We took a tour of Buckingham Palace on Saturday, which is the pinnacle of any trip to London! It also requires a bit of planning as the palace is only open to visitors for two months out of the year (August and September) when the Queen is away in Scotland for her summer holidays. And it did not disappoint!

This was probably one of the best tours that we’ve had, if for no other reason than we did not bring our son! Don’t get me wrong, we love him like crazy, but for once we didn’t have to chase him down the hall, attempt to keep him from touching everything in the room with a “DO NOT TOUCH” sign on it, or carry him out of the building screaming. We were able to go at our own pace, enjoy the fine things and actually listen to the audio tour the whole way through…in every room!

And the rooms were absolutely stunning. There were no photos allowed inside, so I have a few exterior shots and then a couple borrowed from the official website of The British Monarchy. It seemed like every square inch was covered in gold trim, beautifully carved moldings or silk wallpaper, and the picture gallery was full of Rembrandts, Canalettos and Rubens.

The Ballroom.

The Ballroom (courtesy British Monarchy website).

The White Drawing Room.

The White Drawing Room (courtesy British Monarchy website).

The Throne Room (courtesy Royal website).

The Throne Room (courtesy British Monarchy website).

There was also a lovely exhibition called Royal Childhood that covered 250 years of family life at the palace with “objects from the Royal Collection, the Royal Archives and the private collections of members of the Royal Family, as well as previously unseen photographs and film footage.” I was particularly impressed by a watercolor of a children’s ball and the massive cake made for the sixth birthday of Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria’s youngest son.

For a little history, Buckingham Palace was built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham and used to be called Buckingham House. Originally it was just the main front building. “It was subsequently acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and was known as ‘The Queen’s House’.

“During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who formed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.” (Wikipedia)

So many of the monarchs in the 100 years before Queen Victoria (King William III and Queen Mary II, Queen Anne, and Kings George I & II) actually lived in Kensington Palace in Hyde Park.

The Children's Fancy Ball at Buckingham Palace, 7th April 1859. by Eugenio Agneni in pencil and watercolour.

The Children’s Fancy Ball at Buckingham Palace, 7th April 1859, by Eugenio Agneni in pencil and watercolour.

Buckingham House, London, England, as it appeared in 1775. Wood engraving, English, c1875 by Charles Henry Granger.

Buckingham House as it appeared in 1775. Wood engraving c1875 by Charles Henry Granger.

Speaking of Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace also has a pleasant garden area that can be included in your tour. The back lawn is huge, and it’s easy to visualize it full of garden party-goers, but the gardens themselves were pretty low maintenance and felt more like a park than a manicured garden. The arrangements in the public space in front of the palace and in St. James Park across the street are much more impressive. But there’s a little lake, a small rose garden, and a tennis court.

The most interesting part was probably the Waterloo Vase, which is “the great urn commissioned by Napoleon to commemorate his expected victories, which in 1815 was presented unfinished to the Prince Regent. After the King had had the base completed by sculptor Richard Westmacott, intending it to be the focal point of the new Waterloo chamber at Windsor Castle, it was adjudged to be too heavy for any floor (at 15 ft high and weighing 15 tons). The National Gallery, to whom it was presented, finally returned it in 1906 to the sovereign, Edward VII. King Edward then solved the problem by placing the vase outside in the garden where it now remains.” (Wikipedia)

We had about an hour and a half to kill between the end of our tour in the palace and the beginning of our tour through the garden. So we spent the majority of the time goofing around in the gift shop. Should you ever decide to visit the palace, the rates really are quite reasonable…£17.85 for adults, or £26 if you want to include the gardens. And there are some fun things in the gift shop as well. :)

The rose garden and the Waterloo Vase (courtesy of The British Monary Facebook page).

The rose garden and the Waterloo Vase (courtesy of The British Monarchy Facebook page).

Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she walks out to greet her guests at a Garden Party she is hosting in the grounds of Buckingham Palace on May 22, 2013. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II at a Garden Party she hosted on May 22, 2013. (Photo by John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Me in front of the rear entrance to the palace by the garden.

Me in front of the rear entrance to the palace by the garden.

Yes, I know it’s an incredibly touristy thing to do…but I’m okay with that! And our son absolutely loved it. And I like to think that only the locals are crazy enough to dress their kids in costume, which we did! So on Sunday morning we boarded our embassy-rented coach at Grosvenor Square and set off for the country.

It took forever to get out of London, but eventually we made it into a series of country roads that were so small that the hedges on either side of the road scraped both sides of the bus…at the same time. We also managed to scare one car and two cyclists who literally had to back up or turn around until they found a pull-out because there was not a hair’s breadth to squeeze by us.

We arrived around noon and headed straight for the Moat Restaurant for an overpriced hot dog, pulled pork sandwich and chicken Kiev. After grabbing a quick bite to eat we continued over to the castle itself. Unfortunately, they didn’t allow photos inside, but I imagine you can take pictures of the fancy rooms that are separated out as accommodation if you want to stay overnight in one of those, which would be pretty cool.

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My favorite picture of the day.

Great portcullis and moat!

Great portcullis and moat!

The castle itself “began as a country house, built in the 13th century. From 1462 to 1539 it was the seat of the Boleyn family. Anne Boleyn, the second queen consort of King Henry VIII of England, spent her early youth there, after her father, Thomas Boleyn, had inherited it in 1505. He had been born there in 1477, and the castle passed to him upon the death of his father, Sir William Boleyn. It later came into the possession of King Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. In the 21st century the castle is a tourist attraction.” (Wikipedia)

We were determined to have a pleasant and fun family visit this time and hurried our son through the castle to avoid any meltdowns. Obviously we hadn’t learned our lesson the last two times. But he actually did really well (although he still tried to touch everything)! As a reward we let him run around the grounds for another 30 minutes and feed the ducks in the river.

The joust officially started at 2:15, so before that we all gathered in front of the castle to meet a couple knights as well as the king and queen. After a quick photo op we all hiked over to the playing field. The joust itself was lots of fun to watch…very Medieval Times. But the best part was when they called out all the children.

Once we gave him the okay, our son was off like a shot racing across the field. And I must say that my heart jumped a bit as I watched him run headlong into the unknown without even a backward glance at us. And he looked so small. Probably because he’s THREE.

So they rounded up about 25 children, formed them into some semblance of a line, armed them with wooden pikes and spears and a few foam severed heads (seriously!) and marched them around the ring. It had started raining but the kids loved it. And once they were done yelling and cheering, our son ran back to us with a huge grin on his face.

To avoid the crowds, we left the joust a tiny bit early, to visit an ice cream stall and then head back to the bus. Definitely a great family adventure. :)

Our son running off to join the children's procession.

Our son running off to join the children’s procession.

All the kids cheering with the king.

All the kids cheering with the king.

The knights who say Ni!

The knights who say Ni!

Red vs Blue!!

Red vs Blue!!

Bidding season has been under way for less than ten business days, and I’m ready for it to be done! Happily most of the posts that were on the projected bid list were also on the actual bid list for Summer 2015. So I had already done a lot of research, consulted with the hubby and pretty much knew where we wanted to go.

I’ve already submitted my bids and done all my lobbying, because…why drag it out? But bids aren’t due until the middle of October, so now I just get to wait and obsess about the bid count (number of people bidding on each post).

It’s actually been really interesting to see, even this early on, which posts are the most popular among the midlevel OMS crowd (Bangkok?). Although I have been told that you can’t really judge anything by the bid counts alone…because you have no way of knowing which posts people are serious about and which ones they’re just using to fill out their list.

And I totally understand, I officially bid on 14 out of a possible 15 posts, but only “lobbied” for five of them. I wouldn’t be at all upset to get any of the other nine posts, but the chances are slim that they’ll consider me if I’m not really pushing my interest and qualifications.

One thing that is obvious is the posts that are NOT popular. Strangely enough, the half dozen posts that I can see in Africa aren’t getting much love. Perhaps something to do with the Ebola outbreak?

And there is one post that I bid on, and lobbied for, where I am currently the only bidder. This makes me happy. But I’m trying to be realistic and not expect that I will still be the only bidder in eight weeks when this is all over. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed. ;)

United States foreign service posts and Department of State jurisdictions, February 2006

That’s right folks, we are no longer “entry-level” bidders! The bid list for our next post comes out on Friday, woo hoo! Although technically it’s not that exciting since they’ve had a great new function for mid-level bidding for a while now called Projected Vacancies.

So instead of blindly waiting for the list to come out, you can now run a little search based on your bidding cycle, federal pay grade, and job title and see what positions are scheduled to be available. And we assume that it’s fairly accurate since we all know going in whether a post is usually one, two or three years long.

But there are a few big differences between entry-level and mid-level bidding. They are as follows:

Directed vs Lobbied

Your first two entry-level posts are “directed.” So you are handed a list of posts by your Career Development Officer (CDO), and you rank them according to preference by high, medium and low. You can send your CDO a short narrative explaining your choices, that person then decides where you will be assigned.

Mid-level bidders are not directed. They have to “lobby,” which means they have to contact the person in the job they want, talk to them about the position, send a letter of interest to the hiring manager for that job (usually a supervisor), and interview in competition with other bidders…just like in the private sector.

It is entirely possible that you will not be hired for ANY of the 15 jobs that you bid on. In that case, you then have to start all over again with a new list created from the jobs that are left over from other bidders. Not an ideal situation.

So it is not uncommon for people to create “bidding strategies” involving a certain amount of hardship posts that presumably other people don’t want that will increase your odds of getting them. But be careful! If you bid on it, you just might get it. ;)

The List

Our first list had 19 posts with entry-level jobs on it, and Belize was a medium choice for us. Our second list had 50 posts on it, and London was high (obviously!). When you’re bidding mid-level, you can see every position that’s available for your bid season. It is your job to filter them correctly to match your pay grade and job title.

You then have to bid on at least six “core” locations that fit those criteria. And your list can have no more than 15 posts…quite a change from the 50-post bid list! Your non-core bids can be in any field at any grade. But most hiring managers will probably choose from core bidders to fill a job because they’re often the most qualified.

Duration

Almost all entry-level posts are two years. You may volunteer to go to an extreme hardship or danger post for one year, but that is separate from the usual entry-level list. Most mid-level posts are three years…again, extreme hardship and dangerous ones are one year…and some random posts are two years based on weather extremes or isolation level. For example, Iceland is only two years, while the rest of Scandinavia is three. Go figure.

So that is mid-level bidding in a nutshell. Good luck to any fellow bidders!! I’m curious to see if the actual bid list remotely resembles the projected vacancies. And we should find out where we’re going sometime in November!

One of the places on my UK bucket list since before we arrived has been Chatsworth house. A stately home in Derbyshire, it is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549. If you’ve seen the film The Duchess with Keira Knightley then you’ve seen the house and the story of one of the infamous family members that lived there, the 18th-century English aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. It was also the filming location for Pemberley in the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice also with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen.

With time literally flying by at this point (the bid list for our next post comes out next Friday!), I realized it was time to take matters into my own hands, stop relying on calendar holidays, and take some time off to explore! So we took this last Friday and Monday off to run around the Peak District.

On Friday we left London around 10:00am, drove up through Nottingham and stopped for lunch in the only Hooters restaurant in the UK. I know a lot of Americans find the chain tacky, and apparently a lot of Brits find it flat out offensive. But I spent enough time in the restaurant industry not to stress about how tight the uniforms are; plus it was nice to get a bit of American flavor back in the wings! Of course, we really knew we were back in US territory when I asked our waitress what ales they had, and she wasn’t sure to what I was referring. Hmmm.

Hooters restaurant in Nottingham.

Hooters restaurant in Nottingham.

From there we continued to the town of Wardlow where we’d rented a holiday cottage for three nights. The trip up was a bit of a struggle though. We’d left out about an hour later than I was hoping and got stuck in construction traffic twice, and then our GPS rerouted us without our knowing it. So our four-hour journey took closer to seven hours, and we weren’t able to visit Haddon Hall in the afternoon, which was one of the filming locations for The Princess Bride that I’d thrown on to the agenda at the last minute.

We also stopped on the side of the road for our son to go to the bathroom (as you do), and he promptly stuck his right arm in a stinging nettle plant and started screaming. Happily it was only his arm, so I wiped it with a magic baby wipe, and it calmed down quickly.  Eventually we made it to the cottage and settled in for the weekend after popping into the village of nearby Tideswell to peruse the 14th century Church of St John the Baptist and have dinner at the pub in the George Inn.

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The Church of St John the Baptist.

Pews with carved edges.

Pews with carved edges.

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Tomb of Sir Thurstan and his wife Margret de Bower from approx 1423.

Saturday was the main day on the itinerary. We spent the morning at Chatsworth House, and it did not disappoint. The house was absolutely stunning inside. Unfortunately, our son had a screaming meltdown about 1/3 of the way through, so my hubby was kind enough to take him out to the car while I finished perusing the house.

Once through, we met up again and grabbed a couple lamb pasties and sausage rolls while we walked around the massive gardens in the pouring rain. Even wet, our son was much more amenable to the great outdoors. This being the second time in a row that he’s flipped out in a big fancy house (Windsor was the first), I think we will no longer subject him to them and vice versa. Happily he did not fuss during our lovely dinner at the Bull’s Head in Foolow.

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On Sunday, we drove up to the little town of Castleton and hiked up the hill to Peveril Castle. The castle is a ruined early medieval structure founded sometime between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and 1086 that was later confiscated by King Henry II in 1155. The only thing left is a bit of wall and the keep, which is in great condition.

But there’s also a great view of Cave Dale, another Princess Bride filming location (where Buttercup pushed Wesley down the hill). So we walked around the keep, took photos and our son rolled down a different hill a dozen times until he was thoroughly soaked by the damp grass. But he didn’t complain! And we finished our day in Castleton with a lovely meal and an ale at a second pub named the Bull’s Head.

View of Castleton from Peveril Castle.

View of Castleton from Peveril Castle.

View of Cave Dale from Peveril Castle.

View of Cave Dale from Peveril Castle.

The keep.

The keep at Peveril Castle.

Monday was the day we planned to return to London, so the only thing I was hoping to do was to visit a little Victorian sweet shop called Edward & Vintage on the way south. On the drive up I’d noticed a sign in the town of Stoney Middleton advertising their well dressing festivities. We’d seen a program on ITV about both the sweet shop and well dressings, so I added that to our little list of things to do on the way out of the area.

Happily it was an absolutely gorgeous day, and we took our time driving along the sunny country roads. Stoney Middleton actually has three wells, so they had three well dressings! Based in solid pagan traditions, well dressing “is a summer custom practiced in rural England in which wells, springs or other water sources are decorated with designs created from flower petals” (Wikipedia).

But these aren’t just any designs, they are AMAZING. The main one we saw in Stoney Middleton was a 100-year memorial to the start of WWI and the men and boys the village had lost in that war…created completely out of flower petals. They also had one at the Children’s Well dedicated to the World Cup, and one closer to the edge of town that was the image of a fox in a log.

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Stoney Middleton with well dressing on the right.

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Names of the fallen villagers.

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Close up of the petals, leaves and seeds used to make the dressing.

Our last stop on our journey home was Tissington, the home of Edward & Vintage. The shop was in a lovely little cottage with walls lined in glass jars full of old-fashioned candies. We spent about £15 on assorted bags of Pink Champagne, Gin & Tonic, Derbyshire Mint Cake, Rhubarb & Custard, Dark Chocolate Ginger, and Cornish Sea Salt Fudge among others…all classic British sweets with the occasional candy necklace thrown into the mix. A thoroughly satisfying end to a great trip into the Peak District.

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Edward & Vintage sweet shop in Tissington.

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Old-fashioned jars of sweets.

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Cornish sea salt fudge….yumm.

I don’t work for Public Affairs, and I probably never will as they are not one of the embassy departments that commonly have direct-hire OMSs. But I’ve always thought it would be fantastic to do so. Both Public Affairs and Protocol are the fancy face of the embassy. They have all the interesting contacts and plan all of the parties.

As an entry-level OMS my presence is rarely needed at such functions. So you can imagine how delighted I was to receive an email from the Front Office last week inviting me (among others) to attend a UK screening of the third season of Veep at the Ambassador’s residence. The season had already finished in the States but was due to air this week in the UK.

I RSVP’d and immediately began an exhaustive search for a sitter as my hubby was out of town for work. I finally found one, literally, in the 11th hour…it was 5:05pm, and the event started at 6:30pm. But what a wonderful night it was!

For some reason, I originally thought it was going to be more of a work get together that might involve maybe 15 people…until I saw the guest list with 150 names. The majority of them were British journalists, relevant employees from Sky TV, and American script writers. But I recognized one name: Sally Phillips.

Sally Phillips is a prolific British comedic actress who appeared in two episodes of Veep as the Finnish Prime Minister. And any hopeless romantic from the 2001 (such as myself) would also recognize her as Shazza from Bridget Jones’s Diary…the one who liked to say f*ck…a lot.

Thankfully they were serving champagne, so after a couple glasses I finally mustered the courage to ask Ms. Phillips if she would be kind enough to take a photo with me…not wanting to be the annoying fan at the embassy party. But she was super sweet and obliged. So now I have this wonderful photo to add to my list of amazing memories of London. Thank you, Sally! :)

 

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It’s just a little bit ironic that the best Fourth of July celebration that I’ve ever been to took place in London last week. I was actually racking my brain trying to think of a close second and couldn’t come up with one. I’m sure I’ll even be hard pressed to have a better one in the future. But let me go into a bit more detail on why this one will be hard to beat.

First of all, it took place at Winfield House, the US Ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park. I’ve been to Winfield House a couple times since we arrived, once for work and once for the Children’s Christmas Party, but what a difference between the two events! Don’t get me wrong, Christmas was absolutely stunning, but it was also indoors. So much of our time was spent trying to get our son to behave and not lick the mirrored walls in the Yellow Room.

Friday’s event was outside in the beautiful backyard…about 12 acres of it, to be precise. Winfield House has the largest private garden in central London after Buckingham Palace. So there were no antiques to demolish within 100 yards of us at any given time.

Winfield House.

Winfield House.

A lovely sculpture in the gardens.

A lovely sculpture in the gardens.

The weather was phenomenal. While the East Coast of the US was getting battered by Hurricane Arthur, and the west coast of the UK even had a nice band of rain sitting on it, London was getting some of the best weather it had all summer. The sun was shining, the breeze was warm, and the temperatures soared to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. I actually used my umbrella as a sunshade several times. Couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day!

There were bouncy castles involved…two of them. Our original plan was to arrive at 1:00pm when the event started and not to overstay our welcome. We’ve learned that overstimulation and exhaustion are not a good combination, and kiddy temper tantrums have ruined the tone of several events in the recent past. We gave it two hours tops.

Instead, we stayed till 4:30pm and ended up having a great time…our son spent two full hours on the bouncy castle with breaks for a walk around the gardens with Mommy, a nice pick-up “football” game with an embassy family from his nursery school, and a leisurely meal of hot dog and bun on the picnic blanket we’d brought and strategically placed under a lovely shady tree.

A solid accidental crack on the head from another jumper was the only thing that eventually dimmed his enthusiasm for the bouncy castle, and he was content to finish the day sitting on my lap in the shade eating ice cream.

One of the two bouncy castles.

One of the two bouncy castles.

Our little picnic blanket in the shade.

Our little picnic blanket in the shade.

We also brought a friend. After the initial round of embassy staff had signed up for the event, we were informed that we could pick up tickets for friends. So we invited another lovely family from our son’s nursery school. Unfortunately, the mom and the kids were going to be out of town on the day, but my hubby is good friends with the dad, so we convinced him to join us sans famille.

So we had the added enjoyment of great company, and every now and then the guys would watch our son on the bouncy castle, and I would sit blissfully on the picnic blanket with a plastic cup of wine and enjoy the moment.

In addition to all that fun, we got a great picture with the ambassador on our arrival. And our son even got a swag bag from a vendor tent set up by the embassy’s bank branch. I think the only thing that could’ve made it better would’ve been mid-day fireworks. But THAT might have been a bit over the top. ;)

Me...having a very American moment.

Me…having a very American moment. :)

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I’ve been to Windsor with visiting friends twice in the last couple months. Strangely enough, it doesn’t do that much for me, which is shocking considering what an awesome history it has and the fact that the Queen still lives there part time. I think having first seen the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg might’ve spoiled me completely.

But there are some fantastic rooms in Windsor and some great art. One of the pieces that’s been on my mind lately is the Massacre of the Innocent by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. According to the official description, the scene is based on a passage from the Bible: “…after hearing from the wise men of the birth of Jesus, King Herod ordered that all children in Bethlehem under the age of two should be murdered. Bruegel set the story as a contemporary Flemish atrocity so that the soldiers wear the distinctive clothing of the Spanish army and their German mercenaries.”

The Massacre of the Innocents by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1566

The Massacre of the Innocents by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1566.

I’m not a great connoisseur of art, but I know what I like. Always been a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites. Prefer Realism, Romanticism and Impressionism to Modernism or Abstract Expressionism. Can’t stand Picasso. While in Belize I began to appreciate Primitivism a bit more, particularly stuff by Henri Rousseau. Lately I’ve discovered a growing affection for Folk Art.

Now Folk Art is a HUGE and sweeping style and is defined as “art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople” and/or “characterized by a naive style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed.” (Wikipedia…I know, I’m entirely too lazy and rely too much on questionable sources.)

If you skip over the tragic theme of Bruegel’s painting and the fact that he’s technically a Rennaissance painter, it very much reminds me of a particular Folk artist…Grandma Moses, which apparently is a common comparison. I don’t know how familiar she was with Bruegel’s works, but she was basically self-taught and started painting in her 70s.

Sugaring Off by Grandma Moses, 1955.

Sugaring Off by Grandma Moses, 1955.

The other thing these two images have in common is snow. So if you want to get really specific, you could say that I’m particularly fond of Winter Folk Art Scenes. If you simply do a Google image search on that phrase, you get back all kinds of lovely contemporary artists like Catherine Holman, Rene Britenbucher, Kori Vincent, Wendy Presseisen, Michele Beyar-Tetreau, and Carol Dyer.

Recently I also came across Jane Ray who lives in London and is an English illustrator of children’s books. Here’s one of her lovely illustrations from The Twelve Days of Christmas.

And don’t even get me started on how much I love Russian lacquer boxes (bottom).

From The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jane Ray, 2011.

From The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jane Ray, 2011.

Winter Troika in Moscow by Strunin Mikhail.

Winter Troika in Moscow by Strunin Mikhail.

It’s the middle of June already, and even though we don’t get summers off, it seems like most of our events the last couple weeks have been related to kids. After Belize it’s nice to be somewhere that actually has a lot of events for children.

Sports Day

Our son had his first ever Sports Day at nursery school (which goes all year instead of following the academic school year, thankfully). Being so young, I was actually really impressed at how well he did and how great his coordination was. I had never seen him do anything particularly athletic other than run around, throw himself into the swimming pool and jump off the couch.

But they had (plastic) egg-on-spoon races, sack races, three-legged races and just plain running races, and he was always toward the front if not at the front of the pack. I was very proud! Then they all got cupcakes and little medals for participation, which I think is just fine at this age.

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Summer Fayre

The following weekend was the St. John’s Wood Summer Fayre near Regent’s Park, so we went to that…and it was a madhouse. We got there right when it started at 11am, so it was fine in the beginning. But we stayed a bit too long…until 3:00. So our son missed his nap and was downright overstimulated after four hours…and ended up having a full-on screaming meltdown at the end when we tried to leave.

But he got to go on a big inflatable slide, ride on the spinning swings and the teacups, jump in the bouncy castle, eat hot dogs and ice cream…AND meet Peppa Pig, which brought a huge smile to his face. We heard early on that the Peppa event sold out quickly, so we went straight to the ticket booth and managed to get a slot.

Apparently the fair raised £50,000 for the St. John’s Wood Hospice, which is awesome.

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