Friday, 29 April 2011

Day #38: The one with the two part wedding special!


Two Part Wedding Special: Day 1

Well, we are here, live in London, bringing you a play by play of the biggest event in royal history. That's right folks, we've got tulle, feathered wedding hats, cardboard Queen Elizabeth masks, and royal mounted guards (basically, cops on horses). Have no fear, we will bring you up-to-date info and unbiased local news of the big affair (and by affair, we mean event, not future speculation...oops!). So, without further ado, we bring you Day 1 of the Two Part Wedding Special. Enjoy and remember, you too can have your own royal sick bag commemorating this joyous day.

Union Jack is flying high from every pole - EVERY pole. Will and Kate (coined "Wate" by us - we almost went for "Kill" but Margaret reminded us that we might get arrested for threatening terrorism) are on every channel, every flag, and even on the top of Papa John's Pizza (seriously!).

Love is in the air and today, on Jake's lunch break, we headed down to wedding central to take part in the royal buzz. The scene around Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace was like nothing we have ever seen. Within seconds, we were part of the action and waving flags of our own. Shayne was immediately wishing she had been asked to be a bridesmaid and Jake was on the phone with Will asking if it were too late to get an invite. Turns out, we didn't move here with quite enough time to become friends with the lucky couple, cultivate a true 'hug it out' kind of friendship, and score an invite. We came to terms with the fact that we will have to settle for waving flags with the other 8 million people who have flocked to London to become part of history.

As we crossed over the bridge toward Big Ben, with the recently purchased flags of course, we stopped to take a photo and...what do you know...the batteries ran out as we tried to snap picture number one! Just our luck. So, 8 pounds later (that's about 14 bucks!), we had purchased 4 new AA's and were back in action. Our heads frantically turned everywhere as we took in the sights: thousands of people lining every section of the sidewalk, cars and busses honking, protesters making final attempts to get their causes on camera, tents lining every section of grass, media booths set up on stilts and roofs, and the classic - a tailgating tea party. We saw people dressed up as the royal family strolling around, hilarious signs were hanging around people's necks, and cameras were flashing. It was truly invigorating to be a part of this scene. Our favorite sight at the front of Westminster Abbey was a baby girl dressed up as a princess. She was so young and was on her dad's shoulders just waving to everyone around her. Priceless. Sure to be a photo on the news somewhere tomorrow.

We left the Westminster area and headed through the park along the parade route that Will and Kate will go on tomorrow. We ended up at Buckingham Palace and the sights just became bigger and better! Tents were set up everywhere. Some had people living in them as they tried to hold a spot in the front row, others sold hotdogs or crepes, and others were portable toilets! It was insane and wonderful. Jake actually saw one tent get a pizza delivered to it - hopefully, the one of "Wate"s faces. The media booths here at Buckingham were FOR REAL. Three stories high and, in each one, people doing interviews with their backs to the palace - nice backdrop right! Are you ready for this - we were able to look inside and saw Barbara Walters and drum roll please...Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Yes, it's true, Jane Seymour was there to kick off the event.

We walked down the road leading to the palace and imagined what it must feel like to be Kate Middleton. We wondered, at what point in the day tomorrow is she going to look at Will and say, "When I first met you in the dorms, I never pictured this!"

After our royal walkabout, Jake headed back to work and Shayne immediately went to purchase a feathery hair clip to wear tomorrow. We will not be venturing to this part of London on the actual wedding day, however, we will be watching the whole thing live from a big screen TV at a pub with Margaret, Ben, George, Sophie, and some of their friends.

Stay tuned for Day 2! We are sure to have some great stories live from the heart of it all.

Lesson's Learned: 1) We guess the british DO care about this wedding! 2) There are DEFINITELY not enough porta-potties near the festivities, 3) Souvenir stand batteries are ridiculously over priced (this probably has nothing to do with the wedding).






We pass our first media truck on our way into the madness.













Look who joined us on the tour!
















Say cheese!


















Here we are in front of Westminster Abbey, just outside the doors that Kate will walk through tomorrow in her mystery gown.













The creepy protesters outside of Westminter.

















Just another wedding fanatic!

















Look at this sea of people...media, tents, tourists. Amazing!



















You'd think there's a Star Wars convention going on!



















Well said.
















Future princess - so cute. She was actually waving at everyone.















The media towers outside of Buckingham Palace.















Babwa Walwers! So COOL!












Dr. Quinn - Do you think she is wearing her Open Hearts Collection necklace? We hope so.













Friends from the states.
















Just camping out in front of the palace. Tonight on the menu - hot cocoa, hot dogs, and some Budweiser.












Shayne gets on board the wedding train.















The parade route.












Jake ponders how 8 million people are going to these 2 dozen porta-potties. The math isn't quite right.

















God save the queen!















The kiss in front of the famous balcony. Classic.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Shayne's Day #37: The one with the best day

Today was a wonderful Wednesday in London. I ran in the morning, worked on some more stuff for school, and picked up Jake's pants at the seamstress (he ripped them on the tube last week). While I was out I found an ink pad (as I have to send my fingerprints to the FBI) and decided to go on one final hunt for doorstops. I walked back in our front door a few hours later and well....let's just say our doors were still closed. Then, I had one of those moments when the light bulb over my head went off and clarity was staring me straight in the face. This moment of clarity was in the form of www.amazon.com/uk.

I must have been caught in the 19th century because it was my understanding that amazon.com sold books. Oh no people, they are a whole shopping monopoly online. They have everything, EVERYTHING! Books, clothes, toys, you name it. And yes, I found doorstops! No need for speciality stores here - I found amazon.com baby! I felt like Sarah Plain and Tall in Target for the first time. I didn't know where to navigate first. I went from doorstops, to maps of Europe, to dust ruffles (we need to hide stuff under the bed and they don't have those here - trust me, I have looked). It was an amazing feeling. I have really enjoyed bee-bopping through all of the tiny boutiques here, but let's be honest, sometimes a girl just needs to find something quickly! So with my basket full, I checked out and felt truly vindicated that doorstops were one their way.
Sidenote: Apparently, in the states, you fill up your "shopping cart" on amazon.com. Here, you fill up your "basket." I found this interesting, don't you? I have thought about it for awhile and think it must be because when you go to a store in the states, you can load your purchases into a car. Therefore, you can technically fill up a shopping cart. Here, if you filled up a cart and tried to carry it down the street, you would be on America's Funniest Home Videos. I guess this cultural difference between shopping with a large cart vs. a small basket has translated to online purchasing. Interesting.

After my www.amazon.com/uk moment of glory I decided to teach myself how to do another techy thing that has haunted me for years: uploading photos onto facebook. Up until now, I have essentially been a facebook photo thief. I have always been the person who tags herself in everyone else's pictures, but never contributes to the photo pot. After 2 hours, a few youtube.com training courses, and bit of frustration, I will never again be a photo thief. I, Shayne Singleton, now shop online and upload photos. I welcome myself to the 21st century.

After this very modern afternoon, the front door opened and there stood my husband, absolutely beaming from ear to ear. Out of his mouth came the words I have so longed to hear for quite some time. He said, with the enthusiasm I remember from college, "I just had the BEST DAY!" It was amazing. I couldn't believe my ears. My husband (yes JAKE), who just got home from work - WORK - said his day had been the best. My heart fluttered with joy and I got to hear him sputter out details of meetings, lunch with Jake P., a talk with his office partner, and pints with Jake P. and George on his way home. He was going a mile a minute and it was wonderful! The smile on his face was contagious. You know you love someone when their happiness makes you happier too!

Good thing he was smiling because, later that night, at kicked his butt at Canasta again.

Lesson's Learned: 1) They sell doorstops on amazon.com/uk, 2) Uploading facebook photos is not as hard as it looks, 3) Jake is happy!


Day #36: The one with the Medalian Food

With a weird three day work week sandwiched between two bank holiday weekends - Jake's office was dead. Therefore, after our big Easter Monday, he decided to post up on our terribly uncomfortable pre-furnished couch and work from home. You must all be asking, "Can an EY employee do this?" In London they can!

We spent the morning having coffee and laughing about the wonderful weekend. Then it was work time. While Jake worked on a few projects, Shayne made some progress with her supply teaching paperwork. The good news: She got an interview at the Southbank International School, the private school in Notting Hill that she was hoping to get into. The interview was scheduled with the principal on Wednesday of next week, so please keep your fingers crossed for her. The tricky part is that all of her required paperwork takes time to be processed. There is one packet in particular that needs to go through the FBI back in the states! So, we are really hoping that all of it comes together in time for her to get started before summer vacation.

By about 5:00 we were really ready to get out of the house. We walked down Upper Street and were excited to try the little Mediterranean place near our house. We walked in hoping for falafel and hummus and instead, found pasta and pizza! Jake went back outside to check the sign and, sure enough, Mediterranean. So, we hunkered down for some good 'ol classic Medalian food (that is a combo of Mediterranean and Italian). Jake had a delicious pasta with spinach and sausage and Shayne got to have her favorite, beef carpaccio!

Lessons Learned: 1) Mediterranean food is oddly similar to Italian - SHOCKING! 2) Jake working from home, although wonderful for us, does not make for very exciting reading - sorry guys!

Day #35: The one with the days of the week

It official - the U.S. needs to add Easter Monday as an official holiday. There have been whispers that it used to exist, so we would like to propose an amendment to the official government holiday calendar-
Addressed To: Whom it may concern, the Easter Bunny, and/or President Obama
What: Proposal for Easter Monday
Where: The U.S.
When: The Monday following Easter
(Easter is Sunday, Monday is the day after that, and Tuesday comes next - that was a little "Friday" video shout out. While you are at it, watch this one next. )
Why: It is radical

Here is our plug for Easter Monday. Easter Sunday is, quite possibly, the most important of all the Christian holidays. Although the day is usually spent with family and friends, let's be honest, it is really for Jesus...and He is really important. With an Easter Monday holiday, you can dedicate Sunday to the real reason for the season and Monday would be, as stated earlier, a radical day to do whatever you want with people you love! One point for the U.K. on this one - Easter Monday, ingenious idea!

In our case, the day was spent with some of our favorite London peeps (HA! Peeps, get it?): Erin and Jason, Sophie and George, Stuart and Kate, Andy, Mike and Carly. We started the day with a haircut for Jake (in our bath tub mind you with the new U.K. outlet clippers we just purchased from Tesco Extra). Then we met up with everyone at a great little pub, The Queen's Arm, down in Pimlico where Sophie had reserved a big table for brunch. We had some pints and wine, some fabulous laughs, and great food! The weather was jaw-droppingly gorgeous and, of course, our pug friend Zeus joined us under the table. Good thing Erin left her favorite picnic blanket at home!

After lunch, we had to say goodbye to Erin and Jason. They had to rush home and get everything ready for the movers. You know you have met good people when you have only known them for a month and will miss them terribly.

The rest of the pub crew headed back to Sophie and George's flat for a divine afternoon in their private garden. Basically, picture the garden from the movie Notting Hill. Shady trees, bright flowers, laughing children, and beautiful little cakes and treats (courtesy of hostess Sophie) filled our afternoon. It was british heaven! One of the little boys running around was dressed in a white collared shirt, tiny little white shorts, high white socks, and little white shoes. He was so cute and looked like either a ball boy from Wimbledon, an albino Tweedle-Dee, or the world's tiniest Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. Classic London.

We went back to George and Sophie's flat when the sun went down and the London breeze kicked up. We walked into their place and realized someone was a movie fan! George literally had two entire walls covered in DVD's. Jake teared up a little bit when he saw the inspiring collection. We were pleased to see some classics like Top Gun, The Godfather, and One Tree Hill Season 1 on the wall. We got into the best conversation about 'Must Own' movies. George got out a pen and paper and started a list inspired by his American friends and what we deemed as necessity purchases to be made. We got together a real hum-dinger top ten list and were surprised to learn that George, the movie buff, hadn't seen or heard of: Rudy, Hoosiers, Office Space, or Shayne's personal favorites Grease 2 and Girls Just Want to Have Fun (moment of silence for an incredibly young Brenda Walsh!). Pizza Express was our final hurrah of the night. At this point, the group had dwindled quite a bit and only the truly dedicated Easter Mondayers were still around. We had our delicious pizza and left feeling very lucky to have met such wonderful people so fast.

Lesson's Learned: 1) Easter Monday - "We're doing it!" 2) The days of the week go in this order: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, FRIDAY, Saturday, Sunday - then begin again. Thank you Rebecca Black.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Day #34: The one where the girl gets trampled

There is something to be said for Easter in London! Granted, we missed having a picnic with family, going to church at New Break, hitting up Disneyland with the Ketchum's (one of our favorite Easter's by the way), and celebrating Kristyn's big Easter B-Day. However, if you can't be at home for such a special day, the old cathedrals, shady spring trees, Easter dresses, and stylish Easter hats of London are a close second.

We decided to start the beautiful holiday by hitting up our local church here in Islington for Easter service.
















We knew that the service started at 11, but we didn't know what kind of church it was. When we got there, we realized it was the Church of England...when in Rome right? The congregation was dressed in their Easter best and it was so fun to see all the little one's with their frilly dresses, tights, and tiny suit coats. The service actually ended up being very similar to a Catholic mass with very few differences here and there. The biggest difference was a demonstration instigated by the priest.

During his sermon, he discussed how we should all go to Jesus with the excitement of a child. It was a wonderful visual and it made us smile to think of the hypothetical analogy. However, the HYPOTHETICAL analogy quickly became something more.

Let us pause here and remind you of the typical behavior of british children: Do sharp pencils and buckets of water ring a bell? If not, refer to the one with the supply teaching luncheon.

Let us proceed...
So, the priest says, "For this demonstration, I am going to need all of the children's group to help me out." "YAY," thinks Shayne who loves a child demo! We hear all 20 kids start to gather in the back of the church. Up to this point, they had been at a little table in the back making sweet Easter gardens out of clay. Now, remember the HYPOTHETICAL analogy? Good! Here we go. The priest then says, "Let us watch the joy of a child when they run to the arms of Jesus." Shayne says outloud, "Oh no, not a good idea!" The priest then says, "Run my children, run to the alter!" All 20 kids, ages 2-12, take off at a dead sprint down the center aisle of the church. They get to the front - success! Shayne breathes a sigh of relief that the child chaos was over and no one has been hurt. The priest clearly needs a lesson in child tendencies because he says, louder this time, "RUN, RUN again, and back up to the front!" Ok, with children, don't push your luck. The first time they do something out of the ordinary, you can count on them to be hesitant and on their best behavior. As they do something again and again, and it becomes too familiar - watch out! So now, there are children in their little suits and dresses absolutely tearing up and back down the aisle. They are going at different speeds and different directions as the older ones start to lap the younger ones. Some of the congregation is laughing at the visual demo, Jake chuckles, Shayne cringes, the priest looks like he isn't sure how he created this madness and then...sure enough...you know what happens next! A little blond boy with a combover hair-do runs giggling down the aisle, turns on a dime, and plows chest first, into a 5 year old little girl who is just covered in white lace and bows. She never saw it coming and is just whacked down flat on her back. You could hear the whole church suck in their breath through their teeth as they watch the rest of the antelope children stampede over top of her. No one rushes to her aid, there is no one there to help! Shayne has a glimpse into what her first day of supply teaching will be like with these animals! Finally, an older boy sees what's happened and stops the rush to help pick her up.

 We had to give the little girl credit. No tears at all! She just brushed off her little dress and rejoined the pack. It seems that this was not something out of the ordinary at St. Marys! We laughed about it later thinking these kids are in the car on their way saying, "Please mommy, please don't make me go to that church!" HA! Here is the best part though. Now that the priest had opened this can of worms without any restrictions on the rugrats, for the rest of the service you could see a radical 4 year old just tearing down the aisle whenever they felt like it. You know kids, if it's ok the first time and the second, why not do it again?

After church we came back to the Money Pit and read for awhile. We were just enjoying the afternoon when the Easter miracle of 2011 occurred. Now, if you remember, receiving our first care package box was like trying to get a ladybug to make honey! However, there was a knock on the door - ON EASTER SUNDAY! - and there stood a FedEx guy. It was like the Easter Bunny had arrived. Jake asked, "Wait, do you even deliver on Sundays?" We opened the box to find all sorts of Easter surprises from Shayne's mom: candy, magazines, scratcher tickets, Steeler's mugs (our first non-disposable cups since living here), and even the HP7 DVD! Thanks Mama! What a treat!

So, with the Easter excitement we headed down the road to Keston. We spent the afternoon playing Canasta with our friends (aka - the waiters and bartenders) at our favorite neighborhood joint. Shayne would like to add here that she beat Jake really big. It is tradition that the Singleton ladies always win on holidays and she kept the Singleton success alive! We ended the holiday with our first traditional Sunday roast from Keston Lodge. All-in-all it was a beautiful holiday spent in London! Happy Easter everyone.

Lessons Learned: 1) Don't run in church, 2) Don't let your child attend children's group at St. Mary's in Islington, London, 3) Don't underestimate the power of a FedEx man on an Easter candy sugar high, 4) Don't challenge a Singleton lady to any game on any holiday - Arbor Day included.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Day #33: The one with Harry Potter

In honor of this magical day, we figured we would fill the lines with a lighthearted poem. So, get out your animated reading voice and brush up on your Harry Potter trivia. Enjoy!

We awoke with a start and knew the day had arrived,
Up to this point, we had been Potter deprived.
Without further ado, we left the house,
Wishing we had Griffindor scarves, wands, glasses and even Scabbers the mouse
(ok, technically a rat - but it didn't rhyme).
To the Borough Market we decided to dash,
the best outdoor food array: Caution - they only take cash.
We smelled fresh sausage, tried cider, and Thai,
fresh flowers so bright, they could make a grown man cry
(Jake didn't cry, but he did enjoy them!).
We settled on a cart that to our delight,
had broiling wedges of cheese and was quite the sight!
A platter or potatoes, topped in fried cheese,
was a must for the Singleton's, "We'll have one...YES PLEASE!"
"Oh you make a toasted cheese sandwich as well?"
The cheese was so good, we were put under a spell.
With all this fine food, a drink was in need,
a Rose and Pimm's spritzer was made with great speed.
To the Potter invasion we journeyed at last,
and started our tour hoping we'd see the cast.
Through London we went with mostly kids of all ages,
but, we kicked their butts at the trivia, have they not read the pages?
Our guide led us to sights we so wanted to see,
Diagon Alley and Gringott's - it was entertaining indeed.
We floated down the Thames under bridges galore,
hoping to get a glimpse of flying broomsticks and more.
On the steps of the Leaky Cauldron we stopped with the group,
and wanted to go inside for a warm bowl of pea soup ("Eat it before it eats you!")
Platform 9 and 3/4 in King's Cross Station,
was the pinnacle and our final destination.
A magical day it turned out to be,
a little closer to our friends, Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
The Money Pit benefitted from this tour as well,
it could use a little "REPARO"...our new favorite spell.
Fans of Potter we are proud and true,
we are off to find Horcruxes and Deathly Hallows too!

At the Market:






An amazing olive stand at Borourgh Market.
Highlight: Almond stuffed green olives!










As we headed into the market we passed the Southwark Cathedral - the oldest gothic cathedral in the city.










Shayne enjoying a Pimm's spritzer.
It's Pimm's O'Clock!














The cheese wedges broiling under the open flame. Moment of silence please!















No label necessary!














What a fun day!!!








Harry Potter Tour:







On the boat down the river Thames to see where Harry Potter flew beneath the bridges.











Shayne pretending to pull a muggle inside the garage from the set of HP7. Look out for this scene when you watch the movie!










Wizarding money: knuts, sickles, and galleons!















Charing Cross Road: The street in London that inspired Diagon Alley.



















Cool film set outside of the Leaky Cauldron. Do you recognize the scene?















Platform 9 and 3/4!













"Can you find all these things in London?" asked Harry. "If yeh know where to go!" said Hagrid.










The REAL entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. Yes...we are holding wands.










Double decker HP7 bus...perfect ending.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Day #32: The one with the fashion police



Friday was officially the first of many bank holidays over the next few years and we were thrilled. Since we decided to stay in town for this long weekend, we committed to really 'doing London right' and took advantage of some touristy things. On the agenda today - Gordon's wine bar and the National Gallery (Shayne couldn't wait to take Jake back!).



Gordon's is a local favorite here in London and we were dying to see what all of the fuss was about. We got off the tube and climbed down into what looked like a 19th century wine cellar. Dark archways, tiny halls, and low ceilings were the foundation of this historic London landmark. We looked around and headed for the patio as it was another beautiful blue-sky day. We quickly found a table and Jake went down to the bar. He arrived back with our drinks, but insisted that Shayne go down to order the cheese. As soon as she got to the bottom of the staircase, it was clear why. This was her cheese equivalent of the royal wedding: over the top, grandiose, selection galore (and by selection we mean there were a lot of ladies-in-waiting for Will to choose from!). This was Shayne's version of infinite bliss - all smelly, all room temp., all begging her to chose them! We ended up with a massive plate of oozing Camenbert, Gouda, pickles, fruit compote, baguette, mayo, and something that tasted a lot like pick-a-peppa sauce (that's for you OKC family!).



As we ate, the convo turned to fashion. Not that we would consider ourselves experts by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, we still owe over 95% of our current wardrobes to our mothers. However, keeping up with the fashion trends here has become a bit of a game for us. Jake has never checked out men before, and Shayne looks at the women from head to toe and back again. We are avid people-watchers, but this is on a whole new level. When Jake started work, he would come home everyday and fill Shayne in on the fashion in's and out's of the male british business culture (french cuffs - check, cufflinks - check, flatfront pants - check, cuffed pant bottoms - no check, pockets on your shirt - no check, salmon pants - double check). The fashion topic at Gordon's was belted dresses. When is a belt appropriate? When does a belt help a dress? When does a belt detract? When should a belt be a necessity? Unbeknownst to the women at Gordon's, they were being watched. It was a bloody Project Runway critique on the cobblestone. In the end, the votes were in. Belted dresses are more than acceptable, and even more than fashionable, when applied in the proper context.

A bottle of Prosecco and a cheese coma later, we headed for the ever exciting National Gallery. In summary - 25 rooms of cherub angels, ornate frames, and fish and cabbage still-life paintings and 4 rooms of the most wonderful Impressionist collection there is. Let's just say that, on the way out, our typical magnet purchase was tripled. When you see your favorite Van Gogh and Monet paintings in one collection, which do you eliminate? In our case, none. We now have the sunflowers, house of parliament, and water lily bridge adorning our freezer door. Do you think that Monet would have ever guessed his dedicated life's work would hold the honorable place of the Singleton family fridge? Oh yeah - and the british National Gallery too!


Lesson's Learned: 1) Gordon's Wine Bar has one hell of a cheese selection, 2) Henry the bar mouse should move to Gordon's, 3) If you are in need of belted dress advice, give us a call, 4) Seeing great Impressionist art never gets old.


Saturday, 23 April 2011

Day #31: The one with floating tortilla chip

First off, I (Jake) want to take this opportunity to greet the blog readership. I've been a little MIA over the last couple of weeks, and my beautiful & talented wife has really kept this blog afloat. So please join me in thanking her for keeping you all in the loop, and also celebrating what a truly great writer she is. (She didn't want me to write that, but I think it's necessary). OK without further ado, onto our joint day 31 post.

We've made it a month people! Yep, no matter what calendar you are using, we've been here a full lunar cycle. Well actually we have no idea about any other calendars but we've been here a month, just take our word for it. To celebrate this magical anniversary, Jake decided to work from home. No, this had nothing to do with the extended happy hour that was thrown for Jason the night before! No, there were not copious amounts of alcohol consumed in his honor! The working from home was strictly in celebration of the one month anniversary of our arrival. How dare you think otherwise!

It was a lovely day to say the least. We woke up, Jake got to work (on the couch!) and Shayne went on her run (still going!!!). The phone rang nice and early and it was Venice calling with an Easter miracle. The plumbers had not taken off for their Easter bank holidays as of yet, and we would be graced with their presence at 1:30 (13:30). The day went by without event, until we got a knock on the door in the early afternoon. Sure enough, Trevor and the middle eastern man #1 & #2 were back to fix our sink. Luckily the issue was just a matter of properly routing the piping to the proper drain. Who would have thought. Good thing we brought in professionals to solve this mind bender. The tortilla chip was obviously the smoking gun in this situation. After approximately 11 minutes of work, low and behold our sink/washing machine issue was fixed, and the money pit revival crew was on their way.

Jake finished up his work for the rest of the afternoon, and Shayne got ready to head out with Margaret for high tea. The tea was set at The Wolseley for 4:00 (because, let's be honest...what else would Ladies of Leisure do at 16:00 on a Thursday?). Whatever you are envisioning as a British tea party, this would qualify: Porcelain teapots, sweet little cups, all of the tea tools (we totally acted like we knew what these were), and a delicious serving of scones that would blow your mind. Frilly: yes. Girly: yes. Lace: everywhere. Madhatter and Tea Mouse worthy: no question. UK - the L.O.L.'s have arrived.



* Photos of Margaret and Shayne at the Wolseley having tea for two. Technically, photos were not not allowed, but a few were snuck in. We almost got kicked out, but totally worth it!

Jake and Ben joined the ladies down in the Piccadilly Circus area (on the wedding route!) and headed out for a little happy hour! Amidst the tourist hell, we managed to find a pub that served 2 pound pints. Tourists or not, that's a great deal, so we stopped for a couple rounds. We caught up on the latest happenings with the Levine's and decided that dinner was probably in order. We strolled through the streets and stumbled upon a great little Mexican place. We usually don't throw around the term 'mexican place' very much here, as usually it's just a plate of soggy imitation tortilla chips covered in some tomato like paste that they try to pass off as salsa. Why is there sugar in the salsa? Why? Well luckily El Camion is fairly legit. So they get to keep the 'mexican place' title for now. We had some Dos XX, some Negra Modelo, and even a Tommy's Margarita (which almost brought a tear to Margaret's eye - given her fond memories of the San Francisco establishment). Moment of silence for the owner of Tommy's (who we can only guess was named...Tommy) who just passed away last week. A marg was had in his honor.

* Two dollar pints on the street - awesome!

After a decent passing for mexican food, we headed further down the streets of Soho. Wouldn't you know it, we first passed through the Hillcrest of London (note: Hillcrest is the notoriously gay friendly area of San Diego in which we happened to live & love). We were both right at home, and it was all we could do to keep Shayne and Margaret from diving into the first rainbow filled bar to bust a move on the dance floor. We then turned the corner and were greeted by the London China Town. Turns out Saki bombing is not quite as common here. Maybe that's a Japanese thing. Either way, we found a local pub, and proceeded to share common interest stories. Most of these started as funny stories about Chase Thompson (as he is the common thread between The Singleton's and The Levine's), but what we quickly realized was that the stories were veering off track, and then completely derailed into a tail spin of bathroom humor. We can't tell you why, but for some reason we told over an hour's worth of stories on the subject, each funnier than the last. We won't mention any specifics here (taco bell, liter boxes, purses...oops - we weren't supposed to mention specifics!) because some of our readership have stronger gag reflexes than others, but either way, it was hilarious. As the clocked ticked closer to Friday (we love you bank holidays!), we said goodbye to the culture of Soho and boarded the tube back to the Angel area.

* Out in China Town - Ben, Shayne, Jake, and Marge

Lesson's Learned: 1) When routing drainage pipes from kitchen sink, go around the dishwasher - not through it, 2) When installing a dishwasher, place it in the laundry room, not right next to your kitchen sink, 3) Poop is funny.