Friday, October 18, 2013

The Heath

Yesterday, London schools were having a strike. Meaning, the kids didn't have school and the teachers (in my kiddo's words) "walked around holding a sign asking to pay them more" for a bit then (in my words)  probably went to the pub before 2 pm and downed a few beers, knowing Friday would be a complete waste of a school day.

Sooooo, the kids I nanny needed me all day. I walked there bright and early to get there by 9. It was an absolutely gorgeous day- cool breeze and sun, without a cloud in site!

Miranda (the 9 yr old girl) actually ended up having a play date all day, so it was just Michael (7 yr old boy) and me. We decided to walk to The Heath, a park in northwest London that is just 720 acres of overgrown trees, muddy paths, and crisp air. It felt like being in the English countryside!

As I said yesterday, we think that we walked at least 7 miles. It was about 4 miles to the park round trip, and then we guessed we walked 3 miles around the park.

I love the blue plaques naming who used to live in these old homes. It was a nice surprise passing Freud's home!

The walk to the Heath is just gorgeous. It is through the NW3 post code, which is the postcode with the most millionaires in all of the UK. We walked by some truly stunning homes. Note that none of the homes are mansions like you would see in the US.
Once we got to The Heath, we sat down a blanket and enjoyed a nice little picnic. I just love the little boy. He is so, so genuinely sweet, kind hearted, and loving. It's like having a conversation with a tiny adult. He kept saying, "Isn't it a brilliant day for a picnic?' "Isn't The Heath lovely?" "Isn't this the best day?" So sweet. Although  he is American, spending all of his school days in an English setting has made him sound very "proper".
We bought some bread at Carluccio's, an Italian restaurant and bakery. Those birds were eating some fine bread!

According to Michael, that hole in the tree is a "portal to tooth fairy land in galactic space" and he was too scared it would transport him to another dimension when I told him to go in it. Him and his sister are both obsessed with fairies. They coauthor books about fairies. They once argued about if fairies come from an egg or a berry, and then decided they needed to do more research. Ha!

The Heath is so different from the pristinely manicured, uniformly gardened, perfectly kept parks of London (Regent's, Hyde, Kensington). Don't get me wrong, I love walking through those parks and looking at the array of bright colored flowers. But there is something so refreshing and peaceful about walking through the rugged terrain of The Heath. I really feel like the cool, earthy air there was cleansing to my lungs.

I mean, really, how could I deny a child the opportunity to climb some trees? We probably climbed trees for a good hour and a half.

Wide, open fields. Lots of people bring their dogs. Dogs are just drawn to little boys and kept running to Michael with fierce  joy and hope of having a play mate. Michael is terrified of dogs and would scream and literally jump on top of me to save him. A sweet terrier with a slimy tennis ball between his teeth sprinted to Michael and dropped his ball right by Michael's feet. I coaxed Michael to throw it for him, and he did. And the dog (Logan) just kept coming back, and back, and back. Michael concluded that Logan is the only dog he likes. And he's a pit bull. Made my heart happy.

For some reason, there were a crazy amount of ladybugs at the Heath. I accidently walked into a swarm of them, and they all just stuck to me and traveled the Heath with us. We counted 8 on me at one point! I know I look just incredibly cool in these pictures (don't be jealous) but I wanted to show you all of the ladybugs that were on me- they are all the little black circles. That means I have really good luck!

A few months ago, I named Primrose Hill as giving  the best free views of London. I take that back and award the title to Parliament Hill on The Heath.

A neat bench that we sat at for a bit. Hilarious listening to a 7 year old trying to make sense of the quote. He called it a typo. I told him I think it means that everyday we are changing. He thought that was a ridiculous notion!

So, that was our spectacular day. It was so enjoyable and I'm blessed that I was actually getting paid to have such a fun outing!

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