Lucky to be in London for the Olympics

What joy to be in London for the Olympics this summer… our third time, compliments to my in-laws, the McFarlands!

Royal bite fit for a jubilee queen, in her backyard of Buckingham Palace!

So we’re here for the Olympics, right?  We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see a few sights, though.  No picture taking inside Buckingham Palace, but outside the gardens were extraordinarily lush and green and flowering.  This cake was called a chocolate “bombe” and I just had to have it.  It appeared so regal (and the taste was RICH!!)

Mollie and Mo outside Queen Elizabeth’s music room.

Spencer’s girlfriend, Mollie, joined us for the second week of the trip and it was a joy to have both she & our niece (on my side) Mo Dooley.  It was a perfect day to wear a dress.

Bunting view of the gardens in Queen Elizabeth’s back yard.

I’m obsessed with bunting lately, in any color, fabric or pattern.  At Liberty, I bought a kit for traditional Union Jack patterning.  Notice how THIS bunting coordinates with the plates & cups in the cafe?

London loot: I’ve surely got the GOLD medal for Olympic shopping!

The Harrods tea towel had a matching i-Phone cover that I HAD to have.  Now I can serve tea and make snazzy calls at the same time.  Memories are what keep you, year after year, so I’m pleased to have picked up the royal Christmas tree ornaments and cards (and a palace shopping bag to store them, to boot!)

(A stranger +) Mollie, Spencer & Ethan cross the iconic Abbey Road, with studio in background.

I can’t count the times we’ve walked across Abbey Road, just like The Beatles, but we couldn’t resist going again & showing it to Mollie.

Graffiti outside Abbey Road studio… so appropriate!

No visit to London would be complete without a trip to Harrods, all decked out for the Jubilee & Olympics!

We LOVE all things London… can you tell the photos I took with my phone vs. my Leica camera?

Escalators at Harvey Nichols cafe – Union Jacks everywhere.

Fish & Chips at Fortnum & Mason, purveyors to the Queen.

Fourteen McFarlands (+ 2 extra): David & Susan, 4th & 5th from left, top row.

McFarlands all: upper row from left: Ethan McFarland, Mollie Holmes, Spencer McFarland, David & Susan McFarland, Michael Marquardt, (Kim.)  Lower row left: Maggie, George, Jill (McFarland), Andrew McCabe, Daniel Marquardt (Kim), Mel, Maura (Mo) Dooley, our niece on Bautista side, Kim McFarland, David Marquardt (Kim), Jeff McFarland.

Portobello Road for antique and record album shopping.

Another street decked out for the Jubilee and the Olympics.  We come to this spot often, to record shop and check what’s new in antiques.  It’s also a fun place to people-watch.  Not far away is Notting Hill, famous in the late 90′s movie with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.

Our closest Underground/ tube stop: St. James’s Park.

There used to be a palace at St. James’s… still offers a lovely park and modern conveniences, like Starbuck’s, EAT, and Costa Coffee spots.

More shopping on famous 60’s Carnaby Street. Liberty anchors the north end of this street with Regent Street to the west, and Oxford Street to the North.

That’s Mo I caught in the shot.  Carnaby Street is a great little shopping destination with many cozy boutiques amid top name shops.

Looking proper and protecting the premises.

On constant watch, the known address of Shirlock Holmes where you can actually step inside his bedroom and office, at 221B Baker Street, just a short walk from the Baker Street tube stop.  There’s a museum here and if you walk a bit further, you’ll come to Regent’s park, famous in Dodie Smith’s “101 Dalmations.”  That’s what I love about London – so much history, even if it’s fictional!

Our home in 1990: 42 Great Percy Street.

Jeff did a semester of law school in London and we lived in Islington, now quite a desirable neighborhood.  We had two floors, with 2 bedrooms, a back garden, small kitchen, television (only 4 channels then, all BBC) and washer & dryer in one.

Famous view of the tower Bridge with Olympic rings (it’s NOT the London Bridge.)

The London Eye, quickly becoming a popular landmark.

It takes about a half hour to get around the full circumference of the ride, meanwhile you get a great bird’s-eye-view of London.  We could even see the Beach Volleyball venue from here.  Which reminds me, I haven’t shown you anything of the actual Olympics.

Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh-Jennings face off with China.

Wow – we had front row seats for this semi-final match.  Great to see local gals go for the gold again.

Victorious again, gold in Athens, Beijing, and now London 2012!

The photo is a bit fuzzy, with my cell phone taking credit.  Or maybe I was too excited.  They came by for high-fives from everyone.  Truly my highlight of this Olympics!

Never a dull moment at beach volleyball – live entertainment and loud music set the tone.

The addition of professional dancers made the time spent at the beach volleyball venue that much more enjoyable.  They don’t have them at Athletics or Swimming!  All in all a fabulous time in London and beyond.  The British proved they were the best hosts, making everyone feel welcome, with their big-hearted volunteers.  Can’t wait for Rio!