08 October 2014


A couple of weeks ago I brought the students to Camden Town on a Sunday morning.  We spent most of the day there exploring, shopping, and eating.  Camden has a lock and dam and one is able to take a canal boat to Little Venice in the Maida Vale area of London.  I nice boat ride.  Camden not only has tons of shopping available, but it also is the center of the music scene in London.  Many bars and clubs are located here.  It was the home of Amy Winehouse and where she performed.  Camden was also where the punk movement originated.  Here are some of the sites in Camden.

Cyberdog is quite the unusual store.  Wild to put it bluntly! Lots of Day-Glo clothes!

Here is the new statue of Amy Winehouse that was placed here by her parents a few months ago.
As we walked by the Monarch Pub, there was a poster for the upcoming Koo Koo Kangaroo show in the window.  Koo Koo Kangaroo is two Saint Mary's Alumni, Bryan and Neil, who were on tour in England and were going to have their final concert at the Monarch October 1st.

Matt and I took a tea and coffee break in one of the many cafes in Camden.

On October 1st we all went back to Camden and the Monarch Pub to see Koo Koo Kangaroo!  A fun time was had by all!

We arrived at 7 pm. which was early.  Here is Matt, Kimberly, Danielle, and Anne watching me eat a burger!

Katie, Chelsea, Nikki, Dovie, Kirsten and Katie Dean waiting for the show to begin.

Here is the Minnesota contingent (made up of Saint Mary's and Saint Thomas students) with Bryan and Neil.

Bryan wanted a crazy face picture!!! Of course!

Danielle and Kimberly chat with one of the Saint Thomas students.

Koo Koo Kangaroo perform!  The crowd goes wild as you can see from the photos and video below!

Bryan and Neil!

The next evening, October 2nd, we went back to Camden to the Fiddler's Elbow to see a friend of mine, Nassau Royal (David Ross) perform.  We met David in Dublin 6 years ago in the hostel we were staying at while we were studying at the Gaiety School of Acting.  David was performing in various pubs in Dublin at the time.  He was also there the following year as many former students will remember.  Fiddler's was a pretty nice venue.  More mellow than the Monarch.  There were a number of acoustic acts and a great band that played from Scotland towards the end of the evening.  Here are some photos of the students and Nassau.

And as Gabe says:  THAT'S ALL FOLKS!!!!!

27 September 2014

Week Three: Book of Mormon, War Horse, Blenheim Palace!

On Sunday night, September 14th, we all gathered in my flat for a lamb dinner with roasted potatoes, Greek salad, and vegetarian lasagna.  With 16 people crammed in the flat we managed to eat everything as we watched X Factor auditions!  On Monday evening we went to our first West End show, The Book of Mormon.  This year I replaced going to see Les Miz with Mormon.  An excellent funny show! Highly recommend it.  It is crude but hilarious!  Brought to you by the writers of South Park.

Students met A.J. Holmes who played Elder Cunningham at the Stage Door.

On Thursday evening we went to see War Horse at the New Palace Theatre.  Incredible as always!  Great cast!

Taking the tube home after the show!!!

The students for Art in London class went to the National Portrait Gallery this week and last week went to the Barbican for an exhibition that dealt with Digital images, computers, etc.  Students found it fascinating.  We also debated the Scottish Independence issue. Students presented pros and cons from a number of different perspectives and then debated the issue.   9 were in favor of a NO vote and 6 in favor of a YES vote.  Pretty much reflected what actually happened.  

On Friday, September 19th we went to Blenheim Palace which is where Winston Churchill was born.  The estate belongs to the Duke of Marlborough who is related to the Churchills and the Spencers (Princess Diana's family).  When we arrived, we had time to view the Gardens on the side of the Palace.  We then took a tour of the Palace and then spent the rest of the day exploring the grounds!  The Pleasure Gardens, Butterfly House, Hedge Maze, Secret Gardens, etc.

Blenheim Palace.

We had an excellent tour guide.  I have been on this tour more times than I can count, and I learned so many new things from her.  Excellent!

Handle on the front door.

The key that locks and opens the door every day.

The lock on the door.

One of the State Rooms with a chaperone couch.  The corner seat was for a chaperone to sit and keep an eye on the couple dating.

The famous Blenheim Tapestry depicting the Battle of Blenheim where the French surrendered. 

A replica of the Standard that has to be presented to the Queen every year as a form of rent to allow the Duke to keep the Palace and Estate.  A formality, but if missed all the land goes back to the Royal Family.

Another one of the famous tapestries. Notice the dog's feet and legs.  All the tapestries have horses in them.  This is the only one that has a dog.  It's feet are horses hooves...Habit or what?

 Consuelo Vanderbilt who was the Duchess who eventual divorced the Duke.

 A statue of Queen Anne.  It is not what she really looked like.  She was 4 ft. 10 in tall and just as wide.  The Duchess wanted her friend to look good so she commissioned this statue.

I love the brocade chiseled into the marble.

The Great Hall/Library.  It has a great organ on the opposite end of the room.  They were setting it up for a wedding reception.

This is the room and bed Winston Churchill was born in.  On the headboard are framed locks of Churchill's curly hair.

Some other photos of the property.

Sounds like the trip I am on!!!!

For those students in the past who visited Blenheim, this year they bought a new train.  The old one died!  They also built a tunnel that the train goes through, and it is also where the train is stored during the night.  They also now charge 50 pence a ride each way to help pay for the train.

The entrance to the Pleasure Garden with a scale model of the town of Woodstock.

The faceoff!

Students made it to one of the towers in the Maze.

The is also a butterfly house that they remodeled this year.  Here are some of the butterflies and birds that were flying around.

Karina who isn't a big fan of butterflies is trapped and can't get out!!!

The lake and trees on the property and some quiet, remote places.

From the Rose Garden.

From the exhibit on the Battle of Blenheim and the life of the soldiers.


           WELL,  THAT'S ALL FOLKS!!!!!!