I am having trouble distinguishing my best day in London, as I would have to say that today has now taken over the number one spot! I must admit that I was a little nervous this morning and when I woke up I realized it has finally begun to rain. Around 2 in the afternoon I got on the Central Line to Holborn and switched there to the Piccadilly Line. There I went a couple stops to Caledonian Road. After I got off I got a little more nervous in that I was in an area I wasn’t too familiar with, it was raining, and I was genuinely nervous. But almost right out of the station was the bus stop which had number 17 and I took that to just around the corner of Tufnell Park Road and stumbled upon the Wheatley’s home almost by accident immediately, looking back it was all so much more simple than I had anticipated. So I called Jane and told her I thought I was right outside and low and behold I was :). I got to meet everyone right away and Hal was working on homework and the boys were all just having a relaxing day. Jane made some tea right away which was splendid and I sat and talked with Jos and Jane for awhile. We were going to go for a walk but of course the rain didn’t allow for that, so Jane wanted to go to Camden Market for a little while and grab some things for her as well. However, Jos was getting a little hungry so we ate first! Jane made a chicken cassarole, mashed potatos, cabbage, and carrots with red wine. Oh my was it delicious!! I was so nice too having them all around the table and getting to hear them talk! Tarka told so many stories, one of which was about their big cricket day last Saturday in which they took all the extra food and were catapulting it towards the crowds and how I did enjoy it! They asked many questions and weren’t afraid to just keep the conversation going. They were all very well mannered as well, asking if I would like more tea or wine or what I would like in my tea. Guy told me he would explain cricket to me but it’s very complicated so I’m excited for when he does. They were also excited to hear about my playing basketball.
Amber messaged me about her overtime goal and I told Guy and he was very excited about that as well. When Hal and Tarka joined the table he retold the story to them as well, I thought Amber would appreciate their excitement!
Shortly after dinner, Jane and I left to go run to the Camden Markets. She drove and how odd was it getting in the ‘drivers’ seat on the left side while she was actually driving on the right side of the car. I tried not to pay too much attention, I will surely never be able to drive in London. Their driving lessons begin when they are seventeen, the boys were surprised we began at 14 yrs old. She also drove stick which is a novelty to me. The market wasn’t too far from where they live and she explained that the boys have been coming there since they were very young.
At the market Jane and I walked around and I loved it. We got to look at all sorts of vintage shops. Outfits and books and jewelry. You could literally spend two entire days trying to see the entire market and weave through all the alleyways; thankfully most is covered from the rain. Jane was sooooo wonderful as well, telling bits of stories and about the popart that the boys like, Banksy I believe is the name, and she looked around for stocking and Christmas ideas. I loved hearing all she had to say. I was also so thankful and greatful when she bought me four little very vintage rings, which the boys enjoyed. She also purchased three pillows with stitched covers in an Indian shop of sorts. She bought three or four herself as well. You wouldn’t believe that they were cheap looking at them either because I believe they are really really elegant and soft. We had quite a laugh trying to put all of the pillow covers next to each other and trying to figure out which ones we liked best! I haven’t disclosed that I have only one small pillow in my room and many of the other girls bought more because it isn’t quite effeicient enough for one to have a good nights sleep with. SO, Jane’s beautiful gift of pillows was a true blessing!! Grandma Pat, I cannot wait to go to Camden Market with you and show you this shop that Jane and I went to, if we can ever find it in the market again because it is so easy to get lost in, you will absolutely adore it! One shop will have leather bags with coins from all over the world sewn in them as buttons made in Morocco, the next is African Jewelry, the next vintage dresses to die for and then curry or Chinese food right next to it! Essentially it beats any mall in America in both price, quality and appeal. We also got a large sized pillow cover of pale blue with all sorts of designs and threading for Tarka’s room and its magnificent, he loved it! Jane was thankful that he had finally worn out the one that he had chosen from there before, a awful orange she said.
After an hour or two of the market we headed back to the house and hung out with the boys. There was a bit of a frenzy for a while to get the boys to do their homework. They much rather play and I’m sure were excited to tell me more stories. Tarka had to do his French and for a while him and I spoke some Spanish, I am surprised I remembered enough to have a conversation with him! And Guy was doing some writing. Hal was upstairs typing an essay I believe. Hal was such a great guy and made tea for Jane and I when we got back, I just enjoyed them so much. I read through some of Hal’s career stuff, sort of a booklet on it, while the boys did their homework. After they were done, Tarka, Guy, Jane, and I just stood around the kitchen island and snacked on grapes and strawberries, which mind you may sound odd but I am now potentially addicted to these strawberries and red grapes, literally the best tasting snack I have ever had. For probably an hour or so Tarks and Guy told me stories! Tarks had some about a telephone getting thrown accidently out a window, accidently hitting a teachers cheek with a rubber, and Guy nearly missing a pile of people whom slipped on snow. I got to see a picture of Tarka’s school and the window looks out over the Thames River, beats any view I’ve had from a classroom. He told me of his friends and a story about a mate’s dumb answers that got the whole class and his Italian teacher laughing. He goes to an all boys school which Hal went to as well. They do tell stories vibrantly and you could almost imagine yourself there! I got to see their marks near the door where they have been keeping track of their heights. At one point they had a wedgie war between themselves which got them all giggling.
Then before I knew it, it was time for dinner and we had scrambled eggs with some ham on toast. A smaller supper since we had a large late lunch. Again, all the boys and Jane around the table was such a great homey feeling. I have not laughed that much in such a long while! Hal asked a few questions about where I lived, if this was the sort of thing I would eat at University or how far I was from where they lived. Guy told me a couple stories about being late to school and learning to use the bus to get to scchool. One particular story about him and Tarka having to wait for five tubes because it was so crowded and they couldn’t get on or off. I guess when this happens and they arrive late to school, if it is a valid excuse it is better accepted as opposed to being late to school at Grinnell. Then one about Tarks being so cold waiting for a bus he went to McDonalds for a hot cocoa and found himself running after the bus he was suppose to catch.
After supper, Guy had to go to bed around 9 and Tarks got “5” more minutes. That five minutes lasted about 45 minutes in which Hal, Guy, Jos, Jane and I watched funny youtube videos. You know that deep belly laugh, a true laugh? That’s what we all had for those 45 minutes! The videos were hilarious! Tarka and I nearly rolled off the couch laughing! Finally, they were convinced it was bed time. There was an attempt at trying to convince me to stay the night. I didn’t want to feel as if I was being a burden and I didn’t have any clothes although I was felt really genuinely happy at the offer! Hal even said I could borrow Jane’s night clothes. Then after about 5 minutes of discussing how I would get home via bus or tube, Jane decided to graciously give me a lift. That is how I realized I am literally a fifteen minutes drive from their home.
Guy mentioned he had a football match tomorrow and I told him if they could let me know where they were I really wanted to get to see him play. Hal said that he has some during the week as well. They seemed excited that I might come watch so I hope I get to see a few! Also, Jane mentioned that I could and then come do dinner and/or stay the night. When she goes to work in the morning it’s near Angel which allows me to get home easier. I would love to have a movie or game or hangout night with the boys and Jane! Literally I had the best day with them. I love their home and their backyard/garden is beautiful. They have three cats, Tortoise (which Tarks wanted to name Autumn), Tabitha or Tabs, and Black Man. There were many stories involving the ‘Pussies’ as they call them as well. They make the cats do Grandpa faces which is quite hilarious.
Probably one of my favorite moments was at the end when Tarka asked when I was leaving. I told him on December 15th and he replied with ‘oh you will be around for awhile then. Maybe you could come hangout or even babysit. I bet mum would pay you.’ I really felt truly welcome! It could not have gone better and I do hope that I expressed fully how greatful I was for everything! Side note>>>we had a nice discussion about mum and mom and certain slang terms.
Oh, at one point, right before the boys settled down to finish their prep (homework), they got to pick some sweets out of a bag. Guy was telling me about each one, banana, egg, toffee, cherry, cherry sour, and he had me try different assortments and told me which were his favorites as well. That was fun too. I guess where Jos works looks right out over Buckingham Palace’s private gardens as well. He mentioned perhaps sometime I could come visit or meet some people.
Anyways, I was excited for Amber’s news on her winning goal in overtime, excited to skype with everyone at Five o’clock coffee, I rambled on like crazy, and excited for, well, everything that’s to come! Love you all!