Saturday, June 21, 2014

Patti, Bob, and Kathy visit

Song of the Day: Moth in the Porchlight, Folly & The Hunter

London Stuff: Did you know that the majority of London is open greenspace? Of course, with open greenspace comes, well, green space. In related news, a kid lost his finger at a local rave but kept going 'because the bass was hard'.


Despite being a bit gun shy that a repeat of last week's failure will happen again, I'm returning to the blog. The show must go on. Visitor Season is in full swing and I can't afford to fall behind! 

Kenz and I spent our last day alone out in the sun. We went for an extended stroll around town before relaxing with books in Burgess Park. 

We're going to miss this! 

And this. 

Celia sent us some of the 'fancy dress' photo booth pictures from the wedding:

And I made it down to a quiet part of the Thames to see an image that reminded me of my sister, Kara:

On Monday morning, Patti landed!

We had a few belated birthday gifts for her. 
It was a shame that I was tied up most of the eight days that she, Bob, and Kathy were here. Kenz and I played handoff all week, swapping tour guide responsibilities depending on each others' schedule. It was quite a juggling bout, but I think we succeeded. Kenz - in an inspired move - had typed up an hourly itinerary for their entire visit! Some would say I've rubbed off on her.

The two of them headed out while I stayed back to work. 
One last gift for Patti was the two of them going to the Ritz for high tea. This was something Patti wanted to do last time they were in town, but everyone got sick so it didn't work out. After hearing about all the delicious treats they consumed, I was green with envy to have missed it. 

They both agreed that the birthday cake was literally the best they've ever had. 

After a full day of walking around town, the two of them stopped at Wahaca for some dinner before returning home. Kenz had been updating me with pictures all day. By the end of the day, we both had empathy for the other - usually, the roles are reversed: I'm in charge of tour guiding and she's the one staying back to work. Each has its own set of stresses and benefits. 

This was the scene most evenings. 

Showing off the leftover birthday cake.


They're tearing down one of the largest public housing buildings in our neighborhood.

Patti went to help Kenz finish a few last adjustments to her work on Tuesday and Wednesday. She wound up hanging out with Kenz's classmates and getting to know the school a bit more. 


Wednesday night, after a fourteen hour delay (entirely spent in the Charlotte airport), Bob and Kathy finally find that the hotel hadn't actually followed through with their room reservation. Another two (phone call filled) hours later, they had their room, and the five of us went for some dinner before crashing.

Murphy's Law strikes again.

Happy to be reunited


I took Bob, Kathy, and Patti out on Friday afternoon. We went for food at a cafe that doubled as an art gallery. 

Bro and sis

Examining some art

Kathy found an art store and got lost in it (she's an artist just like Kenz).
Our ultimate destination was the Geffrye Museum: an old care home that has been repurposed as a museum that shows the progression of middle-class London living throughout the centuries.

I noticed a typo in the exhibit. Can you find it? (Hint: it's in the last sentence)

I had to leave them there in order to go fulfill a prior engagement; they wound up finding Kenz not long afterward for dinner and hanging out. 

Saturday was big. For some reason, I've got the first set of pictures mixed with Sunday's but it's too late to change them now. Kenz started the day by taking the family to Borough Market (but the first set of pictures here is Columbia Road Flower Market - Borough will show up in the Sunday set of pictures, FYI). Afterward, they came back to the house to meet me and head out to the opening day of Kenz's degree show (her 'friends and family day'). Once finished at the show, we went for some food before attending Wicked to top off a great day.  

Waiting for the bus

Columbia Flower Market

They went for fantastic Vietnamese after the flower market.

Michael wants to be 'Poppie' to his grandkids...

Now we're at the Saturday pictures...

Headed out to the degree show!

Ducks were loving it.

Getting the tour (go Spurs).

Bob and Kathy see the school for the first time.

Kenz explains the difference between the two buildings.

Entering Kenz's exhibit.

Owen, Jeff, Allison, and lil Bridgett are here!

Families meeting each other

A corridor is not the best meeting place.

One of the best behaved kids I've ever known.

Jeff has some fun with an exhibit.

Kenz explains a friend's work

Our adoptive UK family - so sweet for them to come to Kenz's show.

Kenz and Annie

Annie and Ragna

Kenz and Ragna

Bob and Kathy, taking it all in.

There's really no easy way to photograph Kenz's exhibit. I did my best to get some wider pics and some detailed pics, but the corridor is narrow and there were hundreds of folks walking around that evening. Forgive me.

The graduate with her work. 

Beaming with pride. 

Owen walked us to dinner, but had a gig to get to that evening. 

Caravaggio for dinner.

On the bus to Victoria.

Time for some culture!

We arrived early enough to take a stroll.

It was a huge, happy day. 

The neighbors below us had a World Cup party on Saturday night for the England match. This was the scene the next morning:

They had a better time than England did.

I appreciated the table cloth.

So, yea, these are the Saturday morning pictures from Borough Market:

Outside Southwark Cathedral.

Best doughnuts in all the land.

On Sunday, after Columbia Flower Market (not Borough), Kenz took the fam up to Spitalfields, where I met them.

A Tango dancing competition!

Map gazing

Purse gazing

Swag gazing

Free ice cream bars

Goat statues

Escalator rides

Tube rides
And then there was Harrod's...

Kathy wanted the trophy.

Purse gazing. Again.

While shopping for baby clothes, I saw this footballer getting paid to do tricks (World Cup fever).

I'll spare you the rest of the Harrod's pics. It's a shopping mall, really.

Back on the tube.

Trying to find a restaurant that fits everyone's desires at 7pm on a Sunday evening in Bob and Kathy's hotel's part of town isn't the easiest mandate. We walked for about half an hour to get to a specific type of place that we all had agreed on, but it turned out to be closed. We ambled around a corner a few minutes later, nervous that we wouldn't find anything that everyone would like, and happened upon the best Argentinean restaurant I've ever been to. It was a stroke of culinary luck.

Empanadas and steaks!

Patti bought the same purse as Kenz (who got it as a gift from Kara) because they love 'em so much! 

Monday morning was the VIP Breakfast at Kenz's school. Art buyers and dealers were the ones invited and Kenz wound up getting a significant amount of interest in her work - so much so that she overheard passing students mutter that's the popular piece under their breath. At one point, she had a queue of folks waiting to ask her about her work! Lastly, she got shortlisted for a prestigious award - only five students in the entire college were shortlisted. All in all, it was quite a validating experience for her - one that will hopefully give her a bit of momentum as she begins RISD in the fall. 

I had to work at the house all day, so Bob, Kathy, and Patti wound up entertaining themselves around town. The four of us met up and went to the private show that evening; we hadn't had a chance to see anyone else's work as of yet! 

Part of one guy's exhibit was selling prints outside of his truck. 




Kenz and one of her friends

Mom and daughter



Titled, She couldn't think outside the box

Pit stop

Meeting Annie and Alejandra in the Drawing exhibition room


Patti, Bobby, Kathy, and I must have spent two hours walking around that pair of non air-conditioned buildings, sweating our way toward culture. It was grand. Even better was the fact that there were countless people there - I've never seen a school show that crowded. Kudos to all the graduates!

This was the scene as we were departing.

Filled to the brim with catalogues. 


Tuesday was Patti's last day in town, so we went on a hunt for the last few items on her list, both in material and spiritual. 

Seven Dials

Patti and Kathy were enamored with the flower pots. 

Covent Garden

Shopping for grandkids, grandnephews, and grandnieces. 

A tempting 10:30am gelato. 

Holler at your tour guide

Cecil Court, home to dozens of rare and antique bookstores

Thumbing through old maps for one of Kathy's collages.

Patti insisted that Bobby shop for a hat at Laird London

No luck!

I handed them over to Kenz at lunchtime.

That evening, the folks wanted to take us out to a 'nice' restaurant for a celebratory dinner. It was a surprise for Kenz. We went to Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill, where Kenz and I had celebrated our second wedding anniversary our first year here in London. It was equal parts great company and great food.

We spent about two hours around the table, sharing, laughing, and eating. 

I escorted Bob and Kathy back to their hotel as Kenz and Patti went out to find the last item on her list - a Paddington Bear for Whitney. Despite a full dinner, Bob and Kathy couldn't pass up a streetside gelato stand - the two of them love frozen treats in a way that warms my heart.

Kathy eats gelato as slowly as Bob eats it fast. 


We rose early to say goodbye to Patti. Bob and Kathy had one last day in the city. Kenz took them out to Wimbledon as I stayed back to work. We all met up for one last supper in the evening.

Kenz was not happy to see her mommy go.

But perked up when she saw aunt and uncle! 

They couldn't get in to see the courts, but made their way over to the museum for a few hours.

Last supper!

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend. We've got Mom and Tom in town as I type this. Expect the next update on Saturday the 28th. 

Summer has arrived at Burgess Park

Wildflower meadows