Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: Our Lifestyle Adventures: I Was a Nanny in London and Loved It!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Our Lifestyle Adventures: I Was a Nanny in London and Loved It!

Kyrie and me
Kyrie Stephens Pijuan was born to my youngest daughter April and son-in-law Clint at 7:40 pm, September 14, 2015, at the Queen Charlotte Hospital in London.  He came by C-section after April’s heroic attempt of 40 hours in labor and 16 hours of being induced. No wonder, .he was all of 8.4 pounds, such a big baby boy for my 5’2” 120-pound April. I was told Clint was that size when he came into the world, too! In any case, he was the biggest bundle of joy ever to arrive at the couple.

Kyrie when I arrived, when I left, and now!
Bill and I had just been in Kauai for two days when we got the news.Just a day after we got back to Phoenix from trips to Maui and Oahu, I was on board a Norwegian Air flight to London. Clint was at the airport to pick me up. Soon Kyrie, my 7th apo (grandchild) was in my arms.  He said, “Hi GrandMum!” in that cute British accent! April and Clint had just had an exhausting two weeks. After the hospital, poor Clint had his hands full. April had a fever and Kyrie woke up every 2 hours to be nursed, burped, and changed. 
Clint, April, and Kyrie at Cromer Pier, winner of 2015 Best Pier Prize
It was so good to be able to help, burp him, put him to sleep and talk to him. Just don’t ask me to change his nappies! Alas, I also did not have the means to feed him!  I delighted in my tasks that included making meals for our little family. Local grocer Sainsbury was just below their 2-bedroom flat and for individual cuts of meat, the butcher was just a short block away. Across was the fruits and vegetable co-op. An artisan bread shop completed my needs two doors away. Even a wet market was only four bus stops away with a Filipino store to boot! I loved the local life in this part of London!
April's neighborhood

Peng with a copy of my book
Just eight bus stops away is Westfield Mall, site of the 1906 Summer Olympics. The place used to be part of what is called White City because every edifice was white. That is where I met two of my friends for lunch. The first was Peng, a colleague from the Institute of Advanced Computer Technology. She has made London home with her husband and daughter.

the Notting Hill Bookshop with Sonia
The second was Sonia Tan, a mentor at NCR Corporation Philippines who was visiting London. Rachel, her friend’s daughter, toured us around Notting Hill and Portobello Road. We had our photos taken at the Notting Hill Bookstore where Hugh Grant and Julie Roberts met and the blue door of his apartment. We also had halo-halo at Lakwatsa, a Filipino pub.

with Jane at the Millenium Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral at the back
But the very first friend I met was Maureen Jane Regala-Gibbs. We had been together at the University of the Philippines ROTC Corps of Sponsors some 47 years ago. A member of London’s Royal Academy of the Arts, she took me as her guest to the famed Ai Weiwei art exhibit that was going on at the time (up to December). Oh, what marvelous works this renowned rebel-artist of China produced! The theme of the exhibit is “Everything is art. Everything is politics.” After the tour, we had a brief stop at the British Museum, Jane’s apartment close by, and tea at Covent Garden.
the Ai Weiwei Exhibit
Just before I left London, we met again to view the newest attraction of London, the fabulous Sky Garden on the 35th-37th floors. There was an unobstructed view of the Shard Building, the tallest building in London, the London Bridge, the Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London. Then we walked to St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married, and turned left to walk the Millenium Bridge. At the end of this bridge was Shakespeare’s Globe Theater on the left and the Tate Modern on the right. We viewed collectors’ displays at Tate and had scones, clotted cream, and tea at the CafĂ©.
the Sky Garden
And then Bill had some good news. We had about 5,000 points left in our Diamond Resorts time-share that we had to use before the end of the year! When I looked online, there was a one-bedroom unit available at Cromer Country Club in the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. On Kyrie’s one –month birthday, we took this 3 ½ hour drive for a one-week vacation by the sea. Unfortunately, we were met with wet, cold and windy days. Despite this uncooperative weather, Clint enjoyed the fitness center, indoor heated pool, sauna and steam bath. I went to the gym four times!
Cromer Country Club
On the fifth day, the sun was shining, and we happily brought mother and son to town, to the beautiful stone cathedral and the famous Cromer Pier, the Gem of the Norfolk Coast and Winner of the Pier of the Year 2015 award.  I will just let the pictures do the talking. It was the prettiest beach town and pier we have seen in our travels around the United Kingdom. In fact, we went twice! I hope Kyrie gets to visit it again one day when he can appreciate its beauty.
Cromer from the Pier
On the sixth day, the sun was again shining! This time, we took Kyrie around Cromer Country Club and discovered a hill beyond the country club. Atop the hill were the helipad, the lighthouse, the lighthouse keepers’ cottage, and the best view of the whole town. With the peeking autumnal (somebody pointed out to me that it isn’t called fall in England, but autumn) colors, everything was picture perfect, including our villa (Villa 1), the garden, and the Virginia creepers.  
Virginia creepers
What a great 25 days I had as a Nanny in London. If you noticed, I did not forget the traveler in me! But I will surely miss my Kyrie. It’s a good thing I will be traipsing around seven countries in Europe with my BFFs and then return to a 2-week Mexican vacation with Bill! Perhaps my longing for Kyrie will be somewhat eased until I meet him again as a Nanny in Melbourne!
view of Cromer from atop the hill