Big city

Photo 15-02-2013 07 22 29 PM

Mr Jeffcoat works in London a lot these days. He sends me photos as he heads to his office in the morning, looking down the sunny Thames towards St Paul’s Cathedral, and I promise I’m only a tiny bit jealous. In my head we have an alternative life in a tiny London flat: I spend my afternoons wandering around the art galleries, and I don’t ever have to look at a Tube map, and probably, I don’t know, I can pull off heeled ankle boots as well. Until that actually happens, we just visit occasionally and I moon over the loveliness of it.

Today we did that thing we’ve been saying we should do for months, and took a bus and a train to the Big Smoke for an afternoon off together. It was very nearly almost a date, and the weather cottoned on and made the sun shine gloriously. Henry was asleep for at least some of it, and beside himself with excitement for the rest of it. Three forms of public transport and the best pasta he’d ever rubbed his face in? Doesn’t get better than that for Henricus Rex.

We met up at Paddington, ate a huge pile of pizza and olives, then parked ourselves at the Victoria and Albert Museum for the rest of the afternoon. And oh, it was wonderful. We walked through huge, vaulted galleries and cold, darkened spaces with our mouths open. The stuff in the Medieval and Renaissance wing, all carved wood and illuminated manuscripts and stained-glass windows, was so beautiful it made me want to cry a bit. Medieval religious art is so heartfelt, all of it. Hundreds of years ago there was an anonymous, not-very-important someone who created it for their deepest devotions, and it makes me feel lucky to have seen it.

FYI, toddlers on the Underground are about ten thousand times more difficult than babies on the Underground – for a start, he wanted to get off and on every time the doors opened and hugged at least one stranger’s leg – but we got by with a lightweight umbrella pushchair that lifted easily up and down stairs. Of course, this was the day my body decided to be More Pregnant Than Anyone Only Halfway Through Has Any Right To Be, so I might well be in traction and bandages tomorrow. Totally worth it. Did I tell you we went to the flagship Paperchase store and I saw at least twenty notecards that made me glad to be alive? Totally worth it.

These boys are just the best company I could ask for.

(PS: the below photo was taken in the split-second before Henry’s foot connected with parts of Timothy that would prefer not to be kicked. There’s a first time for everything, even crying man-tears in the lift in Paperchase.)

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2 thoughts on “Big city

  1. natalie hacking says:

    i have the same dream about life years from now…your words captured how it all appeals to me perfectly. i look forward to the day when the house is empty of children and we can buy a little two bedroom flat in alexandria so i pop over to the smithsonians every day and have lunch on the mall. it will also afford me great opportunity to pop over the big water and be there in england with more frequency…sigh…but for now i’ll embrace the house full of kids and a dog, floors to be swept and homework to be done. because like you i too realize that one day i won’t have anyone to tidy up after or to listen to the piano practicing or snuggle into bed. ah life with its simple yet complex yearnings.

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    • Isn’t it funny – as we get older it’s life further away from the city that suits us better, but I still dream of city living 🙂 I may do as you do and plan for that once all our kids have grown up. I can spend as much time in art galleries as I like, then!

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