Sunday, 24 June 2012

A full day in London



Yesterday was another of those saturdays filled with running around with the kids to various arrangements. Peggy was invited to her friend Maddy’s birthday party, so the first thing on my list was to walk down to the Owl Bookshop to get a present. For a midsummer birthday I picked Moominsummer Madness.

Back at the house, cousins had arrived to go to a drama class with Peggy while I took Bo to get a haircut, and then on to his guitar lesson.

After guitar, lunch in hand, we took a bus into Marylebone where Bo was playing in a little piano concert with fellow students of Paul Tame. Susanna met us there, having picked up Peggy and cousins from drama, passed cousins on to grandparents, and Peggy on to Maddy’s party which was to begin with rock climbing and end with a sleepover.

The piano concert was for a small audience of family members, a presentation as part of preparing for grade exams. We listened to some wonderful young players. There’s no shortage in this world of children able to do clever things, given the chance.

After the concert we had to buy a cricket helmet. Bo has inherited an unusually think skull from his father, so none of the helmets at his cricket club fit him.

On the way home, we passed by Gosh Comics, where Bo got a Lucky Luke comic and I bought a children’s board book for myself, Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown and Garth Williams, pictured above. I love the work of both of them, but had never before read this hirsute classic. It was as wonderful as I’d hoped.

In the evening I left the house again, going to the Strand for a very enjoyable ‘droggy blink’ get together arranged by Bob from Brockley and attended by Francis Sedgemore, Jams O’Donnell, Flesh is Grass, Carl Packman, James Bloodworth, Michael Ezra, and more. A particular pleasure was meeting transatlantic visitor The New Centrist for the first time.

The night ended with Bob talking about the central part played by Communists in America’s 20th Century folk music movement. This was in reference to Burl Ives, subject of one of my recent guest posts at Bob’s Beats. In turn I talked about Forest School Camps where singing folk songs, both American and British, is a central part of their wild camping trips for children. I enjoyed hearing Bo come back from his most recent camping trip singing Process Man and Blackleg Miner. Thankfully the experiences described in these songs are as remote to my children as those in Burl Ives’s whaling songs were to me as a boy.

Peggy and Maddy have a favourite FSC song too, Queenie, AKA Strip Polka. Oh dear!
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Illustration from Little Fur Family, story by Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Garth Williams. Copyright 1946 by Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. Illustrations copyright renewed 1974 by Garth Williams.

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