I have some exciting exciting newsssss!!! On November 11th, on the 11th hour, for Remembrance Day I got to see the Queen of England, Kate Middleton, Prince William, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, Princess Anne, David Cameron and so many more royal and important people right up close and personal. We got there so early that we were right across the street from Kate and right in front of the royals laying the wreaths on the memorial. But whats more than that, I got more than I bargained for, because I was apart of a crowd of English families, mostly older couples and men, on an important day. At the eleventh hour Big Ben chimed and everyone was completely silent and praying for two minutes. Then soldiers march and bands played and an older man next to me began to cry. I got goosebumps when the band began to play and the Queen laid the first wreath, I got goosebumps now remembering it. It is a day to remember all of those who have sacrificed their lives for their country since the first world war. I felt very immersed in the English culture and people that day.
Afterwards I rushed to the hotel to get Grandma and Dad and we hopped on the tube at South Kensington and headed via the Piccadilly line to Holloway Road and got to Jane’s. When we arrived Tarka and Guy gave me great big hugs and they were very welcoming. We went down stairs and Jos was there and Hal is back from Cuba as well. I guess Hugh and the family headed off early that morning, Tarka said they were bushed and tired. But Jane had a meal prepared and after breif introductions we sat down to eat. Jane had a wonderful meal prepared with tomato soup and I helped cut some bread. Then we had salad with chicken, topped off with ice cream and cheese and crackers for dessert. Grandma and I had a glass of wine and Dad had just water I believe. The boys asked many questions and I realized how much I missed them after not seeing them for two whole weeks!! After supper Grandma pulled out a big bag of Tootsie rolls and I happen to be looking at Guy and his face just LIT UP! He was so excited and not to mention she then pulled out some bags of candy corn and boxes of Mike & Ikes. I had not known that you could not find these in the UK. They were surprised at how cheap they were back home as well. It was so exciting to see how happy and crazy giddy they were to have them as presents! They were also excited about getting their Grinnell Pens as well. We then moved to the couches where we chatted more and Hal and Dad talked about football vs American football and rugby, just sport in general. Then we talked about how Sammy had moved to Ireland from Iowa and what it aws like in Iowa. Much to my delight, we then got to see Tark play the Chello and Guy play the violin! Guy was good with the folk music and Tarka played some Titanic and Christmas music, I can’t imagine playing either instrument given we didn’t have any string instruments in band when I played the flute. Hal took some coaxing but played a little violin as well. He was very very good. I got to ask him a few questions about Cuba and he told me about jumping off this waterfall into the water and it being just beautiful, I hope I get to see some of his pictures next time I go. I also hope to make it to another one of Guy’s matches and go to Sloane square with Tarka.
Dad said he particularly liked Jos’s sense of humor and they got along well, I was just genuinely so happy having a long chat and sitting with them chatting away. Tarka and Hal go to an army camp of sorts this coming weekend and Jos is convinced Tarka will not be able to make it. Hal is very good at it and an especially good marksman. He is now a senior officer and they are super impressed with how well he has done. For their school you either have to do this or community service, Jane had tried to convince Tarka to do community service but he didn’t. Tarka commented, and I quote, “I am okay with doing five pushups at 2 in the afternoon but not 20 pushups at two in the morning,” which got a big laugh out of everyone. I can’t imagine doing a camp like this at that age but it seems interesting. If he gets kicked out he is SOL, because Guy, Jane & Jos are going up to Northfolk to visit Hugh this weekend too – so Tarka will have to find his own way home because they aren’t coming to get him. Hal eventually had to go do some homework and I went up to the drawing room for a bit to watch Guy and Tarka play a game. We ended up leaving around 5 or 6, it just gets dark so early here now, starts around 4 pm. On the way home, Dad, Grandma and I got some ice cream cones and Dad was so impressed with the cheese that Jane had given us for supper we bought some. Dad picked out some blue cheese and goat cheese (Yes Grandpa, even Dad now is eating goat cheese! Don’t worry I will bring some back just for you :)).
Dad and I horsed around a while when we got back, including a pillow fight. Then we watched some TV until I fell asleep. This morning we headed back to where I live and I directed them from there to the Tower of London, which they are seeing while I am in class today. I hope they get there all right and this evening I am finishing up homework and some stuff that I am behind on. Tomorrow while I am in class they are going to the Royals Mews at Buckingham Palace, the British Museum, and they are meeting me at Holborn where I go to school. From there I am going to take them to Brick Lane to eat some curry for supper. Then on Wednesday we are going to Windsor Castle for the day! Which I am so stoked about! We have done so much sightseeing in just a few days and I am sure they will return home walked/worn out, don’t worry!!
LOVE YOU ALL!