Monday, January 23, 2017


Cafe at the V&E
Café im V&E

On Saturday, we finally received all the missing Oyster cards for traveling on the public transportation system in the mail.  It took a long time to get them because of our children's different ages.  Each age group has a different card.  To be honest, the way the public transportation is organized here could not get more complicated anymore.  Reminds me of the public library system, which is also way too complicated!  Okay, I will stop my complaints now.  On Sunday morning, after a breakfast of scones, baked by me we headed out to go to the sung Latin Mass at the Brompton Oratory.  This Mass was the Mass we attended most of the time 13 years ago.  It took us almost an hour to get there, but it was worth it.  It was all as we had remembered it, the atmosphere, the choir, and the main thurifer (acolyte).  He had made a big impression on us 13 years ago because of the incredible precision of the way he had swung the thurible.  He was still there!  Less hair and older, but the precision had not changed.  It was so bizarre to see him again, as if we had never been gone.  

 On the way to the subway
Auf dem Weg zur U-Bahn

 Arsenal Station

 Brompton Oratory

Lighting candles
Wir zünden Kerzen an.

Am Samstag haben wir endlich alle Oyster Karten für den öffentlichen Verkehr bekommen.  Sie sind mit der Post geschickt worden.   Ich glaube, man könnte das Londoner System nicht mehr komplizierter machen!  Es ist fast so kompliziert wie das Londoner öffentliche Büchereiwesen, was auch zu wünschen übrig läßt.  Ich werde aber jetzt aufhören, zu schimpfen.  Nach einem schönen Sonntagsfrühstück, mit Gebäck von mir eigenhändig gebacken, sind wir zum Brompton Oratory gefahren.  Die 11 Uhr Messe dort ist eine lateinische Messe und wir sind meistens dort zur Kirche gegangen, als wir hier vor 13 Jahren waren.  Es hat fast eine Stunde gedauert, bis wir da waren.  Es war alles genauso, wie wir es in Erinnerung hatten: die Atmosphäre, der Chor und der Hauptthuriferar.  Dieser war uns wegen seiner unglaublichen Präzision im Schwenken des Weihrauchfaßes in Erinnerung geblieben.  Da war er wieder, 13 Jahre älter, weniger Haare, aber dieselbe Präzision.  Unglaublich!  Man hatte nicht das Gefühl, daß wir jemals weggewesen sind.     

 Pret: Flora and I ate outside because there was not enough room inside.
Pret: Flora und ich haben draußen gegessen, weil es drinnen nicht genug Platz gab.

Reflection of Harrods in the Pret window
Spiegelbild von Harrods im Pret Fenster

After Mass, we had lunch at Pret, then headed over to the V&A.  First we went to find Jesus on the Donkey.  That used to be Miriam's favorite part of the museum, and that was the first time she said "Jesus."  Whenever we went to the V&A, we had to visit Jesus first to make her happy.  At 2:00 p.m. we met with Chanda.  We walked around the museum for another hour.  Miriam and Flora made some prints in the art room with other children.  Jonathan, Charlotte, and Chanda looked at things together, and Peter and Veronika looked at some objects the students have to look at later this semester.  They also started looking at the interesting Lockwood Kipling exhibition.  Veronika is just finishing up the study of Ancient India and so this exhibition is perfect for us.  We also found Shiva as a statue, which was really exciting.  Veronika had drawn him in her main lesson book before we came here.    

Nach der Messe haben wir bei Pret gegessen, dann ging es weiter zum V&A.  Erst mußten wir Jesus auf dem Esel besuchen.  Das war Miriams Lieblingsausstellungsstück im ganzen Museum, als sie ein Jahr alt war.  Da hat sie auch gelernt "Jesus" zu sagen.  Wir konnten das Museum nie aufsuchen, ohne erst Jesus gesehen zu haben, damit sie glücklich war.  Um 14.00 Uhr haben wir uns dann mit Chanda getroffen.  Jonathan, Charlotte und sie haben das Museum dann eine Stunde alleine erkundet, ich war mit Flora und Miriam bei der Kunstaktivität für Kinder (sie haben gedruckt), und Peter hat mit Veronika die Ausstellungsstücke angeschaut, die die Studenten sich bald ansehen müssen.  Außerdem waren sie in einer Lockwood Kipling Ausstellung, die gut zu Veronikas Altindienepoche paßt.  Sie hat auch eine Skulptur von Shiva gesehen, den sie in ihr Epochenheft letztes Jahr gemalt hat.  Das war ganz schön, etwas von ihrem Unterricht in natura zu sehen. 

 Brompton Oratory

 Christ on the Ass (from Southern Germany!)
Christus auf dem Esel (aus Süddeutschland!)

Shiva's Dance
Shivas Tanz

 Chanda, Jonathan, Charlotte

 Miriam and I really, really liked this staircase.
Miriam und ich mochten diese französische Treppe sehr.  

 Flora is working hard on her drawing for her print.
Flora arbeitet konzentriert an ihrer Druckvorlage.

Miriam's cat (I guess I forgot to take a picture of Flora's!)
Miriams Katze (Anscheinend habe ich kein Foto von Floras gemacht!)

At 3:00 p.m. we tried to get a table for teatime, but we had to split up.  Peter sat with Flora, Veronika, and Miriam somewhere far away from the rest of us.  That was kind of sad because we did not have a chance to really visit with each other.  The museum was packed, I think the population in Kensington must have doubled during the last 13 years, maybe tripled?  It was not the quiet museum of our memories.  We still had some nice time together, though.    

Beautiful lamps
Wunderschöne Lampen

Um 15.00 Uhr haben wir versucht, einen Tisch für das Kaffeetrinken zu bekommen, aber wir mußten uns aufteilen.  Peter hat mit Flora, Miriam und Veronika in einem Teil des Cafés gesessen und wir übrigen in einem ganz anderen.  Das war traurig, weil wir uns so kaum unterhalten konnten. Das Museum war so voll!  Ich glaube, die Bevölkerung in Kensington hat sich in den letzten 13 Jahren verdoppelt oder verdreifacht.  Es war trotzdem schön, ein wenig Zeit miteinander zu haben.      

To get back home, we took a different route because of the soccer game at the Arsenal stadium.  We live close to the stadium and when there are games, it gets crazy!  So we decided to take the bus and sat on the upper level.  

Wieder nach Hause sind wir nicht nur mit der U-Bahn gefahren, sondern auch mit dem Bus.  Wir wohnen in der Nähe des Arsenalfußballstadions, und am Sonntag gab es ein Spiel.  Die U-Bahnhaltestelle Arsenal ist dann keine gute Haltestelle.  So sind wir dann Doppeldeckerbus gefahren. 

V&E at night
V&E am Abend

Cinnamon roasted almonds
Gebrannte Mandeln

 Natural History Museum
Naturkunde Museum

 Dinner at Pret
Abendessen bei Pret

My little Flora
Meine kleine Flora 

Busride home
Busfahrt nach Hause

Back home, I had to prepare my Skype class for tonight.  It was a fun class, my students sang the German national anthem for me (they have to memorize it right now).  We did grammar exercises about the German present perfect tense and read a longer description of the city of Heidelberg.   I just did some question and asnwer in biology with Charlotte.  We are using not Apologia's Biology with her, but the one from Liberty Press.  We will see which one we like better once we are done with the book.  I also continued The Robbers (by Schiller, in German) with Jonathan.     

Hier zu Hause habe ich dann meinen Skype Deutschkurs für heute vorbereitet.  Ich hatte eine gute Stunde mit den Studenten.  Sie haben das Deutschlandlied für mich gesungen!  Sie müssen es im Moment auswendig lernen.  Wir haben auch viel zum Perfekt gemacht und dann einen längeren Text über Heidelberg gelesen.  Danach habe ich Biologie bei Charlotte abgefragt und mit Jonathan weiter "Die Räuber" gelesen.  


  1. What a lot you packed into just one day! I sympathise with your comments re public transport and the library system, good old government spending cuts are the cause :-(

    1. Yes, it was a full day :). I don't remember life being so complicated here before. Everything is automated now, the post office, the library, the Oyster cards, but at he same time it is all very complicated. There are so many restrictions on what, when, and how you can check out books, that you can hardly keep track of all the different rules. And when Veronika wanted to use the library catalog, she was not allowed to because she was a child. Even Charlotte was not allowed. So I had to ask with a written request that my children would be allowed to use the library catalog at one particular branch. And I, as adult, may not check out as many books as a child. And to check out DVDs you have to pay, and so on. The Oyster cards are also so complicated. We could not get one for Charlotte at the beginning because she belonged to a separate age group that had to prove that you go to a school in London. We finally gave up and got her a more expensive adult card. I think there must be some person behind the scenes who enjoys to come up with many complicated rules. (Maybe he is of German origin :). Things in America may be primitive, but at least they are easy to understand and to use!

  2. Hello Eva, how nice that the Oratory was just as you remembered, even down to seeing your acolyte! It's also nice to hear that there is a public library system, though the rules sound like enough to cause one to walk out in anger and frustration! I always check out so many books! And of course a child would need to use the catalog . . !!??

    Chanda concurred with your assessment of the V and A. I'm sorry it was so crowded! I can see how disappointing that would have been for you. These pictures are lovely, though, and Chanda was glad to have some time to see you. I've noticed that our museums are much busier these days. It seems to be the new popular thing to do . . ? Or people are traveling more? It's an interesting change from the '80's and '90's.

    Thanks for taking the pictures. Chanda didn't take any. She only has her phone which doesn't have much memory. Could you send me the one you took of everyone on the steps?

    Flora is such a dear :)

    1. Peter and I couldn't help laughing when he stepped out :). We had talked about him just before we entered the church.

      The rules of the library system are very strange. You cannot check out many books and need to return your items first before you can check out new ones (at least at the beginning). I home, I sometimes have 100 out for the whole family. Here, each person needs a separate card and I have to try to keep track of all those cards and checkouts. And everybody has different restrictions and fines. It is completely crazy. Also, when I reserve a book, I can only pick it up with my card, not with Flora's or Jonathan's, etc. That is also kind of complicated. And not to be able to use the card catalog is also very strange. But the funniest thing happened just a few days ago: Our library cards expired! You have to renew them every month to be able to use them. Well, I wrote to the library main office and asked if they could change that for us. Because you have to renew them in person with supporting documents each time. Somebody thought maybe he could change that for us and now some of our cards are good until 2018, but not all. I guess I have to write again and ask to make them all the same. I think Veronika's is still different and will expire in a few days. I think they should put me in charge of their system.

      I am not sure why there are so many people in the museums. It is just crazy. In the British Museum on Sunday, it was the same. But then they started to close all but one bathroom one hour before closing time. Can you imagine? All these people and ONE bathroom? Of course, everybody is going to use the bathroom before leaving the museum and traveling by bus or subway. Can you imagine the line for that one bathroom? It was several floors long. I sent an e-mail to the museum today to complain.

      I don't just want to say bad things about London, but even Peter, who is not nearly as critical as I am, has complained about a certain lack of organizational skills around here.

  3. I am so glad you wrote a letter! They need to get their act together! We're able to check out many, many books from our library! It's so wonderful. I can also easily renew and in the summer I can check books out for June, July and August. To pick up reserved books I do need to have the specific child's/person's card, unless it's our favorite librarian who knows us so well. Sometimes it's good and smart to be flexible with rules.

    1. We checked out books today again and used all our different cards in order to take them home. It is very complicated to figure out who can take how many and Jonathan has checked out quite a few board books (that Flora picked) now. Flora's account shows some adult books about London. In L.A., the library was also more complicated, probably more like yours, but this here is just a nightmare. And all the branches we have visited so far are just plain ugly. You do not even want to go there.

  4. Hallo Eva, die Kirche sieht ein bisschen aus wie der Aachener Dom von innen. Zumindest erinnert sie mich ein wenig daran. Der schöne Kuppelbau ist in Aachen noch durch einen gotischen Bau erweitert, der ganz anders und viel höher aussieht, was er aber gar nicht ist. Ich weiss nicht ob Ihr jemals über den Karlsdom sprecht aber falls dem so sein sollte gibt es ein tolles Buch für Kinder dazu: Meine Kinder fanden das Buch klasse, es erzählt die Geschichte des Doms.

    Mit dem Doppeldeckerbus fahren Robin und Ronja auch immer gerne und vorzugsweise natürlich oben! :-)

    1. Ja, ein bißchen schon, doch ist der Aachener Dom natürlich viel älter. Danke für die Buchempfehlung. Bisher haben wir eigentlich nicht viel über den Aachener Dom gesprochen, doch meine Studenten haben ihn im Unterricht gehabt.

      Ich glaube, alle Kinder fahren gerne oben.


Welcome and leave a comment if you like. I look forward to reading your lines.

Willkommen auf meinem Blog. Über einen Kommentar würde ich mich sehr freuen.