We're finally back from our trip to the UK. We came home to the USA yesterday and we've been trying to gently reenter normal life. It was a lovely trip, though absolutely crazy in terms of our schedule. We stayed in London for a couple of days, went to Cheltenham, visited Richard's brother and sister and their families on Monday, back down to Cheltenham the same day, hopped down to Devon on Tuesday to see my sisters and oldest best friend and then back up to Cheltenham... and then to Birmingham, then to Cheltenham,... and MORE! Poor old Raf would fall asleep in the car and awake to a new set of faces. He was pretty amazing. It's too much to cover in one blog, so I'll separate it into parts... Part one: London!
The flight out was quite uneventful, though AA are truly an awful company to fly with when you have kids.. at least in our experience. Raf, though, slept most of the way (it was a night flight) and we arrived Friday morning. We booked a taxi to get us from the airport to Louisa's parents' work-owned flat in Earl's Court where Lou met us. It was so wonderful to see her and for Lou to meet Raf!
Rafi in his first London taxi!
That afternoon Lucy met us for coffee - which was really just great. I wish I'd had my camera (hoping Lou has some photos!) as Lucy also met Raf for the first time. After we met Lucy we returned to the flat and then I went out again to meet up with an old friend, Alex, from primary school! My first time in an English pub in a few years.. oh, I really miss that. Alex came back to the flat and met Raf, as well... All these old friends meeting our son was quite odd, though also really nice.
raf meets Louisa! Lou is one of the most kindest people.. as well as putting us up, she had the fridge and cupboards stocked, she'd bought us a phone to use while in the UK, AND she bought many pressies for Raf, including some really adorable t-shirts.
Hanging out with Louisa on Friday afternoon...
On the first Saturday we took a trip across London. We had a busy day visiting with friends.. but this involved getting the Tube. The underground is an extremely efficient way of moving around London, but it can be frantic, busy, and overwhelming. We popped Raf in his Beco carrier but also took the stroller.. Fortunately it was the weekend so it wasn't as busy as it can be during the week, and Raf really was great! He took it all in his stride, except he was a bit taken aback with the strong breeze you can feel when you leave the train and walk out the station as the said train departs down the tunnel.
We had a lovely visit with my old academic supervisor. Ben supervised my PhD at Cambridge even when he moved to King's College, London. Ben and his family invited us for lunch - and with two of his three sons and his wife, we enjoyed a lovely spread. It was the FA cup, though, so we left shortly after kick-off :)
We had a spare hour after visiting with Ben before we were due to meet more friends... So we jumped onto the Tube and took a quick ride to Oxford Circus. For those not familiar with London, this is one of the most busy parts of the city. Take a Saturday afternoon and add some rain sprinkles and you have a recipe for masses of people. But Raf, in his Beco carrier, fell promptly asleep as we shopped for clothes for Raf...
Next we met up with our friend Tim and his wife Mariko. They were celebrating their 7 year wedding anniversary and this was the first time we met Mariko... it had been a long time. They came to see us in Earl's Court and we headed to the noodle bar, Wagamamas, for a lovely evening. Raf was not very happy sitting in his baby seat, though, and spend the evening knocking things off the table, sometimes resting to swoosh his hands in my fizzy water.
We took a walk with Tim and Mariko to the very regal Holland Park... Beautiful park in the borough of Kensington.
Still jet-lagged... waking up Sunday morning, very reluctantly.
Our final goodbye with Louisa before we left London.