B-Team News 13 – 19, 2023

Bake Sale success at school! We are raising funds for transportation costs for a weeklong school camp in May. I love getting to know the other parents and I absolutely adore seeing the girls at school.

We attended the Key Stage 4 Options Evening at my son’s school. What is that? It’s when 14 year olds are given a choice for elective classes and focusing their last two years of secondary school in certain subject areas. They are expected to start directing their studies for their future careers and studying. I’m not sure how a 14 year old would know what they want to do. Maybe some do, but it seems kind of crazy to me. They advised the kids to “choose subjects that they like and have a shot at doing well in, disregarding their parents wishes and not choosing classes that their friends are taking.” We were given an opportunity to visit the classrooms where the teachers of those subjects of interest would explain what the next two years would entail. It was all very interesting for me, someone who never went to school in the UK.

J and I took the Eurostar to Paris for a whopping 16 hours of sightseeing, eating and partying like rock stars with Dynazty and Kissin’ Dynamite. The bands played as double headliners at La Machine du Moulin Rouge, a fabulously intimate club. The kind of place you make eye contact with the guys on stage, where the band members hang around the bar after their set, and chat with people on their way out. A 5 star experience from us two happy campers. Blissfully, we wandered back to our hotel room deaf and unable to speak after so much singing. Music nourishes your soul.

We were treated to a second night of music this week, this time we saw Damien Rice in Hammersmith at the O2 Apollo. I believe this is the fifth time I’ve seen him live. His music is so special, it always feels intense to me. I adore him. I read a fabulous review of his performance the night before in Manchester, by Kieran Costello.

“It’s his combination of softness and severity that distinguishes him; a truer, more authentic reflection of human connection, its turbulence and precarity. His music isn’t sad music – though he did joke that we’d all come to get depressed. It’s powerful. Innervating and reverberating. Music that yearns, that pulls at something deep and universal. In exploring his past, his music allows us to see our own histories as more beautiful, more meaningful than they likely were.”

We brought two of our kids who hadn’t seen him live before and they loved it as well. He has a captivating presence on stage with his storytelling that just draws you in, no matter your age. He had a fabulous opener, Silvia Perez Cruz, a beautiful singer/musician from Spain, who sang in Spanish and Catalan. She was charming as well with her storytelling and so lovely to listen to perform.

Happy St Patrick’s Day! As usual, I’m a little late to the party and didn’t realise the parade was a week ago. Never make assumptions, I assumed it was on “the” day. There’s always next year…at least we have soda bread. I also attempted “colcannon” (my version anyway), potatoes with cabbage, and made burgers for dinner. We were contemplating what do the Irish eat. In America they celebrate with Corned Beef and Cabbage. I never once saw this dish in Ireland. I’m sure it has some roots there, but after asking some Irish friends, they told me they never eat it. We are not meat eaters anyway, and what I do fondly remember from my travels to the Emerald Isle, was lots of gorgeous vegetable soups served with brown bread. This is what lead me to colcannon. I had my side but needed a main…Beyond Burgers with “green” guac as a condiment. Haha! Not very Irish I suppose. We bought the kids a green smoothie which had a gross toothpaste sort of colour. Haha! When I grew up we all had green beer, even the kids! I do not think green beer is even a thing in this country, I’ve never seen it anyway. I suppose I could’ve made my own? All this rambling to say, On St Paddy’s Day, we enjoyed burgers, soda bread, colcannon and a green drink. We all wore green that day too, but I sadly never got a pic. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Hubster and I manage two more sections of the Capital Ring Trail. We started where we left off at King V DLR station and made our way under the Thames through the Woolwich Foot Tunnel. That was a highlight of the day. I didn’t even know about this footpath before we embarked on this endeavour. It’s 504 metres in length and was built-in 1912. The circular buildings on either side of the river that you enter are old and simple looking, you would never know there is a lift and stairs inside that take you down. You are not supposed to cycle across but no one seems to enforce that rule. The lifts have wooden walls and look like run down versions of something from The Shining. I’ve read only about 300,000 people use it per year. I expected it to be empty with such low traffic, but there were several people making the journey with us. The smell of piss permeates the air.

We then walked along the river on the south side, treated to a glorious southern view of Canary Wharf and the Thames Barrier. The barrier is a retractable system built to protect most of Greater London from exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea. It has always been on my list of tours I want to take someday in London. I will definitely make my way back now that I am reminded of it. The trail then meandered from one park to the next. I would say not to do this in the spring as we have. There is nothing but mud. This section was around 11km and ended in Falconwood. Aside from the tunnel, I also enjoyed seeing Severndroog Castle and watching the dog live his best life chasing critters through the forest.

When we arrived at the end we realised we had about two hours left before sunset and the next section was just 6.9km…so off we went. I’m so glad we did because section 2 was through gorgeous, more manicured parks and the lovely town of Eltham. We really enjoyed it much more than the first muddy section, which Jack the dog preferred as he chased squirrels through the wood for hours. This portion of the path circled around Eltham Palace and their stables. The views of the city from the path at sunset were glorious! We will need to plan extra time for these walks as we finish the southern portions…it took us 90 minutes to get home as the trains stopped running. We had to take a bus, the DLR and the tube. Thank goodness for public transport but jeez, southern London feels so far away!

Sunday was Mother’s Day here in the UK. We spent the day in Essex with the kids, doing a family walk in the Hainault Wood with lunch at the Two Brewers Pub in Chigwell. Again, the walk was so, so muddy. We literally had to remove shoes and clothing to get back in the car at the end. The walk was lovely, aside from the bog, with a rope’s course in the wood, duck and goose encounters and squirrel chasing for Jack the dog.

One thought on “B-Team News 13 – 19, 2023

  1. What a fun newsy update! You all do live life to the fullest, emphasizing the important things like family, food and nature! Love following you!

    Love

    betty

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