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Published: October 25th 2010
Our First English Train!
The Heathrow Express to Paddington Station
Max: Caitlin got some sleep and I must have gotten a little. We have planned to get through customs and then go to the lavatory and clean up and change out of the clothes we have been in for the past day and a half before we catch the train to Kensington. We are to meet John Pegg, another DNA cousin, for a whirlwind tour of the highlights of London. So: train to taxi to door man and there is John! Our first time meeting after a year of emails while we have pursued the almost unfathomable puzzle: How are we related? He is soft spoken and easy to like. Bags in the luggage locker and off we go. Lunch in The Crypt: honestly, an old crypt that is entirely light, airy and beautiful serving delicious smoked mackerel, creamed potatoes, and some peas- but not the forewarned mushy peas - followed by bread and butter pudding. Now we are ready to face Trafalgar Square.
Caitlin here: we wandered briefly through the National Gallery and I think more than anything it was just cruel to mom - numerous times we had to forcibly drag her out of one gallery.
Holy Mackerel they have lunch....delicious smoked mackerel
Too much to see in London to look at a bunch of old paintings! Bah. And hiking boots to buy, to boot (ha ha). We wandered around Trafalgar Square, saw a bunch of dead guys being honored on plinths, and then across the Thames for stunning views of the old Scotland Yard, “The Gherkin,” Big Ben, The London Eye, etc. and some pretty prime photo-ops. We poked around the Horse Guards Building, cruised by, but did not go inside, the Banqueting House (again cruel to mom, “It has a ceiling by Rubens!”) and managed to wind up in the middle of a protest over all the recently announced budget cuts. Not only was it a protest in London, it was a protest at which the Reverend Jesse Jackson was speaking!!! Crazy. As it was getting late, we quickly ducked into a pub (and quite a lovely one, I must say, especially since I’m the one who picked it out) for a gin and tonic before making our way back to the tube towards dinner with Roger.
Max: Roger Nixon is yet another of my DNA cousins, and what a delight it was to have the opportunity to meet up
Cousin John Pegg
Our Brit cousin, savior, tour guide, and all around good guy.
with him. We had a wonderful time over drinks at our hotel and then went on to Indian Cuisine. Seeing as how Roger is a professional genealogist and John Pegg has a marvelous knowledge of history and the geography of the Derbyshire area, from which our “clade” seems to have evolved, the dinner time conversation dove deep into theories about our genetic roots. However, we tried our very, very best not to bore Caitlin beyond her ability to keep her poor sleepy head up. We had a brisk and beautiful walk through Kensington to the hotel and took our leave of Roger—so sad—with promises to meet again someday soon. John Pegg helped us set up our electricity with adaptors so we wouldn’t burn the place down, and finally Caitlin and I could take well-deserved hot showers and fell asleep like stones. That is until 4 AM London time when I awoke as if shaken: The Dread Jet Lag had set in…….
Caitlin: Despite the fact that I must have started to drift off at least 12 times during dinner, it was a wonderful meal with wonderful company. Such a pleasant evening, from start (walking along the gorgeous streets with
Yanks in London
In front of the statue of George Washington, who stands on soil from Virginia
Roger, who so kindly filled my ears with all sorts of tidbits and knowledge about the area) to finish (walking back down said streets getting to know this “John Pegg” fellow a bit). And have I told you yet how delicious London smells? I can’t say what, exactly, it smells like….but I think I might be in love.
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