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November 2014 - England

UK | England | London | Paddington Station | Paddington Bear Hunt

November 2014

We've been bear hunting these past two weeks. Paddington Bear (Children's book character by Michael Bond) has been hiding out around London. Originally 50 3.6ft Paddington statues designed by local artists and celebrities were placed around the city near parks, museums and stores. They'll be auctioned off after the New Year with proceeds going to the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children and other charities. It's been fun for us searching for the bears and visiting places in London we've never been before. We've put lots of miles on our walking shoes and a few on our bikes. Six more bears have been added to the group. We now have 53 of the 56. It's been cold and rainy this weekend or we would have picked up two more. The final bear is at the airport so we'll get that one on our way home to the states for Christmas.

We've also had a great couple of weeks of music at St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. Olaves Church. We are so blessed with amazing musicians to listen to and the concerts are free lunchtime concerts. Friday was a beautiful day so we rode bikes up Limehouse Cut canal past old 3 miles and found our way to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (2012) Great bike trails throughout. Then we went to the Westfield and Stratford Malls. We weren't shopping just curious. Everything around town is so pretty with all the Christmas lights and decorations.

We're planning to attend St. Paul Cathedral's American Thanksgiving service again this year. Then we have tickets for the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra Fall concert at the Barbican at night. So we'll have our Thanksgiving turkey earlier in the day. We hope all is well and that everyone has a blessed wonderful Thanksgiving. Love and God bless Sally and Al

UK | England | London | Tower of London | Rmembrance Day sea of Poppies

November 7, 2014

Dear Family and Friends, It's been fun settling into our winter routine these last two weeks. Limehouse gave us a winter contract Oct. 27 so we are set for the next five months. We bought our tickets to fly home for our winter visit. We arrive in Chicago Dec. 12 and will be in Minnesota for a couple of weeks around Christmas. We'll go back to Chicago until Jan. 25 and then come back to Minnesota until Feb. 13. We plan to fly to Florida to see my Dad at my sister Brigid's house Feb. 15-22 before flying back to London Feb. 25.

We've been busy with boat projects but do manage to get to 2 or 3 concerts a week. We love going to the free classical lunchtime concerts at St. Olave Church and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Last week we got the sails put away. We took advantage of the great weather and did lots of walking. Visited a couple more of our favorite markets...Thursday Borough Market and Saturday we visited Portobello Road Market. Always fun to browse the antiques, vintage/new fashions, and great street food! We had a nice walk through Kensington Park and Hyde Park. Rainy days we got some inside projects done. Sunny days we got the deck cleaned and treated with Boracol (keep green from growing) Al started some sewing projects, mostly repairs this week.

Lots of fireworks this week with Guy Faukes Day Wed. and Lord Mayor Show tomorrow.

Very busy around the Tower of London. "Blood swept lands and Sea of Red" Volunteers have sold 888,246 5"to 6" ceramic poppies (25 GBP each)to represent British and Common Wealth fatalities during WWI. This marks 100 years since first involvement in WWI. The poppies are spilling out of the castle down the wall and planted on 2' stems filling the moat around the Tower of London. Money will go to 6 service charities. Everyone on the street seems to be wearing a paper poppy as well (donations). Sunday is the Remembrance Day parade and bouquets are placed at monuments around the city.

Last night we had a Limehouse berth holders gathering at Queens Head Pub. Rather boring business meeting first. Didn't stay long went to La Figa for a beer and pizza instead. Happy weekend everyone. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

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