Borough Market Apple Day

As a farmers market junkie with a special place in my heart for fall festivals, when I saw Borough Market was holding an Apple Day I knew we had to go. It was unique, in a good way. I didn’t really understand the significance of the people wearing animal heads and capes, or the green-painted man covered in vegetables, but it certainly made for good people watching. It all had to do with the autumn harvest, and it felt kind of like going to a renaissance fair (fayre?)… minus the usual renaissance fair crowd (you know those CSA types).

There was live music, dancing, and a play for the kids, plus some strange “running of the sheep,” which involved people dressed as sheep and a giant shepherd on stilts coming through the crowd. It was quite a sight.

The Borough Market website describes the day as this:

“Borough Market’s acclaimed Apple Day celebration will take place on Sunday 23rd October 2016 in Three Crown Square and Green Market between 12-4pm. Apple Day is a lively family festival held in honour of the annual harvest; apple growers, traders and producers will be on hand to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, offering visitors the chance to sample an array of apple varieties, along with limited edition products such as preserves, breads, pies and juices.

“As usual the schedule will be packed with activities for all ages, reflecting the rich heritage of the British harvest. There will be a chance to try your hand at traditional games, while the entertainment will include our famous apple peeling competition, apple bobbing and Morris dancing. A local theatre company, the Lions Part, will delight the crowd. See the boisterous tale of the infamous Reynard the Fox with The Fabularium! With music and song, dancing, games, and the magical Story Orchard too.”

So there you go. Now, photos:

Rest, Nest, and Play Tourist

That was what I decided the theme of this last month before my due date would be. I planned it in the order of nest, tourist, then rest, and it didn’t quite turn out that way. I’m generally terrible at taking it easy. When I dislocated my knee, I was forced to rest for a week. This only turned my nesting period, which many pregnant women experience, into what I call my Manic Nesting Phase, because I felt like I’d fallen behind and had to get the house perfect and everything ready for baby’s arrival.

I had a similar experience with MNP during my first pregnancy. I think a good portion of it was because during both pregnancies we moved into a new house, so I had to get an entire house put together and turned into a home for my family, rather than just one room for a baby. And I think some of it is just my personality, which always wants to be doing something “productive.” Either way, the house now feels settled, the nursery is decorated, the baby clothes and blankets are washed and folded, my hospital bag is packed, and I have a casserole, a lasagna, chicken soup, and three different batches of muffins in the freezer (chocolate zucchini, apple cinnamon, and pumpkin pecan raisin, because you were wondering).

The rational part of my brain knows we live in a place where we can basically order any type of food imaginable with a few taps on an app on our phones and it will be here in 30 minutes. The irrational part of my pregnancy brain thinks: “WHEN I HAVE A BABY THERE MUST BE AMPLE MUFFINS BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW AND ALSO WHAT IF DONALD TRUMP BECOMES PRESIDENT AND STARTS BOMBING ALL THE COUNTRIES AND WE HAVE TO HIDE UNDERGROUND FOR A WHILE AND THEN WON’T WE BE GLAD FOR THE MUFFIN RATIONS?”

I know. I don’t know. At least the muffins may help me make friends with my cell mates upon my commitment to the psychiatric facility.

All this to say, I think my Manic Nesting Phase is finally slowing down, thank goodness, at least in part because we are running out of freezer space. So on Tuesday I took a break from nesting and procrastinated on resting and I took myself out for a little touristing while E was at school. (On Wednesday I still made pumpkin bread, but let’s not worry about that.)

I started my “me time” by walking to a coffee shop M found that looked promising.

A nice cup of pour-over at Story Coffee

Then I took a train and the tube over to the V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum, which is a museum of art and design that I’ve been wanting to visit. I did my best to take it easy, and just spent about an hour and a half there in just two exhibits, a British fashion through the ages one, and a photography one.

Then I took the tube into the City to meet the husband for a lunch date, which was nice! We went to a street food market on Leather Lane, which sets up on weekdays. Everything looked and smelled amazing; it was a difficult choice. We finally settled on honey grilled chicken and veg rice bowls, and also picked up what may be the best brownies we’ve ever had, ever. They were buy three, get one free, so obviously we had to get four…

Walking through Leather Lane market

After M headed back to his office, I continued on to St. Paul’s Cathedral. I’ve toured it twice before, and wasn’t interested in paying another £18 or whatever it costs, but I went in through the side door down into the crypt and browsed in the gift shop, which is a good one.

I had also read that there’s a good (free!) view from a shopping center behind St. Paul’s, so then I went looking for that. You walk into the One New Change shopping center, take the lift up to the sixth floor, and you’re on the rooftop looking right at St. Paul’s dome. You also get a nice panoramic view of London, including the Shard and the London Eye.

Since I was there, I might as well do a bit of shopping…

Then it was time to head back to Clapham Junction to go pick up E from school. I was exhausted from so much walking, but it was fun to do a day date with myself, just doing things I wanted to do, before baby arrives!

Now, if only I could force myself to really rest before I regret not taking the opportunity to do that…

Sunday in Hyde Park

We went to Hyde Park on Sunday because it was Homecoming weekend for the College of William and Mary, M’s and my alma mater, and the London chapter of W&M alumni was having an event there. It started out as a lovely autumnal day to walk through the park, but the weather in London can change very quickly, and by the time we got to where we were supposed to meet the group, it started pouring rain.

This did, however, make for an incredible rainbow! After the rain stopped, and the Tribe alums finished their game of American flag football, we all headed to a pub for some American-style nachos and chatting. It was nice to meet some other W&M alums living in London.  

Theatre Going

The first week of October, we made it to the West End not once, but twice in a week. We took E to see her first real (professional) play, The Gruffalo, which is playing at the Lyric Theatre. We have read her the book a hundred times, and we thought this would be something really fun to do with her. The Gruffalo is really big here, much more popular than in the U.S. The author has written a bunch of other children’s books, too, which I didn’t even know till I moved here.

Two nights before the show, I got worried, because she woke up from a nightmare saying the Gruffalo was going to eat her. Uh-oh. But fortunately, they did a really good job of making him not seem too scary. We also purposely chose seats up in the Dress Circle in case he came off the stage and into the audience, which he did. The show was only an hour, so it was a good length for her age and attention span.

Then a few days later, M and I had a date night and went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. It was a great production, and we both enjoyed it a lot. Especially the way they do the Oompa-Loompas—so imaginative! It’s coming to Broadway next year, so see it if you can! I was expecting all the same songs from the Gene Wilder classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie, but they were all new except for Pure Imagination.

Dinner before the show at Sagar, a vegetarian Southern Indian restaurant across from the theatre

Obviously you need to stock up on candy before the show. We also had a bag of chocolates.

Since May, we have seen Jersey Boys, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and now these two shows on the West End. Plus Noel Coward’s Present Laughter at the Theatre Royal in Bath, which I openly admit I only wanted to see because it had two actresses from Downton Abbey in it (Mrs. Hughes and Lavinia). I’m glad M enjoys going to the theatre with me, I hope we have many more productions in our future while we live here!

Coming out of the underground at Trafalgar Square for date night