The Casting Dock

England: north London and Cambridge

Jerry and I just got home last night from our 8 day trip to London and Paris. Words seem inadequate to describe how incredible this trip was for us. While I had been to both places before, Jerry had never been to either. The cities themselves would have been lovely, but we had the good fortune of visiting two sets of friends in London. Once again the value of people rose above everything else, even in such historic, beautiful places. Aside from it just being a fun trip in general, I am not sure exactly what my expectations were, but regardless, they were far exceeded. We basically had three mini-trips rolled into one, so I will post and recap accordingly.

Let’s start with pictures from part one.

We spent the first three days with our friends C&S and their four kids on the northern side of London. C was the resident director of our dorm when Jerry and I were in college. Back then they only had one and then eventually two of their now large brood and I would babysit their oldest son, only two years old at the time. I cannot say enough positive things about this family. I simply adore them.  Their children are quite possibly my favorite photographic subjects…

We spent a day with them in Cambridge where S recently finished his PhD work. In elitist Cambridge, the insider connection is essential. S showed us around St. Johns, his college, and took us for the authentic Cambridge experience–punting down the river. Jerry even tried his hand at punting and managed to not fall in or lose the pole. Impressive, in my opinion.

These two were little buddies. Just imagine this little guy, in his British accent saying, “Jerry, you’re spikey.” He then proceeded to give Jerry “a shave” with his plastic toys. Be still, my heart.

This munchkin was my little snuggle buddy. Best baby I have ever seen. Super chill. Didn’t cry AT ALL in the three days we were there. I guess that happens when you’re the fourth…

Authentic British tea and scones. A necessity.

The train conductor.

Tabletop strawberry picking. Genius.

Best way to spend a morning with this little guy on your lap.

Playing American football.

We love this family.

There could not have been a better start to our vacation. I admire so much about the way that C&S have built their lives–the way they prioritize their marriage, raise their kids, and seek God’s direction over their lives. In the midst of a highly intellectual culture, they remain authentic, generous, humble, and servant-hearted. They are consistent and patient in the way they raise their children. Time with them is always an encouragement to me, an encouragement for what is possible for my own family down the line. While I may not be able to conjure up Asian-Caucasian babies (my favorite mix!) or little British accents, C&S stand as an example that I can have smart, interesting, fun kids and a marriage that thrives despite the demands of teaching kids proper manners, reinforcing kindness in everyday tasks, and orienting little minds towards Christ and callings beyond primal selfishness.

Thank you C&S. We love you guys.

6 comments

1 Noche { 07.05.12 at 8:47 pm }

After hearing about how adorable C&S’s kids are, I must totally agree. Great photos. I love the one of Jerry wlking with Micah on his shoulders and you with the baby in your lap…prophetic??
Watching my British mysteries while you were gone seemed to ward off any jealousy while viewing the pictures UNTIL I got to the afternoon tea photo…it put me over the top! Glad you had such a superb vaca!

2 England: downtown London — The Casting Dock { 07.06.12 at 7:52 am }

[...] Lisa After a truly glorious first three days with the lovely family of six, we switched gears and headed from the northern end of the city straight downtown (London city [...]

3 Jer { 07.06.12 at 2:45 pm }

I rode many trains this trip. But none was handled with such courage, prudence, and good old-fashioned common sense as the one pictured above. The Train Conductor did more than just pose for cute photo ops through his rounded window. While I was a passenger on one of his journeys, we ran into more difficulties than I have ever seen a single train encounter, and all in a span of less than five minutes.

First, a monster, looking suspiciously like the Conductor’s father, hopped on the tracks, roaring and screeching his ill intents. Our Conductor left the train’s controls and fearlessly vanquished the monster with a series of lightning-speed punches that were almost too nimble for me to comprehend.

We were soon on our way again only to encounter a lazy, cud-chewing cow on the rails. The cow looked suspiciously like the monster, so I feared for its life as the Conductor clambered down from his perch to deal with this new setback. Instead of another Ultimate Fighting demo, however, the Conductor calmly led the cow off the tracks and back into the grass to safety.

As we returned to our journey I reflected on how bold and sagacious a leader sat before me steering the train along its course. My thoughts were interrupted though by the greatest challenge we’d yet seen: a robber, looking suspiciously like the cow, landed with a thud on our doorway and demanded all our money. Our Conductor paused in thought. The train, though it still chugged along, seemed to slow in time, waiting, as I also was, for some hideous fate to meet us all. The Conductor reached for his pocket. I shrunk into a corner of the train, anticipating the round of wild gunfire to follow. But instead the Conductor pulled from his trousers some money and resolutely, almost cheerily, handed it to the robber. The robber was momentarily perplexed before he remembered his manners, uttered a quick word of gratitude, and hopped down from the engine as we continued on our way, leaving all troubles and concerns behind us.

What a journey you led me on, O Mighty Conductor. I will not soon forget the ride.

4 The train conductor's father, a.k.a. monster-cow-robber { 07.06.12 at 6:45 pm }

Dear passenger, after I read your account to the famed conductor of the “Boo-boo” train, his first response was “Jerry went to London” (not sure if he was referring to the replica of the mansion whether he was remembering where you went after visiting us), followed by “I miss Jerry” and his signature sigh. Best of all – and I know you’ll appreciate the word association – the very next words out of his mouth were, “Can we have some pancakes?” Priceless.

PS: Lisa was also mentioned several times; it’s not all Jerry-love ;) .

5 Mama Logan { 07.07.12 at 9:59 am }

The pictures for all three of your posts (thanks for posting Paris a little earlier than planned) are absolutely beautiful! However, “North London and Cambridge” are definitely my favorites! I am truly a “people person,” and seeing the pictures of C&S and family brought back so many good memories. C&S – I can tell you are doing a phenomenal job in raising those beautiful children! The “Train Conductor Story” just solidified my thoughts. Lisa – you could add “photographer” to your resume. The pictures capture so much. I know you will treasure them in days to come because they will bring the story that goes with the picture right back to the present. I may have to include some of them in my own scrapbook! Thanks for bringing the trip to life for those of us who stayed at home!

6 My favorite weekend of the year. — The Casting Dock { 07.31.12 at 9:24 am }

[...] Kubb, our new lawn game courtesy of our time in London with these guys. It was THE game of the weekend. Normally these weekends are replete with a myriad of games, [...]

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