Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Our New Chair

Our new chair finally arrived and we LOVE it!

Not only do we love the fun, bright color (it is much brighter in person) and sleek shape, but it we also love how comfy it is.  It is one of those chairs that you can really sink into; it has quickly become the favorite spot in the room.

Charlotte enjoyed sitting in it, but asked me to issue a warning about how easy it is to tip over in.  She recommends making sure you can sit up unaided before trying the chair on your own. 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Notes from the Underground

Old-timey looking sign that is probably actually old-timey
When we lived in Washington, I considered the Metro a necessary evil, with a somewhat greater emphasis on the latter part of that sentiment.  Oh, I felt fortunate to be able to get from home to work and back without getting in a car.  And Metro is convenient so long as you don't want to get to Georgetown, Adams Morgan, or anywhere near the National Cathedral (who ever goes to those places, though, right?).  And so long as you have 20 minutes to wait for a train.

But it's so clean, the DC tourist says.  Metro has all the cleanliness of a shag carpet-covered toilet seat.  Sure, the stench of steaming urine doesn't pervade the stations quite like in New York, but carpet?  Really?  On a train?  Genius.  Give me the New York subway's hard surfaces any day.  A vat of disinfectant and a fire hose: clean car.  But I digress.

This post is probably long overdue given how iconic the Underground is.  It's the oldest subway in the world (1863), and the second-longest by track length.  More importantly for the purposes of this post, I ride it every day.

Two blocks from our flat

This is our station: Clapham North.  Clapham North lies on the Northern Line, six stops from London Bridge station, near my office.

Clapham North is a particularly pleasant subway station.  All of the people working there (yes, Metro riders, more than one person works at the station, and they don't sit in that box all day) are really nice, they have classical or opera playing at all hours, and there's wisdom on offer via the "thought of the day" dry-erase board.

Not actually taken at Clapham North, but it looks the same

Waiting for a train on the platform is usually only a brief experience.  In the morning, trains arrive every 60 seconds or so.  Unfortunately, the Northern Line is a "deep tube" line, and in consequence of its depth, the cars are designed to carry hobbits, and very few of them at that.

Pictures don't do justice...

Here are some shots from my morning commute.  In such tight quarters, hazards include pickpockets, fake-tanned women pressed against your jacket, and getting your whiskers caught in the gabardine suit of the man your face is smashed into.  If the pictures don't paint the picture well enough, there's this: the Northern Line alone carries almost 207 million people per year; the entire DC Metro system carries just over 215 million. the lack of space...
...and potential for uncomfortable rubbing up-againsts.

The Northern Line can be a bit confusing.  Going north, there are three destinations your train can reach (Edgware, High Barnet, and Mill Hill East), but that really only matters if you are going to north London.  The confusing part is that there are two different ways you can get to those three destinations (via Bank or via Charing Cross), and the two different ways take you through very different parts of the city. 

Hey, that's me in the reflection!

Other than the cramped quarters and potential to get very lost, riding the Tube on a daily basis is not a bad experience.  People are generally considerate, which I attribute less to the courteous nature of Londoners than to the stylish design of the posters telling riders how to behave.  (Really, Transport for London do have some lovely things for the home if you can't get enough of subway chic.)

People not tempted by the siren song of subway food
Here's another difference between the DC Metro and the Tube: you can eat and drink in the Tube.  In fact, they sell food and drink in some of the stations.  For years, I made lukewarm efforts to conceal my coffee, lunch, whole roast chicken, or whatever on the Metro, and now I don't have to.  The odd thing is this: you rarely will see someone eating or drinking on the Tube.  Maybe it's true that we only want what we can't have.
In the words of a dear departed Deacon, "you say so."
Before we moved here, some of our British friends in London warned us about the Northern Line, which is one of two lines that run to London Bridge station (the other is the Jubilee).  They said that it was regularly broken down.  Far be it from me to disagree after only living here for a few months, so I'll just say that I've been lucky so far.  Then again, even when there are delays, the signs seem to always proclaim that the line is running "good service."

After my day at work ends, it's off to this place.  There's a Krispy Kreme stand here that I never go to (they have some interesting-looking flavors...but I can get a heart attack for less than £1.50, thank you very much).  There's also an old man who hands out copies of the Evening Standard, saying, "thanks!" with each paper he hands out.

My iPhone had been at the pub before taking this photo
And down this chute.

And a safe trip back home to Clapham.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Sick Baby

Poor Charlotte woke up around 11:00pm last night and vomited more times than we could count.  I called my mom who recommended I try feeding her so she wouldn't get dehydrated but she couldn't keep that down either.  She wasn't running a fever, but I was worried enough that I ended up calling NHS Direct for some (free) advice.  A nurse called me back within a few hours and helped me give Charlotte a thorough checkout over the phone.  She asked lots of very specific questions and had me check everything from her soft spot (normal) to the temperature of her hands (normal).  The nurse said it didn't sounds too serious and to call if anything changed or if she was showing signs of dehydration.

She ended up sleeping until around 3:00am when she woke up wanting to feed.  I was relieved when she kept it down and even more relieved when she wanted to feed again at 6:00am.  By the time she was ready to get up, she was her old self again.  It seems that something must have disagreed with her stomach and she was better once it was all out.  Poor baby!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Happy Six Months Charlie!

It is hard to believe that we've only known our sweet Charlie for six months. Yet, it was exactly six months ago today . . .

on the day after Christmas . . .

that we first saw this precious face . . .

that brought us such joy . . . 

and changed our lives forever.

We love you Charlie!  Happy six months!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Notting Hill

This morning Jason, Charlotte and I took the tube up to Notting Hill:

Notting Hill is a lovely London neighbourhood that was made (more) famous by the movie of the same name with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in 1999.

[Hold on a sec.  Charlotte wants to type something]:

b.v  n  nn -f

We started the morning at a little farmers market.  Jason bought some unpasteurised milk (he's been talking about getting some for years!):

They had all sorts of fuits and veg (as they say here).  The berries were particularly beautiful:



They also had lovely flowers:

And gorgeous herb bouquets:


There were beautiful baked goods as well:

After the farmer's market, we took our first (and last) trip to Portobello Road.  We were looking forward to seeing the famous market and visiting some antique shops.  It is a gorgeous sunny day here in London, so perhaps we should have expected the mass of people who also made their way to Portobello Road this morning.  It was an impressive crowd:

After a few blocks, we headed down a side street instead.  Many of the merchants had lovely displays out that didn't require a helmet and elbow pads to get to:

We then took a leisurely walk over to Kensington.  We stumbled upon the restaurant where we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary two years ago:

August 7, 2009

Then we headed over for another walk through Hyde Park.  We didn't take many photos because the camera was about to die, but we did get a few with Our Little Loveday:

We took a bus home and picked up some tapas for dinner (to compliment the fresh cheese from the farmer's market!).  All and all, it was a perfect day in London!

Friday, 24 June 2011

A London Breastfeeding Flashmob!

This afternoon Charlotte and I hopped on a bus and headed up to Paddington Station.  We were headed to participate in our first ever flashmob!

For those of you unfamiliar with flashmobs, they basically involve a group of people making some sort of unexpected performance in public.  There are loads of YouTube videos (like this one to music from the Sound of Music in Belgium) of choreographed dances, songs and even opera scenes sprung on unsuspecting grocery shoppers and cafeteria patrons.  (My personal favorite is when Oprah's audience surprised her with a flashmob during a live broadcast.  For some reason it always makes me cry!  You can watch the video here.)

I can't entirely remember how I found out about the booby flashmob, but I think I may have stumbled upon it while looking for a breastfeeding support group I had heard was on Facebook (The Leaky B@@b).  I signed up for the "UK's Biggest Breastfeeding Flashmob" Facebook page and made a note of the date in my calendar.

As the day drew nearer, I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to participate, but then I heard of a woman in Hampstead who was kicked out of a pub for breastfeeding her baby.   She was told that "people are trying to eat".  Huh?  What?  I decided in that moment that I would definitely join the flashmob.

Charlotte and I arrived at the station about fifteen minutes before the flashmob was scheduled to start.  I saw a lot of moms and babies wandering around and started chatting with a group of them. 

At 2:00 on the dot, all the moms made their way into a big open space and began to sit on the floor.  (I didn't think ahead enough to bring a blanket so I borrowed some space from another mom.)  Once I got Charlotte settled I was able to get some shots of what was going on.

My favorite shot is of this guy who was so caught up in his phone that he didn't realize he was in the middle of a flashmob!

He started laughing once he realized what was going on. 

And that was basically it!  There were lots of moms and babies and boobies.  I have gotten more comfortable breastfeeding in public without my Hooter Hider (yes, it is really called that) and this helped me feel even more confident about it. 

There were a number of people from the press there, so I'm hoping it might make the news.  Here is a shot of some of the photographers after the mob was wrapping up:

Afterwards, Charlotte and I joined some other moms at Hyde Park.  Charlotte took her first ride on a swing!  She loved it!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...