Tuesday, August 23, 2005

London, Day 4: The Muggles in London 

Wednesday morning we decided that we did indeed want to take the London Walks tour of "Little Venice" in order to catch a glimpse of J.K. Rowling's house. The guide was surprised that that was what had brought us to her, but she was a very good sport. As we approached our target, she quietly said to me, "You'll be wanting to get your camera ready."

Annabelle--who has blasted through the first 4 Harry Potter books this summer--was thrilled to have her picture made in front of Rowling's house. She is holding The Goblet of Fire. Ears the rabbit is sporting the Harry Potter costume that Annabelle made for him:

Mike got into the act too although he was a little more self-conscious about hopping up on the wall:

Our guide was lots of fun. Not only did she tell us about the architecture and history of the area, but she was also very willing to dish the gossip. We got a bonus in front of Michael Flatley's house when the high gate swung open to admit a taxi, and we were able to see the whole front of the house. She also pointed out a duplex, half of which had previously been owned by Paul McCartney and half of which had at one point been owned by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and is now owned by Princess Diana's brother.

Our walk ended near a pretty pub where we would have dearly loved to have eaten lunch. Unfortunately, once again kids were welcome only at the outside tables, which were all full. Never mind the fact that NOBODY was at the tables inside the pub. That was when I adopted my "screw you" attitude toward London pubs. If I can't get in with my kids, I'll buy my fish and chips elsewhere, thank you very much!

After the tour, we made our way over to Russell Square, Annabelle counting Phantom ads on the backs of buses the whole way. We stopped for lunch at an Indian restaurant and then went to our second goal for the day--the Russell Hotel. You know, as in "Up, up, up past the Russell Hotel, up, up, up to the Heavyside Layer." The number 1 Cats fan was psyched to have her picture taken in front of it, which the doorman found quite endearing:

We spent a little time in our hotel room, resting up after our big day of walking, and then went out for another dinner at Pret. The kids had been looking forward to that all day and had been singing "Pret for dinner! We're gonna have Pret for dinner!" (This will mean nothing to those of you who haven't seen all the Land Before Time episodes--the original lyrics were "Friends for dinner!")

After supper, we took our places in row 2 of the Lyceum Theatre to watch Lion King. Annabelle had made little lion manes for the rodents so that they wouldn't feel left out:

The show was breathtakingly good. I know the kids enjoyed seeing other kids up on the stage.

Afterwards we walked home through Leicester Square and Picadilly. I love the feeling on the streets when the theaters (or should I say "theatres"?) are letting out! One rather odd thing we saw was that a McDonald's in Leicester Square had monitors showing the action in the men's room. Very strange.

We dropped into bed that night utterly exhausted. We needed our sleep for the next day's activities . . . rabbit hunting! (Check back later; it's not what it seems.)

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