As is our custom, Yigal and I take each grandchild to London as a bar- or bat-mitzva present and in order for them to familiarise themselves with their ‘roots.’ These are truly rather farcical roots, as the fact that their grandmother (i.e., yours truly) was born and brought up in England is a quirk of fate and the result of England’s acceptance of a limited number of refugees from persecution by Hitler in the years prior to WWII, and specifically after the pogrom known as Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.
Anyhow, it’s always nice to give a grandchild a treat. And it’s always nice to have an excuse to visit London. We have in the past taken two grandchildren at a time, doing our best to take any two (siblings or cousins) who are close in age. This time, however, there was no-one near Yoav’s age-group, so instead we took his mother, our daughter, as she was celebrating a special birthday, and we thought that this would make the experience more enjoyable for Yoav, and for us.
That was indeed the case. We tried to do all kinds of fun things in London, starting by going around on an open-topped bus to see the sights (Big Ben caused Yoav considerable excitement), and got off in order to visit the Tower of London and gawp at the Crown Jewels.
We were lucky with the weather and were able to enjoy the city at its best, with the buildings shining in the sun and people looking happy at being able to wear light summer clothes. We had packed umbrellas and raincoats just in case, and sure enough they came in handy on our last few days. The wonderful British summer strikes again!
But young Yoav seemed to enjoy every minute. He especially appreciated the tour of the Arsenal football stadium but he also enjoyed the concert of music by Bach and Vivaldi (including the latter’s Four Seasons) in the church of Saint Martin in the Fields. We also took him to see the wonderful show of The Lion King, which even on our third visit still enchanted and delighted us. It is truly a celebration of all things African, with unbelievably beautiful and talented actors who are also singers, dancers and acrobats. The London Eye gave us a view over the whole city and wasn’t scary at all, even though when viewed from afar the concept appears frightening.
Yigal enjoyed being able to show Yoav some of the priceless objects of historic significance in the British Museum, as well as some of the art in the National Gallery. No matter what others may say, in my opinion Britain has done a great service to world culture by acquiring the treasures of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Mesopotamia, as the forces of Isis would most certainly have destroyed them.
Our visit ended and Dana and Yoav returned to the heat of Israel’s summer, while Yigal and I moved our vacation location to France, where we are currently enjoying a less hectic time and more temperate climate, at least for now.