and a view of the Cutty Sark, now preserved for tourist enjoyment at that location.  Unfortunately, I had to act the killjoy for the day.  A severe sore on my inner lip, along with sleepless nights--for both of us--and attendant travel fatigue symptoms led me to beg for a less ambitious outing.  Instead, we all took the train to St. Albans, a mere ten minutes down the line, and stopped off for a leisurely lunch at a very pleasant, airy restaurant that Diane recommended.

The children were anxious to do some shopping after lunch--not my favorite occupation, nor Jason's.  So he and I set off on a brisk walk to see the Roman remains at the edge of town, once known as Verulanium.  A couple of showers along the way, one heavy enough for us to take shelter under one of those great English shade trees nearby.  And by the time we reached the site of the ancient Roman theater...

... there was a steady drizzle to contend with--alternating with brief sunlit moments.  The ruins were a great reminder of the inexorable passage of time--the blink of an eye or an eternity, depending on your view, since the Romans put on their theatrical or gladiatorial shows or sometimes, we read, a public execution.  You could almost hear the yells across the centuries.

We walked back alongside the lake in the cathedral park...

... watching the children feeding the ducks and swans or tottering along on little bikes with training wheels. Lots of families out with their dogs for a Saturday afternoon stroll.  A delightful scene.

We met up with the family again at a bookshop on the main street and piled into a multi-seater taxi for the ride back to Harpenden.  Time to relax at the B&B for an hour or so before heading back to the homestead for a pre-theater meal.  Matthew, a long-time song-and-dance enthusiast, had a supporting lead role in the local light operatic society's production of the Gilbert & Sullivan classic, "The Pirates of Penzance."  A lot of fun.  There was an acoustic problem with the structure of the hall, with the small orchestra set squarely in front of the stage, making it difficult to follow the words, but the performance was otherwise nicely done and it was a joy to see Matthew so involved in something that brings him so much evident pleasure and satisfaction.

Arriving back late at our B&B, we were once again too tired to sleep!

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