A holler back to this blog, where the Word a Week photo challenge originates.
Since my dad died nearly seven years ago, my mother and I have taken a few trips, mostly short road trips. In 2008, I persuaded my mom to come to London with me for a 10 day trip. She’s been that far before, but only within Canada. We live on the east coast of Canada and the west coast is about as far away from here as England is in the other direction. She’d never been over the ocean and isn’t a really confident flyer but she decided she’d wear her big girl pants and just do it.
When I first proposed the trip, she wasn’t sure there would be a lot that she’d be interested in. London. Really? I lent her my lovely Eye Witness London guide, filled with lovely pictures. She emailed back a list of things she might like as long as my arm!
I wanted to make sure we’d stay somewhere central, easy for busses since she didn’t like the idea of going on the underground and I wanted to make sure it was a nice hotel, somewhere she’d remember. I decided on the Strand Palace and it was a good choice for us. We shared a twin room for the first 5 days and then over the Easter weekend, Graham joined us and she moved to a sunny single room down the hall from our double room.
But the trip had a rocky start, with a jolt that scared the wits out of me. We landed on a drizzly Sunday, St. Patrick’s day and after checking into the hotel, we went out walking around Covent Garden, stopping at an old pub for Sunday lunch. We arrived in Trafalgar Square which was packed out with party people. There was a big stage set up for concerts and the parade had just finished so there was a lot of people walking around in green silly hats, bow ties, scarves, you name it.
There was so much to look at and we headed down into Trafalgar square and the next thing I know, she’s on the ground in front of me across the shallow stair case! Oh my sweet god/dess I thought she’d broken a hip or knocked herself out!!! A couple of people helped me get her on her feet. No blood. No unconciousness. She was bruised and shaken but ok. Even her camera survived! I thought we should walk a bit more just to make sure she didn’t stiffen up but it was cold and damp so we walked back towards the hotel which wasn’t too far, got some hot tea and a snack at Starbucks and went to our room. After a hot shower we tucked up into bed for the evening to keep warm.
Mom was bruised and a bit sore the next day but an Advil kept her going and she had her cane with her just in case so used that as well. She was a trooper all week and we saw a lot. St. Paul’s, Kensington Palace, Harrod’s. We went to two West End shows, we shopped, we took the double decker bus tour so she could get an overview of the city. We took a train to Brighton and shopping in the Lanes and were wowed by the Royal Pavillion. After Graham joined us, we three had a day trip booked to Leeds Castle and Canterbury Cathedral with a photo stop at the White Cliffs of Dover and an afternoon tea at a lovely country pub.
That day trip to Leeds Castle and Canterbury was the coldest day I’ve ever experienced while in the U.K. and I’ve been there over New Year’s in the past. It was cold, damp, with a bitter wind. It even snowed just a little at one point. The photo with this article shows Mom at Leeds Castle. As you can see by her lovely blue eyes, she’s full of fun and wasn’t about to let the weather keep her down! I think I whined more than she did about it! She and Graham stood on the harbour beach at Dover in the blustery wind singing “There’ll be Blue Birds over the White Cliffs of Dover” while I huddled in the tour bus!
I was going to post more photos relating to the challenge word but once I started writing, I decided this should be about us, my mom and me.