last Lon­don sum­mer adventures

-- July 28th, 2014 --

My, it’s hot.  Although Lon­don­ers always express amaze­ment what­ever the weather, it really is amaz­ingly hot.  We’ve dragged our sprin­kler from the base­ment to try to alle­vi­ate the dry­ness.  The smell of wet grass evokes lovely child­hood Indi­ana mem­o­ries of my dad water­ing the tomato gar­den, and kindly turn­ing the water on the grass for a bit so we could race through it.  Wet grass is universal.

Tacy doesn’t mind the heat.

tacy sunny

The day has finally arrived: Avery is com­ing home from Rus­sia this evening, our bags are packed, pass­ports sorted, cat dishes full, and tomor­row we leave for Connecticut!


It’s been a funny time here in Lon­don, with every­one I nor­mally see dur­ing the year say­ing in a puz­zled way, “Aren’t you usu­ally gone by now?”  I’ve spent an extra month with my Home-Start fam­ily, watch­ing the babies grow almost vis­i­bly on our weekly vis­its.  I’ve never spent this much time with small babies since Avery was one, and it’s incred­i­ble to see them acquir­ing new skills — track­ing a pass­ing train with their eyes, hold­ing their own bot­tles of milk, sit­ting up with their fat lit­tle hands on either side to sup­port them­selves.  The extra month has been a real joy, and it’s a bit of a wrench to think how they’ll have grown and changed in the com­ing month that we’ll spend apart.

My fel­low bell ringers looked star­tled to see me at Sun­day ser­vices yes­ter­day.  “You’re still here?”  I sweated my way through Grand­sire Dou­bles, ring­ing the tenor behind to Sted­mans, and even call­ing some changes myself, and get­ting very flus­tered call­ing us back into rounds.  “Ner­vous sweat,” diag­nosed Andrew sagely.  Then it was onto Chiswick where for the first time ever in my expe­ri­ence, the back door to the ring­ing cham­ber was open, to admit a breeze.  The atmos­phere was so lovely, so ancient and yet so breezily mod­ern, and of-the-moment, that I felt I couldn’t breathe for the beauty.

chiswick light

While Avery’s been away — and nearly silently, with­out inter­net of phone most of the time and so tan­ta­liz­ingly with­out tale-telling — we’ve been busy feed­ing friends, see­ing plays, see­ing other friends.  We’ve made a cou­ple of superb and deli­cious dis­cov­er­ies.  John always mocks me for get­ting obsessed with a dish and mak­ing it over and over until I get it just right, but some­times it’s not too dif­fi­cult to live through the process.  Oh, clams.

clam spaghetti with olives and tomatoes

Von­gole e Spaghetti con Pomodori, Olive e Aglio

(serves 4)

1.5 kilos/3.5 lb small clams, raw

50ml/1/4 c very good qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil

6 cloves gar­lic, minced

3 tbsps butter

2 large hand­fuls flat-leaf pars­ley, minced

1 hot Thai…