Despite frequent goadings, my dad & uncles are vague in the extreme about their parents. Some of our favorite stories are well preserved
(the family friend of a mafia man my grandma wouldn't let in the house; the theft of a farmer's pig while my grandpa held the title of "game warden"; the terrible driving due to the loss of one in "the war"; the battles with rooster "Rambo" in his California suburb)
while other facts of their lives have completely vanished. Because of complicated family matters, there are almost no pictures of either of my grandparents or the boys. Our connection to England has almost died out with the loss of my great-great Aunt Victoria (thankfully not when I lost her at a State Fair in the US). We know that they were both from the area around Liverpool, but know next to nothing of their hometowns.
My dad & the rest of the Balls are fairly comfortable with our British past. But for me, I want to know more. The stories of his life truly are legendary. A real swashbuckling, outrageous, character of a man. I miss him, and sometimes think being more in line with the Brits will put me more in line with the Balls.
Ian & I are re-visiting one of our favorite places over Easter break and heading back to Old Blighty, The Old Dart, merry old England. We will be mostly staying in London doing touristy things and not-so-touristy and maybe, just maybe, connecting with some roots.
So far our list includes:
- High Tea (location to be decided)
- Hamlet at the Globe Theatre
- Fish & Chips
- Battle for decent Indian men at Brick Lane
- Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park
- FREE MUSEUMS!
- Find a Banksy graffiti piece
- Meeting my boss man (been working for him since 2008 & just heard his voice for the first time last fall)
- Jack the Ripper tour
- Harrods? (Compare it to our KaDeWe)
- Matinee for more theatre
- Go to Cockfosters (promise a picture!)
- Dim sum in Chinatown
- Chelsea Physic Garden in Spring
- Tour the BBC
Outside of London:
- Stand on the edge of the world in Greenwich
- Cardiff, Wales
- Roald Dahl Museum
- Steeplechase (watch those racehorses jump)
We're going full ENG.
Also not to be forgotten, the Tower Bridge was the site of our proposal in 2007. Not bad Ian Porter, not bad.
If you got a little Englished out just reading this, watch Stephen Colbert ruin High Tea:
Hilarious & irreverent.