Sunday, September 28, 2008

Camden Market, North London

On Saturday, we took a day trip to London to see the Corys before they returned to the U.S. I made a new rule (I am so good at that but it does come back to bite me) that the girls must do one cultural thing every time we go to London, so we started our day at the Natural History Museum. There was a time in my life when I liked to take my children to learn interesting things about the Earth. Apparently that time has passed. We spent way too much time in the geology exhibit, is all I can say. I am secure enough to say that I haven't found information about the planet or stuffed mammals interesting since about fourth grade. Sure, I fondled the obsidian and looked through the microscopes and pushed buttons to find out facts about volcanoes, but more because it's a museum that allows touching without being yelled at. That has been a problem for me in the past and it's mortifying, especially when you don't know you are leaning on the artifact. I think it is more fun to go around natural history museums with little kids, and I did mention to my family that I would not be returning to a natural history museum until I am a grandparent. They looked at me as they always do...with weariness and boredom. I became very discouraged in the human biology exhibit where we played interactive memory games to learn about our brain biology. I totally have early onset dementia.

The Camden Market is fabulous for the young folks. It's a bit of a hike on the Tube but it was worth it. Olivia and Ally had a great time shopping the stalls for overpriced, poorly made and yet darling garments while Anne and I carried the bags, bought them water and made encouraging remarks, like "That is so cute." and "It's your money, do what you want." It was insanely crowded so after an hour or two, we took our leave to a more civilized part of London, near Carnaby Street. There we located Liberty, a really unique and beautiful department store. As Anne is an avid knitter, she wanted some English yarn as a souvenir to work into a scarf for herself--a very nice way to remember her trip, I think. The great thing about haberdashery is there are lots of chairs for knitters, which we used to park our surly teens and bags while looking for yarn. Chip and Pat missed all the fun, in favor of a football match. We parted at Liberty with hugs all around, a fitting place for Americans to say goodbye. Liberty and justice and shopping for all.

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