February 14-18: PARENTS! Just because I’ve walked there doesn’t mean it’s walking distance.

Let’s try to do this the short way. Highlights of the past week:

Thursday February 14: The parents arrive yay! First we went to the Churchill War rooms then we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral but upon learning that you had to pay 15 quid and then not be allowed to take pictures we decided hm maybe not. Then we walked to Leicester Square and got front row tickets to see Singin’ in the Rain! Huzzah! First row! Splash zone! Reliving the Anything Goes glory days, ten years later. Then we grabbed a bite to eat at Reuben’s yay for fish and chips! Then we dashed back to the parents’ hotel because we forgot the tickets and we got to the Palace Theatre 3 minutes before curtain. That show was fantastic. Could not stop smiling. I love musicals where you don’t even mind that the plot is either (a) really dumb or (b) impossible to follow because it makes no sense but you still leave humming and you want to make it a nightly event. And a happy happy birthday to Roobles/Punching Bag Kalwerisky! I miss you terribly!

Friday February 15: We bought out Kosher Kingdom in Hendon and then had pizza for lunch a couple doors down. We dropped everything off at home and I decided that walking to UCL was a great idea. It wasn’t. My parents were tired and don’t have same compulsive need to walk everywhere. Quick tour around the Slade and then we parted ways until it was time to go to Chabad for Friday night services and dinner. Good times at Chabad with the parents, the Wilners, and the extended Brandeis crew (welcome Zahava and Zelle!) minus a few. After dinner Zahava and I were officially reunited as roommates and life is good.

Saturday February 16: We davened at Marble Arch. Took us a little effort to find it but it was worth the search. Stunning stained glass windows. Wow. I really wish I could paint, too. And how about that chulent and kugel? And let’s hear it for making Kiddush on whiskey! I feel like a real British Jewish man now. Lunch at home was such fun and my darling emu Rosie Yadid joined us and a great time was had by all. Comatose naptime followed by a mad dash to make it to the theatre on time. We (Alper/Biermans and Wilners) saw Top Hat. It’s like Anything Goes on sterioids. I mean that in the best way possible. Had I seen this before Anything Goes, Anything Goes would have seemed lame. The costumes in this musical resembled the wardrobe I frequently dream about and the dancing was extraordinary why can’t I tap dance. But Anything Goes will always be my first love. Sigh. After the show the three of us made our way back to the hotel and each ate our own pint of ice cream while watching How It’s Made. Underrated show. Tell me you don’t want to know how fire hats and metal tubes are made and I’ll refuse to believe it.

Sunday February 17: I know I often rave about how great the Tube is, but I should clarify. It’s a great system except for on the weekends when it shuts down and cuts off various parts of the city from each other. Anything but convenient. We had to get to King’s Cross for an 8:15 bus to Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath and we did. The Brandeis ladies were also on the trip so it was nice to have vast company. And, get this, I wore sunglasses! Not only was it not raining, but it was sunny and blue skied! First we went to Windsor which was probably much more charming 25+ years ago. I liked the 750 room castle but only from the outside because we didn’t go in and if we did we wouldn’t have been able to see much. Did you know that the Queen owns every swan and is related to her husband in over 80 different ways? Sometimes I roll my eyes when I think about the fact that England has a royal family. For so many reasons. Maybe it should be abolished? But then I’d like Windsor, please. Next stop was Stonehenge. An hour-long audio guide tour rooted in theory. I’m sorry but I just lose interest when there’s virtually nothing rooted in actual fact. The stones were lovely and so were the surrounding plains. Absolutely beautiful day and so so so nice to be in the countryside. It refueled my need to get out of London more often. More on that at later date. Bath time! Teeming with tourists but still lovely. Very interesting—especially liked the videos of people dressed up in Roman garb making lead pipes and other items the way they would have been made back then. The bath was nice, too. A bit disappointed with Bill Bryson’s commentary. He’s usually a riot, but he failed to impress on the audio guide. After our tour of the Roman Baths, we bumped into Eitan Fleishmann (happy birthday!) and Jonah Cohen in true there are Jews everywhere fashion and then went on a walking tour of Bath. I wish we had more time to walk and wander—there were so many shops I would have likes to walk through and browse. But the architecture satisfied my need to see visually compelling things and then some. We saw Jane Austen’s house! She was not home. We took the scenic route back to London and oh my goodness I need to see more views like that. Rolling hills and ahhh it’s like the Mumford and Son’s video for Enemy. We got back to London around 8 and then the group of us went to Reuben’s for dinner. So nice to eat warm food in a warm place. Then I parted ways from the parents and headed home.

Monday February 18:  Again, just because I’ve walked there doesn’t mean it’s in walking distance for normal people. I wanted to take my parents to a ribbon store (mostly for me, not for them) and I knew what street it was on but I also knew that I found it during one of my aimless walks so I wasn’t exactly sure the most direct way to get there. Turns out Baker Street is not the Tube station you want. Oops. 20 minutes later I got some lovely ribbons. The plan was to go to the London Transport Museum but the walk to the ribbon store kind of ate into our time. Instead, we got a bite to eat at Selfridges and then walked along Oxford Street and Regents Street until we got to Picadilly Circus and took the Tube back to Paddington where my favorite parents collected there stuff and headed off to Heathrow. THANKS FOR COMING TO VISIT ME! AND THANKS FOR SHLEPPING SO MANY NICE AND THOUGHTFUL THINGS FOR ME ACROSS AN OCEAN! YOU’RE THE BEST! (Lalala squeaky voice). I had a tutorial with Mel Counsell at 3 so I made my way to the Slade. A nice chat, still have no idea what I’m making blargh. Maybe I shouldn’t be binding books? Time to be less desk bound? Time to make something site specific? Something big? I know what I like and I seem to want to make it all and all at once and then we wait. After my tutorial I stuck around the studio for a little longer until I realized hey this is pointless and made my way home for my Hiatt shift. Worked overtime and finished all the resumes in the queue. Extremely satisfying. I’ll conclude the day with some wise words from Rebbetzin Dana Kandel, shlita:

“Because you were willing, you were spared.”

And epic Mazal Tov to Yoni Brander and Yehudit Goldberg. No words.


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