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Monday, September 28, 2015

London Life 3

Life got a bit busy quickly and I haven't kept pace with it via the blog. Time to get an update on how things are going on this side of the pond. 
We've had loads of company! For the first four weeks of our being here, we had visitors from Stockholm in church. It was such a treat to see those familiar faces and be in worship with them. A couple of them stayed with us for a few days and it was a joy to get caught up.
We took Tanner back to the vet because his eye was getting worse, not better. They put some weird orange liquid into the eye and it ran out of his nose a neon green color. They think it's a blocked tear duct and gave us some different drops. It's not great. I wish it would just heal.
My cousin and his wife arrived into town last week. They live down the street from us in Desert Hot Springs so it was really fun to see them again. This is their first visit to London so it's been fun watching this world unfold before them. In a stroke of luck, we've had a high pressure system hanging out over London and the sunshine and warmth have been welcome companions after some pretty rainy days.
So what's new? I joined a beginners running club and am curious if I will end up liking running or not. It's a tried and true program and the bonus is getting to see London while out working on my pace. We are mainly running through Regent's Park right now which means loads of beauty surrounding me. We ran past the rose garden last week. Keeps me going especially when it is raining, as it has been the last two outings. (Photos taken on sunny days, not rainy running days!)Always feels good to get done!
We took the tour of Buckingham Palace which was great because it's only open during August and September. No photographs allowed inside but it was a real treat seeing the state rooms and learning about what it takes to put together a big dinner with dignitaries. The grounds, are of course, stunning. 
We've spent some time wandering around, getting our bearings. Friends took me to Carnaby Street which I loved and can't wait to see at Christmas. My cousin's wife landed 4 tickets to Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch and it was something else. The Barbican theater is also a very cool place. It was a memorable and fantastic night.


We found our way to Abbey Road studios and the famed crosswalk. We signed the wall in front of the studio...I quoted a favorite song of The Beatles. Maybe that will still come true one day!
We took the tube to Baker street and found the famed Sherlock Holmes address. The bobby was in good form, guarding the door. 
We finally made it down to Westminster and went to Evensong. It's just so sublime in Westminster Abbey. Rode the number 11 bus down Whitehall Ave, past 10 Downing Street arriving at Trafalgar Square. From there we walked to Covent Garden and grabbed some delicious pub grub. While beer drinkers lined the streets on a beautiful Friday evening, we had the dining room to ourselves. The food was great.

Sharing our new city with family and friends has been a real delight. We are feeling very comfortable with our neighborhood and the bus and tube stops. Tanner enjoys our jaunts over to Primrose Hill and I'm loving online grocery shopping!
The beautiful sunshine and warmth has been a bonus. The day is already longer than Sweden's by now by a long shot. It will be interesting to see how the autumn falls around us as we head toward the European time change at the end of October. Already it doesn't feel as intense as the darkness of Stockholm. If only a high pressure system would just stay in place forever. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tanner's First Visit to the Vet in London

A couple of weeks ago Tanner's left eye began looking a little dodgy. We thought it was a sty that might clear up but the opposite happened and it got worse. So we had to figure out where a good vet would be. Fortunately some folks from church who live close to us made a good recommendation for the Royal Veterinarian Hospital, not too far from where we live. Unfortunately, it was the rainiest day we've had to date in London so dragging the dog out and taking a bus while trying to find a new place was not the easiest thing. Fortunately we were very happy with the reception area of the hospital and everyone was just lovely.
When I made the appointment they requested that we get our records from the Swedish vet. I had to laugh when I read the comments. Tanner is a very lively dog but nice anyway. He can need help being restrained! It was a Swedish and polite way of saying that Tanner is a complete psycho dog when he's here but clearly a sweetheart most of the time!
The new vet and senior vet student were both fantastic. Tanner was OK...a little unsure but overall a good boy. The initial diagnosis is conjunctivitis so I hope the drops they gave us will help. It's looking a bit better but slower healing than I wanted. There are so many new things he's being exposed to that I wonder if there's a plant in our back yard that is aggravating it. He was supposed to wear the cone of shame to prevent him from scratching at it, but it's hard to make him wear it. I suppose we should be more vigilant about it.
Anyway...as we left the office, it was chucking down buckets of rain. We waited for the bus for a long time but when it finally arrived it was packed and there was no way we were going to try to squeeze into that crowd with a 42 kilo wet dog! So we decided to start walking and hope to catch a different bus or hail a cab. We were highly unsuccessful getting a cab but we eventually found a bus. Fortunately it was not too crowded and we had a fairly calm ride home. We were happy to discover that our rain coats from LLBean kept even this horrible rain out so we feel duly prepared for anything London will throw at us!
Tanner does our garden and enjoys being outside so much. I truly hope there isn't something out there that is causing him trouble.
Tanner has found a new throne upon which to rest when indoors. He doesn't behave any differently and still has his usual energy so hopefully this too shall pass without facing a more difficult diagnosis.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Enjoying A Bank Holiday

Monday was a bank holiday here in London so we took advantage of an invitation to join a family in visiting the Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre. Always good to get out and see another part of this vast and interesting city. The views of the London Eye and Parliament were quite spectacular from our vantage point. Unfortunately it was pouring buckets of water but I guess that's standard for the August bank holiday.
The exhibition was by Carsten Höller, a Belgian artist who has lived in Stockholm. It was entitled Decision and we had some trouble deciding if we understood what he was trying to do! Definitely modern and ethereal, we enjoyed goofing around and interacting with the various exhibits. A nod to Sweden could be seen in the upside down white and red polka dotted mushrooms that graced one of the rooms. We've seen the real thing in Stockholm! The highlight was the manner in which we exited the museum...via a giant slide! Our screams could be heard for miles around and a good time was had by all on the way down.
video
Southbank Centre is a fun spot with loads of food vendors serving up delicious delights. My pork sandwich was one of the tastiest things I've ever had. I had a good chat with the curry guy as well who was fascinated by the fact that we'd left sunny California for rainy London. There is more to life than weather...says the girl who is rather weather-affected!
Later that day we joined a family who we knew from Stockholm and now live about a 15 minute walk from us here in London! It was a joy to be in their home, get caught up on each other's lives, hear about their life in London, and re-connect with ease. It was as if very little time had passed since we'd last seen them and that is a real gift.
It had quit raining by the time we were walking home in the evening. We had enjoyed a full day in the company of good friends. What more could you ask for on a holiday?