Claire and Ava in Gruyeres, Switzerland

Claire and Ava in Gruyeres, Switzerland

October, 2011

October, 2011
Chess in Lausanne, Switzerland

Thursday, August 27, 2009


As we made our way down the landing strip at the fine Bozeman airport, our plane passed Air Force I. Apparently Obama and family were enjoying some time in Yellowstone after one of his healthcare meetings.

At the rental car counter I was informed we got a free upgrade; I had to laugh when I got to the car: it was the size of a cooper. I wonder what they had us in before? A motorbike? Rickshaw?

Our time in Montana was good – we again stayed in the Meine cabin, where Carl Meini lived alone on and off for several years. Then it did not have running water or electricity. Today the amenities are quite nice, same solid wood timbers, covered porch and view (think Zane Grey’s avid descriptions of purple sage, rolling hills, craggy rocks, mountains and canyons, jack fence running here and there). Off to our right are Randy’s horses (close enough to hear the occasional whinny, far enough away to avoid odors and flies), to the left Kim and Randy’s home and a guest house.

The first couple days here were cool but remainder sunny and warm (you should have heard the complaints about the heat). As for me, I soaked it up. Sun sun sun.

The kids had a ball with Grace, who is now 12, tall and lovely and looking beyond her years already. When did pre-teens start looking like 17-year-olds?

They also had lots of fun visiting the horses, playing w/ Grandma’s kittens, the rabbit and Romeo’s dog, who loves to catch -- and chew up -- Frisbees.

We made use of our time and the local Y for swim lessons, pulling Abbey’s daughter, Ivy, into the fold. Given swimming instruction jerked to a halt last fall with our move, I’m taking whatever opportunity I can to re-engage the kids on pool skills.

Bonus on this Y business: I got to work out with weight machines for the first time since February! (Must say, it felt great. Well not so great a day or so later.)

In addition to catching up w/ Mom, Dad, David, Romeo and Grace, we had a nice evening w/ Abbey and Ivy, some picture-sharing and coffee with Kim and a good visit with Aunt Bonnie. The kids were in heaven at her house; Aunt Bonnie has continued to collect American Girl clothes and a few dolls as well. She passed one on to Ava, who is in seventh heaven.

The doll has already had her hair beautifully brushed several dozen times. She’s been changed regularly into all her fancy costumes – sun dresses, ball gowns, day dresses, a nightie, etc. Aunt Bonnie has accrued accessories for many of the outfits, so it’s a child’s (and adult’s) delight.

I loved hearing how Aunt Bonnie pops her laptop on her lap in the evenings and checks out e-bay for doll clothes and takes care of her new webkinz, among other things. I marvel at how ranch women like her and Mom have embraced the computer. I shouldn’t be surprised, given they’ve also driven tractors and taken on all kinds of technological advances in other aspects of their lives.

We also caught up with Marilyn and Aunt Estelle, who both seem to be doing well.

Other highlights:

- lunch at Wheat, Montana's fabulous deli. Bread that rivals even France's!

- 3 hours at Elkhorn hot springs, where cool water (and chlorine) have not been allowed into the water for some years now due to Forest Service or other government regulation. No doubt the person making that decision hasn’t been swimming in moss. Still, the water feels great and since we’ve been going to Elkhorn for as long as I can remember, it would be a shame to let a little lichen grind it to a halt. (Plus let’s face it; it’s cleaner than Wisconsin lake water any day of the week.)

- Dinner at the ski hill – great burger.

- Annual visit to Dillon’s bookstore – that woman runs a great independent book shop. We all left with something to enjoy.

- Likewise, annual visit to Patagonia Outlet. Great stuff, especially if you’re a trekker, mountain biker, skier, etc. Given I’m the London city chick, I didn’t find much I’d actually wear, other than a black coat that doesn’t scream sport. It just screams warm. Therein I’m now the proud owner. Great price, too.

- While we’re on the shopping topic, I did also make a stop at Walmart. I must say, Butte’s Walmart is the nicest Walmart I’ve ever been in. Clean, wide aisles, no long lines (at least not the day Claire and I whistled through). Our mission: toiletries we can’t find in the UK. (Reality is, we can find most things, but there are a few items sold here that I prefer – vitamins, Viactiv, children’s Tylenol, etc.)

30 minutes (can you believe I got out of Walmart that fast?!!) and several grocery bags later, we were done and on to Herberger’s (think Dillards), where we got a few things for the kids for fall. Now how about traveling w/ all this stuff?!?

- Coffee on the porch of our little cabin. It doesn’t get any better. Well, yes it does: kids sleeping in so I can enjoy coffee on the porch!

- A couple hours spent in the hay field not working but enjoying the view and watching the action as Romeo, David and Uncle Jules wrapped things up. I had a nice chat w/ Uncle Jules, and later in the evening we met up with he and Aunt Bonnie for a celebratory dinner at the Lion’s Den. It isn’t a visit to Dillon without one of their fillets.

- Plenty of my mother’s fabulous cooking – red meat fest!

- A great visit w/ Julie and her daughters at Crystal Park, where we picnicked (roasted hot dogs followed by s’mores are hard to beat) and dug for crystals. Kids had fun finding treasure.

- Another great, albeit too short, visit with Jeanette, Carson and Sean. As we flew out of Idaho Falls, we took the opportunity to stop in at her home in Chester, Idaho, where the kids got to play and she and I got to catch up a bit.

- Putting 1,100 miles on our little red rental...there is no better place to drive than out west. 80 mph on vacant interstates with views beyond belief.

And then we were headed home! Three flights and many hours later we landed at Heathrow. Now, at 10 a.m., the kids are still sleeping…

Wisconsin, continued…and on to Montana

Well we wrapped up Wisconsin with lots of laughs, great weather (apparently that hadn’t been the norm over the course of summer so we lucked out), a couple of bonfires and some delicious fish.

Jim surprised us all with a special guest, who seemed to jump right in and enjoy herself amidst the 35ish or so Webers.

Highlights of the week:

- Sarah found a leech. Stuck to her, I might add. She popped it off and it didn’t seem to deter her from further water enjoyment.

- Mike W.’s plans to bike to Bond Falls in Michigan were deterred by an ornery wheel, unfortunately. Still, his family, ours, the Riggs and the Thomes drove up for a great view. Mike R. and Matthew experienced the falls firsthand, the rest of us meandered up the path around them. And then we all enjoyed a picnic lunch.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch the annual Cathy’s ice cream fest was on.

- Waterskiing. Some of the little people tried it this year, John showed us how it was done with great persistence and the rest of us did our best to make a good audience.

- A few deer, some eagles, chipmunks, squirrels and other assorted wildlife were sighted throughout the week as we enjoyed kayaking, biking, hiking, swimming and just plain laying around.

- The kids moved from volleyball court to sand pit to beach to raft and seemed to thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.

- And dinners were tasty, low stress affairs. As it should be!

- Joe and I had a morning date – a nice hike around an area lake, followed by breakfast at the Wolfpack Café.

And suddenly it was Saturday! With some good-byes on Friday and several early departures on Sunday, the kids and I set off Bozeman, Montana. Joe left at 4:00 a.m. for Chicago. His early morning motivation: a Cubs game.

Jim and his guest graciously dropped us at the Rhinelander airport, where the check-in people watched as passengers used the self check in machine (what’s wrong w/ this picture…).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More R&R in Wisconsin

I must say yesterday was a terribly uneventful but delightfully relaxing day in Wisconsin...

I think a couple of fish were caught, the boat canvassed the lake a few times, Dave could be found on the same lawn chair in the same spot as years past, some people found trinkets and trash at the flea market...

In other news:

I started off the day w/ coffee cup in hand on the back porch and delighted in a hummingbird flitting over my head.

Joe and I collaborated w/ the Riggs to make a lasagne dinner which, I must say, waas topnotch. (You put enough cheese on anything and it's good.)

The power went off for an hour or so (thankfully we were entertained w/ a campfire at the time).

And the kids seemed to all have a ball. One highlight was watching John, Joe C., Gus and Scott engage them in duck duck goose in the volleyball court.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beer & Brats

This post is for Ken: the brats were OUTSTANDING, as were all the potato salads and sides. Outrivals any 5-star.

Yesterday was a great Sunday in Wisconsin -- no rain, weather was lovely for the most part, my brother in law and I kayaked for a couple of hours through gorgeous lily pads and watched as a duck took flight over our heads.

Our other wildlife sighting was a very nonchalant deer watched as we returned from our Walmart load up. (Walmart hasn't changed one iota, not that I expected it to, in 8 mos.) Except maybe the patience of the customers behind us more tried. Oblivious to some woman's ire over the our slow and chatty clerk, I did not hear her yell at us to stop talking and speed it up.

The kids traveled like a pack from one spot to another around the lake compound, everyone oohed and aahed about the new baby and Joe caught the first fish. Oh, and we all enjoyed the Sunday evening welcome dinner of bratwursts, beer and a plethora of potato related sides.

Not a bad way to start the week! And Ken, if you're reading this, I'm sure your ears are burning because plenty of stories circled about you last night...all in good humor.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Little St. Germain

Saturday, August 8

After more sleep, we rolled out and hit the pool -- good waterpark entertainment for the kids -- then drove by the high school where Jack taught. We decided the track is still the same as when he coached there.

With Joan in the car, we drove onto the lake -- Little St. Germain -- and the Idle Hours resort (I use the term "resort" loosely; if you're thinking of booking a spa-like resort w/ big fluffy towels and robes to crawl into, champagne on ice awaiting you in your room, an expert massuese ready to remove all the travel pains you've accrued in your drive/flight here, succulent 5-course'll need to go somewhere else.)

We've got wood cabins, no towels, a TV with one or two channels on a good day, no restaurant, I can't even find a coffee filter, the huge decadent looking tub downstairs doesn't generate much hot get the picture.

Still, we enjoy the place, the people who run it are good to us, the lake is gorgeous and immediately accessible, occasionally someone (other than myself) catches a fish and we pack ourselves into our cabins (typically 3, this year 2) so by the time the week ends we're all ready to go!

I must also add that, judging by stories of past Weber vacations, this place is 5 star.

Re: arrival -- we got in mid afternoon, unpacked, hit Mass, ate frozen pizzas and caught up with the half of the group that trickled in. On Sunday most of the rest will arrive. May the weather be friendly!

We're in the Midwest!

August 6 -- After 9 hours of flight time (which managed to go very quickly -- attributable, in my case, to three movies. Let's just say I haven't watched many films in the last year. Joe and I did manage to plow through all Seinfeld re-runs in triplicate while in India, though).

Anyway, 9 hours of flying later, Northwest 103 pulled into Minneapolis, we whipped through customs, got bags, grabbed the hotel shuttle and checked into some Holiday Inn.

All those points we accrued in the Crowne Plaza Gurgaon delivered: free chicken legs and carrots w/ ranch dressing. You too could shelp to India, check into a hotel for 4 months and enjoy the occasional room upgrade, free cholesterol packed snacks and Milwaukee light or old style or whatever the flavor of the day is in Minn.

With that snack, we hit the hay, woke up at 3:00 a.m. of course and laid there until it was a suitable enough time to get up. Thus we had plenty of morning in which to use the hotel pool, have our freebie points breakfast (again, you too could enjoy this Holiday Inn perk simply by hitting the CP in India, or somewhere else less third world, of course), pick up the rental car, etc.

Raining cats and dogs in Minneapolis (didn't we leave that behind in London, for pete's sake?) we went to the destination of all destinations: the Mall of America.

On a mission to find shoes, Joe scored, I found a few things on my mad dash through Macy's, we picked up a couple of cheap items at Old Navy (cheap and Old Navy in same sentence goes without saying), we had lunch at Bubba Gump Fish Company and enjoyed such friendly service. (Do love living in London but customer service in the U.S. is delightful.)

And then it was off to Pepin, Wisconsin. Once we got away from the suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul the drive was spectacular -- wooded and hilly, and we followed Lake Pepin for several miles.

In Pepin, birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder (and one of Claire's favorite authors -- she's read all 9 books several times over) we stopped at the Pepin Museum, which is also home of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. (Since the Ingalls family moved around the midwest there is more than one museum, btw.)

We had fun checking out the place, which has old photos, trinkets, tools, clothing, etc. which belonged to her and to others living in the area during the same timeframe.

Then we drove out to the site of the original Ingalls cabin. (After any family sees the place downsizing comes to mind; who really needs 3,500 square feet to house 5 people and a dog?)

It's a pituresque little log cabin surrounded by corn fields and hills; one can envision Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace gathered outside to watch the sunset. Maybe I've seen too many Little House on the Prairie episodes.

From Pepin we drove on to Marshfield, Wisc., where Jack and Joan lived for several years. Their first 3 or 4 children were born there, I believe, and Jack was a high school teacher and coach at the time.

Joan's dear friend Ms. Chevy made us a lovely dinner, and we left the two ladies to reminisce while we checked into Holiday Inn number 2. (Apparently HI is a not ticket in Wisc. -- they seem to be in every town.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Headed to US!

Today we fly to Minn/St. Paul and so will begin the annual Weber family vacation and Montana visit.

We've had a nice, albeit short, week in London...Monday we took Joan to St. Paul's Cathedral and spent the afternoon tooling around there. About St. Paul's:

A Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood on its since 604AD. The current one – the fourth to occupy the site – was designed by the court architect Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. It is the cathedral of the Diocese of London.

Its architectural and artistic importance reflect the determination of the five monarchs who oversaw its building that London’s leading church should be as beautiful and imposing as their private palaces.

Since the first service was held here in 1697, Wren's masterpiece has been where people and events of overwhelming importance to the country have been celebrated, mourned and commemorated.

Important services have included the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill; Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the launch of the Festival of Britain; the Service of Remembrance and Commemoration for the 11th September 2001: the 80th and 100th birthdays of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, to Lady Diana Spencer and, most recently, the thanksgiving services for both the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.

In the crypt are effigies and fragments of stone that pre-date the Cathedral, relics of a medieval world. From Wren’s original vision, Jean Tijou’s beautiful wrought iron gates of 1700 still separate the quire from the ambulatory; children still test the acoustics in the Whispering Gallery; and the 1695 organ which Mendelssohn once played is still in use.

The magnificent mosaics are the result of Queen Victoria’s mid-19th century complaint that the interior was “most dreary, dingy and undevotional.” The American Memorial Chapel stands behind the High Altar in an area that was bomb-damaged during the Second World War – a gesture of gratitude to the American dead of the Second World War from the people of Britain. An altar has now been installed on a dais in the heart of the Cathedral, bringing services closer to those who attend them.

Tuesday our outing for the day was tea at The Ritz, which is popular among tourists and London's upper crust.

So we put on our finery, hoisted umbrellas and enjoyed the opulence of the Ritz and its tea:

Served in the spectacular Palm Court, a choice of several varieties of tea, finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones, jam and clotted cream and a range of delicate pastries, combine to make for an unforgettable afternoon.

The kids went for the ham finger sandwiches, Ava ate all the cucumbers off the cucumber ones and licked as much butter off the bread as was possible. She also very much enjoyed the clotted cream (not so much the scone upon which she lathered it).

And of course the desserts were impeccable.

In one of our bathroom trips we discovered a tourist down there taking photos. Nice bathroom, BUT...

And yesterday we wrapped up some errands, hit the park, tried out a new gelato spot and are ready to head out!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tourists in our town

July 23 - August 3

With Joe's mom and brother in town, we've been hitting many of the major tourist sites about town the last week and half.

On Thursday we jaunted on down to the Tower of London to spend a few hours perusing...

Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London (and historically as The Tower), is the oldest building used by the British government.

The Tower of London is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.

Its primary function was a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison (particularly for high status and royal prisoners, such as the Princes in the Tower and the future Queen Elizabeth I). This last use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower" (meaning "imprisoned"). It has also served as a place of execution and torture, an armoury, a treasury, a zoo, the Royal Mint, a public records office, an observatory, and since 1303, the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

The Crown Jewels have been kept at the Tower of London since 1303, after they were stolen from Westminster Abbey. It is thought that most, if not all, were recovered shortly afterwards. After the coronation of Charles II, they were locked away and shown for a viewing fee paid to a custodian. However, this arrangement ended when Colonel Thomas Blood stole the Crown Jewels after having bound and gagged the custodian. Thereafter, the Crown Jewels were kept in a part of the Tower known as Jewel House, where armed guards defended them.

Upon entering the Tower, our first stop was the Medieval Palace, which contains "fabulous" interiors used by medieval kings and queens during their frequent but short visits to their most important fortress.

We then oohed and aahed over the Crowned Jewels, which were pre-empted by videos showing some of them in use in coronations and parades. From there, we headed to the White Tower, where a special exhibit -- Dressed to Kill (described below) -- celebrates the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII.

Some of the world's rarest arms and armour have been selected from the treasures of the Royal Armouries and international collections. These spectacular objects have not been seen together since the reign of his daughter Elizabeth I. Part propaganda, part fashion, the exhibition conveys the power, majesty, wealth and psychology of the man, the icon and the king - who always ensured he was "Dressed to Kill."

Towered out, we hustled back home so Jim and Joan could head to Rome w/ Claire and Joe. Ava and I elected to stay home and order pizza.

On Friday, as Joe and co. checked out the Vatican and surroundings, Ava and grabbed umbrellas and headed off to Winsdor for Ava's first ballet performance. She and I were captivated by the English National Ballet's performance of Angelina Ballerina's Big Audition.

It was performed in the Windsor Royal Theatre, which is a beautiful, historic, very intimate theatre in downtown Windsor, right across from the castle (seems like everything is right across from the castle, given its size).

Very well done, with wonderful costuming and staging. All told, it lasted an hour, perfect for all the lovely little girls in the audience (there were a few boys and men, not many). I might add that Ava wore her pink ballet costume for the event.

We traversed our way back via train and tube, then embarked once again in the rain to have pasta at Cafe Med, a nice local restaurant with fireplace up and running to counter the drizzle.

On Saturday, which dawned sunny and gorgeous, we bussed it down to Victoria Station, grabbed a ticket from the machine and hopped on a train to Brighton, a well known beach town and destination for London's upper crust in the 18th century.

It's an easy town to wander; we found our way down to the pebbly beach right away, where we grabbed lunch and played in the water. Then wandered through some beach area markets and into a huge playground, where Ava spent plenty of time. Her favorite seemed to be the wading pool.

From there we checked out the pier, penny arcade and merry go round (have hit more merry go rounds in the past year than I would ever have imagined), then into the windy streets of downtown. We were in search of a dry dress, given Ava's was soaked from the beach. Eventually, after perusing every area of town (or so it seemed -- the place is filled with with restaurants, by the way), we found a Gap, got a little purple number and stopped for a drink before heading back toward the train.

Lovely, easy out of town trip, and so nice to soak up the sun, along with hundreds of other visitors.

On Sunday we headed down to the Covent Garden area for a performance of "Going on a Bear Hunt," Ava's first play. Again, a small theatre and we had great seats, not too close to the stage yet close enough (mid way through the audience, particularly those in front, got doused w/ squirt guns). So we were in drier territory.

The play was fun, with great music to set the tone, lots of audience interaction/participation and just the right length for the young crowd. Ava seemed to enjoy it very much. She and I then headed down to the Sunday market for some meat, veggies and bread, stopping at a sidewalk cafe for lunch on the way home.

Very nice weekend.

Our travelers returned Monday morning, with Joan electing to relax a bit, given a very early flight and lots of walking around hot Rome.

Jim headed down to the British Museum and around town to explore on his own.

Tuesday we tripped off to Windsor Castle and spent several hours wandering through. It's absolutely lovely, with much history and gorgeous, detailed decor, and it's also fun to see one of the properties that is actually lived in and used for various royal functions throughout the year.

Windsor is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and the Official Residence of Her Majesty The Queen. Its rich history spans almost 1000 years. The Castle covers an area of about 5 hectares (13 acres) and contains magnificent State Apartments furnished with treasures from the Royal Collection, St George's Chapel (one of the most beautiful ecclesiastical buildings in England and the burial place of 10 monarchs), and Queen Mary's Dolls House, a masterpiece in miniature.

We checked all of the above out, with audio guides to give us some detail on what we were seeing.

Starving, we wolfed down some ice cream before leaving the place (the only food served in the place -- plan accordingly when you go!) and headed back to London via trains/tube. Great day out!

Wednesday found us at Buckingham Palace for a special tour of the State Rooms, which are only open to the public for a couple months of the year. That, too, was a great experience:

Buckingham Palace serves as both the office and London residence of Her Majesty The Queen, as well as the administrative headquarters of the Royal Household. It is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today.

Today the State Rooms are used extensively by The Queen and Members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. During August and September when The Queen makes her annual visit to Scotland, the Palace's nineteen state rooms are open to visitors.

The State Rooms form the heart of the working palace and are lavishly furnished with some of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection - paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin and Canaletto; sculpture by Canova; exquisite examples of Sèvres porcelain; and some of the finest English and French furniture.

As part of the Summer Opening of the State Rooms, an exhibition of dresses, jewels, photographs, and gifts presented to Her Majesty by the people of the Commonwealth is on display.

The Queen has travelled further than any other monarch in history and has made over 170 official visits to Commonwealth countries during her reign. The exhibition represents six regions of the Commonwealth: Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, The Caribbean and Central America, Asia (including India), Island Peoples and Pacific Realms. It highlights The Queen’s role at the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings, of which she has attended 32, and some particularly important inward State Visits from Commonwealth countries.

On the way out we got to tour the gardens, which are gorgeous.

Back at home, the kids and I headed off to a birthday party while Jim and Joan relaxed a bit and got ready for the theatre -- they were off to see Jersey Boys at one of the historic theatres in Leicester Square.

Jim left Thursday; Joan, the kids and I spent a couple hours at the Princess Diana Memorial Playground, which they love. After ice cream we wandered over to Kensington Palace to check out Lady Di's dresses and ended up wandering through the Palace rooms, which are lovely and very different from the other palace rooms we saw earlier in the week.

On Friday we took the tube down to Covent Garden and sat outside watching street entertainers and the big crowd gathering around them. It was a gorgeous day just to relax and wander -- we had cookies at Ben's, checked out the market, then made our way back to St. John's Wood to relax on the patio.

Joe, Joan and I had dinner at the Warrington, a gastropub in a lovely, very British building, formerly a hotel. The interior is warm, with much wood, lovely mirrors and decor. The restaurant upstairs serves very good English food, so we had beers in the bar, then moved up for our meal.

Saturday found us at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, a wooden round theatre with thatched roof, a replica of the original Shakespearean venue that was built in the 1500's. (It had burned down -- in the 1900's an American actor spearheaded re-creation of today's Globe, which hosts performances through part of the year -- April to October, I think. It's open air, with some wooden benches protected from the weather. As was done during Shakespeare's time, the "cheap" seats are for those willing to stand for 2 hours, rain or no rain, without umbrellas.)

We took a tour of the facility, wherein a guide showed us the theatre and gave us a bit of background, then shepherded us in to a couple of different vantage points so we could watch as a group rehearsed for Helen of Troy, opening the following evening.

No speakers are used, so the wood makeup of the theatre is essential for acoustics, as is the round shape of the building. Costuming is done similarly to how it would have been during Shakespeare's time. In short, the Globe works extensively to re-create the experience of old.

After the tour we wandered through the museum, which provides a great deal of history regarding London during Shakespeare's time, his plays, language, costumes, makeup, etc. Lots of interactive displays, which made it interesting for the kids (you could see how various stage effects were achieved, for example, or record yourself saying lines, then listen as they were incorporated with other actors' delivery).

One part of the facility has a stage and practice area, so small groups were fencing and practicing various other performance skills while we wandered through.

After a sandwich at the Globe cafe we headed home to relax a bit.

For Sunday Mass we made our way down to Westminster Cathedral. Joe and Ava escorted Joan up to the bell tower to look out over London, while Claire and I shopped for a cross for our house.

We then attended Mass, perused the church and came away with our lovely wooden cross.

After a quick bite at Pret (these places are all over London and are my favorite fast food venue -- grab and go sandwiches), we headed home and I hit the theatre for the 2nd movie I've seen since leaving the U.S.: Coco before Chanel.

I enjoyed it very much; it's a French film, subtitled, beautiful acting.

Upon my return we had a pizza making party!

Jama Masjid, Old Delhi

Jama Masjid, Old Delhi
Largest mosque in India