Here are our adventures of this morning:
Sophie made me a lot of pretend-tea while I made her breakfast, did the dishes, did the laundry, tidied up.
When I finally dragged her away from her tea-set (and from jumping on her bed), Sophie befriended another American girl at what Sophie calls Red Park, and what everyone else calls the playground at Christ’s Pieces.
Then she got hungry, after gobbling all the cheese and bananas we had brought with us, so we went to the central outdoor market and Sophie ate a croissant, from the middle first, while walking down her favorite cobble-stone alley. I wished I had a camera.
King’s College Chapel was finally open for visitors at a time when we visited. This was our third attempt at seeing this famous chapel (Sophie’s nap schedule doesn’t coincide with tourist visiting hours), and I was glad we had kept trying, because it was worth the wait to see that soaring ceiling — massive yet somehow delicate — and the stupendously large stained-glass windows, and everywhere carved dragon mascots that Sophie called dogs.
Even better, Sophie noticed an old-fashioned skeleton key under a tree outside the chapel. When we gave the key to the chapel-guards, they were so grateful to get their key back that they let us in without the $7 admission charge.
Sophie sat in the majestic college courtyard finishing her croissant. Then Sophie perched in a stone nook that looked several hundred years old. She walked up and down the marble stairs to King’s College senate chambers, playing peek-a-boo with the banisters, unwilling to move beyond those five fascinating marble steps. I think she liked those five steps more than the whole chapel.
On the bike-ride home, we passed violin-man. Sophie is in awe of this man who plays violin jigs on the sidewalk. Her awe is the old-fashioned kind: she is open-mouthed, mesmerized, nearly paralyzed by her admiration for him. He feels badly that he terrifies her, but it’s not exactly terror, it’s awe. Sophie keeps asking to listen to one more song. Today, she asked to get down from the bike, but as I placed her on the ground, I accidentally toppled the bike over on top of her. Eight people must have stopped to help. I was shaken, but Sophie wasn’t seriously injured. In fact, she was simply shaken out of her awe. She got up and danced three jigs, on the sidewalk in front of violin-man. Foot-stomping, hand-clapping, toe-clapping jigs, which were adorable, except for her addition of the yoga move “downward dog” to her dance repertoire.
Sophie danced barefoot, because, it turns out, even in Britain, some days are too hot to wear galoshes.