This really falls into the category of "quick trip" but it could not have been a better one...a delayed 75th birthday + Mother's Day. On Wednesday  my son and I flew from Boston to London and checked into our hotel in Leicester Square about 10 PM. We had two days to hang out, and on Thursday morning we took a 3-hour walk around London's West End, investigating many nooks and crannies including a wonderful cul de sac that I had never seen before (and can't now recall the name of) in which each building was painted a different wild color and decorated in whimsical ways.  After lunch at a pub I went back to the hotel for a nap, but intrepid Ben went to the half-price ticket booth near our hotel and snagged a matinee ticket to "The King's Speech" -- not the movie, but the play that came either before, or after.

That afternoon there was a protest march in central London...20,000 policemen from all over the UK. (We saw only the hovering helicopters)  but that evening, all dressed up, we headed toward the Royal Opera House (blue dot to upper right) and stopped at a pub en route for a glass of wine. The pub was filled with post-parade off-duty police wearing t-shirts that said "GET SHAFTED AND CARRY ON"... Ben and I were privately expressing our sympathy and solidarity with the police...but when Ben (in his jacket and tie) went to the men's room, he reported that he had encountered several policemen, one of whom said to him, "So what're you, f---ing royalty?"

Outside the opera, in Covent Garden Market, we stopped for cappuccino and to listen to a string quartet...Ben went over and told them he was celebrating his mom's birthday, so the musicians circled our table and played "Happy Birthday" to me...  a nicer encounter than the one with the police!

The opera was fabulous: "Daughter of the Regiment," by Donizetti, which late in the first act has an aria in which the tenor must hit I think eleven high C's.  The normally reserved Brits rose to their feet with wild and well-deserved applause when the young (and handsome) tenor performed it flawlessly.

We had dinner after the opera, and the next day a lovely walk in St. James Park...

 

 

followed by the Lucien Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery which was almost overwhelming: his earliest work and up to his death, the final painting unfinished.  And then another walk, this time around Westminster and along the river...

 

and finally a lovely dinner and a performance of "Wicked" (the only time we needed to cab it...everything else we did on foot)

And then a daytime flight home!  What a great few days!

It is truly wonderful when your kids reach an age (and so do you) when neither of you is any longer embarrassed by the other's behavior! (and neither of you mutters, "You're not going to wear that, are you?")

Thank you, Ben, for a great Mother's Day and birthday!