Liberty and the Mad Hatter on Holiday

I’m observing the UK “Early May Bank Holiday” (I think that means: we have no idea what to celebrate, but we need a paid holiday about right here on the calendar) with an extra Americano on this rainy Monday afternoon.  But hey, I’ve earned my caffeine today.  Clay is working, because he does business with a whole lot of folks who aren’t in England having a jolly-holiday-for-no-apparent-reason.  That means, not only do we not have the pleasure of his company, but Quinn, Claire and I had to schlep out to Quinn’s holiday t-ball game this morning– at a place called Little Wormwood Scrubs.  Really, that’s the name.

Wait– it gets better.  Not only is there a recreational park there, but there’s also a big prison– Her Majesty’s Prison at Wormwood Scrubs.  Let me say it once more, hear the sinister British accent with me:  Her Majesty’s Prison at Wormwood Scrubs. This has the ring of something straight from Dickens, right?  Imagine the dismal scene:  perennial clouds or a drizzling rain, an overgrown field with escaped prisoners hiding in the marsh, perhaps a nearby orphanage or boys’ school with hungry children peering out the windows, an old rag-and-bone shop around the corner, and a street urchin sweeping the crosswalk…

Not-so-very-Dickensian urchin at first base.

Now superimpose a bunch of American kids playing baseball.  There’s just something jarringly off about the whole scenario.  And in truth, I saw no escaped prisoners, orphans or street urchins of any kind; but merely a couple of small dogs– called Nigel and Esmé– chasing balls into the baseball games.  Highbrow dogs for a Dickens scene, no?

This is not your typical minivan.

Because I am stubbornly independent, I didn’t call a car company to transport us to the game.  Have I mentioned all the bullet holes in my feet from my years of independence?  I walked the children to the nearest overground rail station and took a train, then caught a bus to the approximate location of the ballpark.  The park is enormous, so choosing the right place to get off the bus involved some guesswork, but we did pretty well.  After two hours of baseball, we did the trip in reverse, with a stop for lunch.  All-in-all, our baseball game took 5+ hours.  (Now hand over my coffee!)

While I try to revive, I’ll tell you some fun things from the weekend.  First, Liberty.  Liberty of London (really, click the link and check out the photo!).  How have I lived in London for nine months without going there?  This place is like a Disney World of Design for grownup ladies– but everything there is real!  It’s in an enormous, Tudor-style building, with an Arts and Crafts interior and just gorgeous stuff packed to the rafters.  Liberty is famous for its textile prints, and I remember reading about it in various novels set in London.  I guess I thought it was defunct, or that it was just a textile place, or I don’t know what.  But there it sits, right on Regent Street and Marlborough, and I met Chloe there with bff Bretta and her mom, Nancy, for the very last part of prom dress shopping on Saturday.  With the help of a perfectly professional and personable salesperson (say it five times fast) in the women’s dress department, Chloe found something gorgeous, unique, and even versatile enough to wear on a range of occasions in the future.  Stay tuned for pics, FB friends, as American School prom is in a couple of weeks.  Uhh– that is, if she ever lets me take another picture of her after what I’m about to post…

Prior to the success at Liberty, Chloe and I scoured two lesser department stores, and Chloe skimmed another more prestigious one (Selfridge’s) with Bretta and Nancy.  We tried, we really did, to find something that would work at John Lewis.  But as there was nothing even in serious contention, we ended up in the hat department– where Chloe had a blast.  
I mean, this is a girl who hates having her picture taken.  I must’ve taken twenty pics in various hats, with her smiling and posing all the way through!  Secretly, I feared we would get booted from the department, and she later admitted to wondering that, too.

I never did confess to her my other secret fear:  Lice.  In the hats.  She was having way too much fun for me to mention the L-word!  And in a high-end department store?  Surely not.  Right?  Right, friends?

11 thoughts on “Liberty and the Mad Hatter on Holiday

  1. Relax Mom…. I seem to recall a daughter of mine having a blast with hats. At that time the L word didn’t even enter my thoughts. Such a sheltered life! Chloe really does have the perfect face and build to just pour on the accessories. She looks wonderful (and happy). And, speaking of accessories – Quinn’s ball glove looks absolutely fabulous. Claire is so our little Micki – how many books does she carry with her at one time? Anyway 5+ hrs. at the park in the rain definitely earns at least one Americano, if not 5 or 6! I was rewarded today with my favorite iced coffee from Carol Ann’s, for rolling out of bed by 8 am!

  2. Perfect timing with the hat pics… She looks like she is at a Derby party! I’ll Have Another picture at your convenience, please! I remember Po snapping pics just like these when I would try on hats. She still has one of those pictures hanging in her bedroom!

    It’s a dreary day in Denver, too, and I celebrated it by getting cozy with a pot of French press this morning.

    We are looking forward to spending a few hours with Will this week before we send him off to see you. I’m sure you can’t wait for his arrival!

    • I think I know that picture of you, Kelli! You look beautiful in hats, too. According to my son, there are no dreary days in Colorado! Has he been misleading me? And you’re so right– I can’t WAIT to see him! (I’ve been really blue today, missing my son, my dog, and life the way it used to be. Some days are just that way.) Thanks so much for helping him with the car/airport/etc. I’ll send you more hat pix, and info about our summer plans– hope we will see you! xo

  3. I was going where you were going with the picture of that field in my head…only field available? Of course! Love your minivan, love those holes in your foot…its all part of the adventure! 🙂 Tell Chloe the hats (and she) looks great and we cant wait to see prom pics!! xoxo

  4. Chloe does look like she was ready for the Derby – or a royal wedding. Nooo…those hats weren’t gaudy enough for a royal wedding.

    And the very mention of lice makes me start scratching my head. UGH!!! Here in the south they say there are two kinds of kids: those with lice and those that will get lice. And don’t even think about wearing one of the “team helmets” for girls’ softball. Oh, no…you could tell all the moms who had battled lice. They (we?) were the ones who went nutso in the stands – not when our kid made an error or when the umpire made a poor call – but when we noticed some other girl accidentally wore our child’s helmet. Sad, right.

    Can’t wait to see prom pictures. I’m sure they will be amazing.

    • I look forward to hearing how Scandinavian pastries and coffee compare! And what about Scandinavian/Italian coffee? Sorry you’re missing the hat, but I bet you can find something stunning when you get back to Texas! Safe journeys.

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