Monday, September 19, 2016

Yarn in Ealing

Our trip was so busy as they always are, but the more people you have and thereby the more interests you want to pursue, the busier it gets.  I really wanted to visit I Knit London outside Waterloo station but by the end of the day it was inconsiderate to ask everyone to wait on me while I shopped for yarn.  Lucky for me, the Bunty Wool Shop was just up the street on Ealing Broadway.
 I called ahead to ask how late they were open due to the impending holiday and was told they'd close in about an hour.  I told him I'd leave immediately and see him shortly.  I power walked up the avenue and enjoyed the view of the local allotments.  People were out enjoying the sunny afternoon to work in their gardens.  So reminiscent of The Good Life and Eastenders!
 It is situated inside Daniel's furniture/department store and they weren't kidding.  Here it is tucked into a corner of the showroom.  I'm kicking myself now that I didn't stop to take photos of the exterior of the shop but I was in such a hurry and the street was so busy.
Respectable selection of yarn.  Most lines were Italian.  The proprieter was most helpful.
They also stocked needles and notions.
I walked away with 12 balls of yarn in 3 different weights, all of which were on special offer.  The purple-ish one is just fun and I have no idea what I'll do with it but the other two are baby weights for theoretical baby knitting.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I Want To Go Shopping!

I love shopping on trips.  I never buy anything large but instead little things I'll use and plant throughout my house, particularly in my kitchen and sewing room.  That enamel teapot came from Salisbury Cathedral.  The ration book tea mug came from Bletchley Park.  The gelatin leaves and treacle came from Sainsbury's.  The Anne Boleyn coaster came from Hever Castle.  The four bars of soap came from the Tiger store in Salisbury.  The Mr. Bean teddy and Benjamin Bunny came from a shop in Convent Gardens.  The pouch with the ladies in WWII utility dresses came from the Imperial War Museum and is totally going to go into my knitting bag.  The tubs of hand cream and rollers of essential oils came from Boots.  I got that awesome icons of London vinyl pouch at a shop in Windsor for just a pound and a tin of mints (the tin is the best part!) at the Houses of Parliament.
I got the "Motion" onesie at the Houses of Parliament, the Anne Boleyn eyeglasses cloth at Hever Castle, the London onesie and bib at Salisbury Cathedral, the London book and egg cup/toast soldier set at Westminster.  The tin cup came from the HMS Belfast.
In Paris we were limited for time so most of what I bought came from the grocery store which is not a bad thing.  I got 3 tin trays and a small Sacre Coeur painting up at Montmarte, a Metro map tray at the Trocadero stop, dried shallots, herbes de Provence, sea salt, a tube of mayonaisse (French mayonaisse is supposed to be so much tastier than ours--I'll test that soon when we get some artisan bread and nice cold cuts from Hyvee and have a taste test after the strike) , French green lentils, and several varieties of Marseilles soap from the grocery.  I also got a vinyl canvas bag and a Chat Noir tin up near Montemarte.  
We were so ready to leave the Louvre because of the crowds.  It was amazing all the things they could slap the image of the Mona Lisa onto.  In the end I bought only these three folios.  I love them for organizing knitting patterns.
Something I always look for on trips overseas are these reusable vinyl canvas bags.  These came from Tesco's in London.  The penguin one is insulated.  I am a hard core Aldi shopper and you have to bring your own bags or pay for bags in the store so these get a lot of use.  Of course I was excited about the Star Wars bags too and got one for my brother in law as a gift.  As you can see they often have seasonal or limited edition bags.  I have an awesome bag from 2012 that says, "The Great British Summer" that I use all the time and it looks like a wicker hamper.  The insulated ones are nice in the summer when you're buying dairy or chicken.
Iceland Foods was a chain I was unfamiliar with in England but they had shops all over and their green pea bag was sold all the time for 50p.  I bought quite a few of them!  They make great cheap gifts.  The apple ones are from our grocery store in Paris.  Dave said I should get rid of some of my old ones before I bring new ones into the house.  I countered that I could cut the old ones up and sew them together to make a useful tarp!  He just rolled his eyes.
I have long been a fan of Kusmi tea and in the airport in Paris there was an actual shop.  I bought a tin of Rooibos tea and this glorious bag of all the labels.
I really wanted to try some Laduree macarons while in Paris.  They are the Tiffany's of macarons.  There was a shop in Convent Gardens and 8 cost L14.85.  I didn't even attempt to find them in Paris because of the price.  I'll give you that they package them beautifully.  You'd think you were getting jewelery instead of cookies.  But I'm not willing to spend that much on macarons.  After I got home, in a stroke of extreme good luck, Aldi had these on as a special purchase for $4.99/box so I bought up about a dozen boxes and they are sleeping downstairs in my big freezer waiting for when we are all together.  I've made these a few times but I haven't mastered them yet.  That day will come.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Paris...not so much.

I'm sorry Paris.  I tried.  I really tried.  I visited you in 2001 and really wanted to like you and left with a bad taste in my mouth.  I waited 15 years to come back and in the meantime listened to everything Julia Child said and wrote about you tried to give you a second chance and once again you blew it.  I'd wait another 15+ years before going back.

Really I shouldn't be so hard on Paris because IT IS A HUGE CITY, almost twice as densely populated as New York City.  In any large city, you will have culture, excitement, activity and shopping as well as your fair share of unsavory people, areas and experiences.  It didn't help that we were traveling via Eurostar under the English Channel after a recent terrorist attack and Paris was already under suspicion as being a home base for the terrorists and possibly the next target.
We traveled to Kings Cross/St. Pancras to catch the Eurostar train under the English Channel.  There was an armed presence in the station.  The lines moved much slower and rightfully so given the recent terror attacks.  We found these machines in the terminal which reminded us of Coinstar machines we have here at home. My dad is a big coin collector/enthusiast and sends $100s of dollars in foreign currency with us on trips...but in nickel equivalent coinage which is bulky and heavy.  Once we found these machines, we were able to dump our bags of coins, both unused English pence and Euro cents, into them and receive paper euros.  The machines came complete with a helpful aide.
Here is my brother and his older daughter boarding the Eurostar to Paris.
Here is my brother's beautiful wife and younger daughter riding the train to Paris.  Boarding and riding the train in London was no problem and for all our nerves considering everyone was on high alert and the fact that we were taking a train under the water--just like in 2001, the trip was over before we knew it and there was never any indication that we were under the channel.  
Here is my brother getting some well earned relief once we reached our apartment in Paris.  Once again Paris, you disappointed me because you targeted my brother.  He is an active member of the US Navy complete with the haircut to match.  Never once when we were in London during the weekday morning rush hour, boarding the hideously crowded Picadilly line, broken up into two person groups and pressed literally body to body with the throng of other passengers did we ever feel as threatened as we did when riding Line #5 from Gare du Nord to Place d'Italie.  Three men surrounded him and had their hands in his pockets attempting to pick pocket him.  I have been traveling for 15 years and have always worn a money belt and been hyper vigilant and never had anything near that kind of experience.  You take steps to be cautious and pay attention but I couldn't believe how brazen those men were.  Had I seen what went down, I'd have screamed, "OI!" and thrown myself across the cars.  As it was, they picked the wrong guy because John shoved one of  the guys into the walls of the car and out the doors once they opened and his accomplices followed behind.  Needless to say, I was already livid and coursing with adrenaline before we even reached our apartment.  You dropped the ball again Paris.  Thankfully John was wearing a money pouch around his neck under his clothing so they didn't get anything but still I was just shocked.   Shame on you Paris.
Moving on...our apartment was much better than London.  Much better equipped.  Views of the Eiffel Tower.  A grocery store across the street.  Here is Mother catching 40 winks after our harrowing ordeal on the Metro.
We nipped out to our grocery store for food and souvenirs (more on that later) and had soup and bread for supper.
 Our grocery store was Marche Franprix and I loved it.  I bought more of my souvenirs here:  soaps, sea salt, french lentils, herbes de provence, etc.  The staff here was lovely and was a breath of fresh air after our shocking experiences outside the store.  At one point, we were walking to the store and a French man began walking up to a tree growing out of the pavement and proceeded to undo his pants (IN PUBLIC!) and whip it out to urinate against the tree.  The tree was little more than a sapling.  He would have had more coverage if he'd urinated behind a flagpole.  I was walking with my 9 year old niece and literally grabbed her around the waist with one arm and covered her eyes with my free hand.  REALLY?!?  And while I'm on the subject and being catty, Paris and the sites and the subway still smell like pee.  There.  I said it.  It stunk like a litterbox 15 years ago and they haven't figured it out since.  And as a woman it angers me because I don't think women are doing a lot of this public urination.  Unlike London, you see exponentially more public drunkenness.  I don't think we saw any in London this trip.  Paris you are just poisoning the well.
The following day we were a little nervous about riding the Metro to the Trocodero to see the Eiffel Tower.  This day we weren't as slow moving because we didn't have luggage and weren't as easy targets.  They do announce overhead in both French and English warning about pick pockets throughout the trains.  Nice.
 We rode onwards to take pictures at the Arc de Triomphe.  Free activities are always good.  We noticed right away that the French do not have subway etiquette like the English do.  In London, people on the platform wait for the riders to disembark the trains whereas in Paris, the crowd on the platform just presses into the car and the riders be damned.
It is also worth mentioning that Metro security is non-existent.  When we first arrived in London, we were standing around on our Northfields platform while I monkeyed around with my phone trying to get my Google Maps to cooperate and were promptly asked if we needed help by the attendant.  Yes he was trying to be helpful but more than anything, he was trying to move us along because it is a security breach to have people loitering on the platforms if they have no business there.  And this was DAYS BEFORE the bombings.  Also, there was at least one attendant physically STANDING and MONITORING the turn styles whenever we entered or exited the system anywhere in London.  In Paris, there is an employee behind glass in a little cubicle with no direct line of sight of the entry gates.  You insert your ticket and the gate opens.  The gate returns your ticket so you can prove you've paid if questioned on the train but you do not require a ticket to exit the system like you do in London.  You simply approach the gate doors and when they sense you, they open.  We saw plenty of buskers in London but they were in the corridors approaching the platforms.  In Paris, they were ON the trains.  We also saw homeless people sleeping everywhere on the platforms.  And mind you, all this was after the Belgium attacks.  Unbelievable.  Paris, you have got to tighten that up!
We hit the Louvre and proceeded to wait in line for almost an hour and a half.  It was Easter Sunday the day we were there and very crowded. It is also a good thing to mention that even if you buy advance tickets, you will still wait in line because it is a security line.  That was new since '01.  We ate our lunch standing in line.  The maps of the museum have printed warnings on them against thieves and pick pockets.  The most well known art museum in the world is now a haven for thieves.  Awesome.  But there again, if you mind yourself and use common sense, you'll be fine.
Once inside the Louvre, you see signs everywhere that say, "Mona Lisa this way."  Do people really come all the way to the Louvre just to see the Mona Lisa?  I like her because she came from the hand of  Da Vinci but there are other Da Vinci's I love a lot more. 
Here is La Belle Ferronniere by Mr. Da Vinci.  My pictures of the paintings are all terrible because I was fighting the crowd.  I bought postcards of all these works years ago.
Ms. De Milo.  I wonder what kind of bra she wears?  She looks great!
I don't know who painted this one but I love it because it is Elizabeth I on her deathbed and they are imploring her to choose a successor.  I think that is King James VI of Scotland portrayed in the picture.  I'd seen this in a biography of her and didn't realize it was housed here so I was thrilled to see it.  I didn't crop the photo to show the architecture of the room.  All the ceilings and walls had such beautiful molding and a detail.  It is truly a palace for art.
This is Ophelia but most people think of Millais' Ophelia.  Beautiful.
I always liked this one too.  She is the spirit of France during the French Revolution.  It is very Les Miserables-y.
If memory serves me, the man was Hindu and the woman was a Christian and they were forbidden to marry but did and she died and a hermit is helping him to bury her.  Very Romeo and Juliet.
In a way I'm happy this man is in my picture so you can see the scale.  This painting is GINORMOUS and one of my favorites.  It is Napoleon being crowned emperor.  The detail is exquisite.  I could stare at it all day long.  The story goes that his mother was against the idea of him crowning himself  Emperor and she did not attend the ceremony.  Napoleon simply had her painted in.
The Virgin and Child with St. Anne by Mr. Da Vinci. 
Madonna of the Rocks by Mr. Da Vinci.  Don't you feel like you want to start out on a mystery solving adventure surrounded by all these Da Vincis?
Winged Victory is absolutely glorious.  She sits atop a staircase and is a joy to behold.  Whenever I think about her-or the Louvre in general, I think of the movie The Rape Of Europa.  Can you imagine trying to catalogue, package, and ferry away the contents of that building to keep it away from the Nazis?  They say in that film that they constructed a special ramp to bring Victory carefully down the stairs and at every moment they were terrified she'd shatter.  As they loaded her onto the truck, the curator wept saying he was sure he'd never see her again.  
La Jaconde
VerMeer's Lacemaker
The following day we split up and went on separate day trips.  John and his family went to Notre Dame and Mom and I went to Montmarte.  The Montmarte area was featured in the movie Amelie.  On the way, we had to go back towards the Louvre and come up to the street through an underground mall.
Lo and behold, in that mall was a Yves Rocher shop.  They are kind of like a French Avon and have physical stores all over the world but do only mail order business in the USA.  I've visited these shops all over Europe but never in France.  We stopped in but I didn't buy anything.
We also made a stop at E. Dehillerin which is the cullinary shop Julia Child used to patronize when she lived in Paris.  It was Easter Monday and they were closed.  I was crushed.  But at the same time, maybe it was a blessing because I'm sure I would have found all kinds of stuff I couldn't live without and as it stood, I already had to pay an overweight fee for my luggage by the time we left the country.  I was so disappointed though.  I wanted to buy macaron tools and baking mats.  Maybe some pots de creme ramekins.  I'll just have to make nice with Paris and go back.  A friend of mine at work has already said she'd be my travel buddy and go with me.  Here's hoping.
Back to the Metro to the Barbes Rochechouart stop.  It looked familliar but it didn't.  All the ironwork is silver but I could have sworn it used to be deep green.  When we were sitting on the bench, you could see where they'd painted and sure enough there were remnants of green paint peeking out from beneath the silver.
We hoofed it up to Sacre Coer in Montemarte which means Mount of Martyrs.  St. Denis was marched by the Romans up this hill to be executed but halfway up, they lost patience and beheaded him right there.  Then the miracle occurred because his beheaded body carried his severed head a further mile up the hill according to legend.  This area of Paris is famous for the Bohemian artist movement of the late 1800's.  The films Moulin Rouge and Amelie were based in this area.
We tramped around this area and stopped into a cafe for coffee and a jambon crepe to escape the cold rainy weather.
We rode the funicular UP the hill but walked down.  The buskers were very aggressive here.  I'll admit that when I don't want to be bothered overseas, I pretend to be Norwegian and I don't speak English and for the most part they leave me alone because they have no idea what language you're speaking.  With only 4.4 million Norwegian speakers in the world, it is definitely a language off the beaten track.  It didn't deter these "friendship bracelet" scammers.  They walk right up to you and if they can accost you and succeed in slapping their bracelet on you, they will argue that you're obligated to pay.  They came at us and I had my arm around Mother but I didn't look at them and said, "Nei takk," and we kept walking.  They walked right up to us reaching for us so I held my hand up and looked over my sunglasses and barked at them, "NEI TAKK!"  They backed off but Jesus Martha!
We only had 2 full days in Paris which is both good and bad.  I was sad to not have more time but because of the news headlines and our experiences so far and the fact that it was the end of our trip, I was ready to get the heck out of Dodge.  It is tradition to leave a padlock in Paris and we'd brought our cheap IKEA padlocks.  I know I'll never get my husband to travel overseas with me but I wrote his name on a lock with mine to ensure our true love.  Awwwwwww.  We didn't have time to leave them on the padlock bridge so we left them instead on the fence by our apartment.
The Eiffel Tower had been lit up in the colors of the Belgian flag our entire stay and on our last night, it did the traditional "sparkle" on the hour and was beautiful.  There is also a searchlight on the top that circles.
As crabby as I was with Paris, we had a good time...considering.  It is a beautiful city at the end of the day.  It is crawling with history.  I'm not Anti-French, just Anti-Paris.  We received wonderful help from those we approached individually.  I love the contributions of France to the culinary world.  I have pictures of Jacque Pepin and Julia Child taped inside my kitchen cupboards.  I absolutely respect the French language.  My sister was born on Bastille Day.  I've loved Cinderella and The White Cat since I was a little girl.  I love French cinema.  Dave knows that Jean Reno and/or Vincent Cassel is my free pass fantasy man. I guess what we experienced was a perfect storm of anti Paris experiences but I'll try again if you will Paris.

Friday, September 09, 2016

London, as always, you're awesome!

I traveled to London and Paris mid March with my mother and brother and his family.  I've been putting off blogging about it because I didn't know how hard I wanted to be on Paris in my official report.  London was fabulous and wonderful as always and Mom planned another great trip.  We stayed in Ealing in a very Eastender-esque terraced house.
Our street was very quiet with a small Tesco and Sainsbury's nearby AND a yarn shop a short walk up the street on Ealing Broadway.  We were also a short amble away from a tube stop on the Picadilly line.  Can you believe the shrub behind them in the picture is an olive tree with actual black olives growing on it?  On our way to the Tube station there was also a house with a giant rosemary bush growing in their yard.  Below is a view of the back gardens of the houses.
My only real complaint about the place was it was well equipped but ill equipped.  We had a washer/dryer, plenty of beds for everyone and a towel for each person, but lacking in the little things.  There were two bathrooms but only two rolls of toilet paper in the entire place.  We'd thought ahead and had everyone pack one roll in their suitcase.  We're weird and think of things like this because of past experiences.  There was no hand soap in the bathrooms.  No clocks in the entire place!

What I like about renting an apartment with a kitchen is you can save money on meals by cooking at home.  This place had rudimentary utensils, a can opener that barely worked, one bowl to mix things in, etc.  I sheepishly packed a dollar store muffin pan and cheese grater, my own measuring cups/spoons, egg piercer as well as a handful of parchment paper and was so glad I did!  I left the pan and grater at the apartment as my offering to the place when we left.  Usually rental places have community cupboards of items left by prior travelers: bottles of oil or vinegars, teas, sugar, seasonings.  Not this place.  There wasn't even any salt or pepper in the kitchen.  There was a coffee maker but no filters.  I made what we called "clothes pin coffee" every morning.  For whatever reason, I was worried about the coffee situation before we left.  I packed large unfilled tea bags and coffee grounds as well as clothes pins and made tea bags filled with coffee to steep in hot water.  It looked weird but it worked and I was so glad I brought it!

We made do and sampled British delights from the Tesco and Sainsburys:  Scotch eggs, sausage rolls, pork pies, pot noodles, delicious British bacon, hot cross buns and Cadbury's Easter eggs.  We saw these frozen pizzas and couldn't help but wonder what the heck a sloppy Giuseppe is?  Is it like a sloppy Joe?  I discovered Tick Tock Rooibos Tea on this trip and brought home 3 boxes.  We brought soup mixes and granola bars from home and ate a lot of soup suppers.  Most lunches consisted of cheese and jam sandwiches while out and about.
Mom and I were traveling with a group who had never been outside the US before (except for my older niece) and after we'd arrived at Heathrow, cleared customs, changed money, bought oyster cards for the tube, navigated to our flat and settled in...we were tired.  The first instinct is to nap but it was around 1 PM.  We made coffee, rallied the troops and we all had a little snack and then we headed out into the city.
I'm happy to report that my brother's family are PBS nerds too and they LOVE Sherlock.  Our jet lag crunching afternoon activity was to visit 221b Baker Street, better known as the Sherlock Holmes Museum.  It was just the right amount of activity to pass the time but not be overwhelming on that first day.  We hit Sainsbury's on the way home and had an early supper and early to bed that first night.
Unfortunately, a lot of what we did and saw was stuff we've seen and done on prior trips but most things, like St. Paul's Cathedral for example, never get old.  This photo was taken from the top outer balcony.
My older niece and I climbed this together back in 2012 and again this year.
This was my third trip up to the top of St. Paul's.  Not bad for a fat girl!
Another PBS stop was the department store Selfridges.  My sister in law is a big fan of the show.  We walked through the ground floor but didn't buy anything.  This was the neighborhood we stayed in back in 2012.
The day we visited Trafalgar's, the girls couldn't climb on the lions because they were roped off for a pro-immigration rally.
 We did stop in to St. Martin's in the Field for some brass rubbing and because it is wholly appropriate as St. Martin is the patron saint for travelers.  His symbol is his red cape.  Incidentally, this is the church where  Vivien Leigh (aka Scarlet O'Hara) had her funeral.
One new thing we did that I never would have thought of as an activity was to visit the HMS Belfast.  It is permanently docked near Tower Bridge and is a museum.  My brother is in the Navy so of course it appealed to him and it was handy to have him with us to explain and point things out to us.  He was wearing a Minnesota Wild sweatshirt that day and the ticket gal was a big hockey fan and we struck up a conversation with her.
You could climb all over the decks into the gun mounts and the bridge and below decks they had wax figurines set up in these vignettes.  Here they are portioning out the daily ration of rum.
Here is the sail maker.
This is a mess hall.
The infirmary.
Here is the dentist's office.  It even smelled of clove oil!  To this day my mother in law can't stand cloves in baked goods because she says it reminds her of the clove oil from the dentist.  There were sailors in the kitchens on KP duty, a mock up of the surgery, the ship cat to catch mice and raise morale, the ship bakery and butcher shop.  I never thought about ships being self sufficient like that but they'd have to be to feed a crew for an extended period of time.
There were wonderful views from the river too.  Here is the White Tower.  I'd never seen it from this vantage.
And same goes for the iconic Tower Bridge.
We spent a few hours at the Imperial War Museum.  Never enough time here.  My favorite is always the rationing recipes and the Make Do and Mend stuff and Knit For the RAF.
 We took a day trip over to Windsor and had a lovely afternoon.  England was having an early spring because everything was in bloom on the hillsides.  You can see from the flag that the Queen was in residence the day we were there.
 She didn't invite us in for tea so we had to make our own arrangements.  Mom treated us to a cream tea at Limes.  2 scones and a pot of tea cost L5.95 so we ordered 3 and asked for 3 extra cups.  We Minnesotans were the only ones sitting outside.  Everyone else was huddled inside the heated restaurant.  It was a beautiful but cool day and that hot tea really hit the spot.  We think this place used to be called The Brown Bag because Mom and I swore we'd eaten here before under different management.

We took a day trip to Salisbury to visit Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral.
 This is one of the few churches we visited where we were allowed to take photos inside.
Here is part of the ceiling in the Charter House which holds the Magna Carta.
This is a section of the tile floor in the same room.  I just love the detail.  It was after we got home that we heard of the terrorist bombings in Belgium.
The following day, Mom and I traveled outside London to visit Chartwell which was Churchill's home after WWII.  It was a beautiful stately home and garden.  My brother and his family traveled to Portsmouth to visit the HMS Victory.  Travel was slower and more cautious the day after the bombings.
Mom had arranged a hired driver to take us to Hever Castle which was a few miles away and then back to the train station.  Hever was Anne Boleyn's birthplace and childhood home.  I love the Tudors and was in heaven this day.  They had her prayer books and some of her sewing.  To think she and Henry VIII had walked in those rooms and she had touched those things.  Unbelievable.
I was a bit disappointed because I didn't know the home had been owned by John Jacob Astor and of course remodeled.  I was expecting to see lots of  Hampton Court Tudor rooms but once inside the house, it was relatively modern.  However, there were several Holbein paintings inside and the bed that was believed to have been Anne's.
I should mention that all these day trips require a train to get there.  We took the tube to get around town but anything out of town required the train.  We Americans just don't have any concept of train travel.  I think my nieces got a kick out of catching a train.  I can't help thinking about Hogwarts every time I catch a train in London!
Westminster Abbey was beautiful and we were gobsmacked by history as always.  It helps to get a view of The Eye and Big Ben on the walk in.
Here is a view from inside the cloisters.  Note the flag is at half mast.
We took another PBS day trip out to Bletchley Park.  It was AWESOME!  I was a big fan of the Bletchley Circle series and then of course The Imitation Game and to see the actual place.  It is now a museum and I'd never seen that many enigma machines in one place before that day.  They happened to have an Imitation Game exhibit going on while we were there.  That movie is too adult for my nieces but they still loved the exhibit because they LOVE Benedict Cumberpatch since he is also Sherlock.
There were displays in all the various huts and outbuildings.  I recognize all these structures when I re-watch those shows now!
We hit Convent Gardens Market on the way home for our last minute souvenir shopping and I was kind of disappointed I'd never been here before.  We got some really good deals here for much cheaper prices than we'd seen in the city.  After we got home, we had some championship packing and I ran down to the yarn shop (more about that later).  We'd hit the bakery near our flat for some Easter goodies and mentally prepared ourselves for the trip to Paris.  Security was going to be extra tight and the lines would be longer and slower because of the recent events.  Once again we'd had not nearly enough time in London.  How is that even possible.  London is always beckoning.