CHISWICK, WEST LONDON – “When I grow up, I want to be a tourist guide,” said Dusty (13) today.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I’ll get to talk to so many interesting people, and I’ll never stop learning.”
Jackpot of Homeschool Opportunities
Greetings from Chiswick!
We’ve spent the summer acting like tourists, trying to see as much as we can of London and England before we need to leave.
Why do we go to so many museums?
Because our children don’t go to school, so the responsibility of educating them falls on us. To compete with the classrooms, teachers, libraries, gyms, and science labs of conventional schools, we have to take advantage of every resource we can.
Homeschool field trips are one way we do it.
Here in London, we’ve hit the jackpot… the Super Bowl… the motherlode… of school field trip opportunities.
And most of the exhibitions are free!
Checking Parliament Off Our List
One tour we really wanted to go on but could not arrange (because of COVID-19) was Parliament.
But then we were on a train a couple of weeks ago, and Dusty struck up a conversation with a stranger sitting near us.
It turns out he worked in Parliament and – randomly – he invited us on a tour! (Dusty wrote about this in his first Postcard. Catch up here if you missed it.)
We went last week…
Here we are outside Parliament, getting a disapproving look from Oliver Cromwell – England’s head of state in the mid-17th century – for taking a selfie…
Selfies with Cromwell
We stood in the House of Commons, among the back benches. And we walked around the House of Lords.
We saw the Churchill Arch (the only thing left standing after two nights of heavy German bombing in May 1941).
We saw the spot where Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated in 1812.
We saw the memorial plaque honoring Jo Cox, the member of Parliament murdered in 2016 by a fascist gunman.
We stood above the cellar where Guy Fawkes – a Catholic dissident who plotted to assassinate the king and members of Parliament in 1605 – hid his gunpowder…
And we stood in the room where King Charles I tried to take over the government by force.
Here we are in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Parliament complex, with our guide, Phillip…
From death sentences to lavish banquets, Westminster Hall has seen it all
This is where William Wallace (the Scottish knight played by Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart), Charles I, and Guy Fawkes were sentenced to death… and where they’ve thrown some of the most epic banquets in history…
– Tom Dyson
P.S. We’re leaving London tomorrow and heading west, to America. Here are some field trips we didn’t do, but wished we had (next time!)…
Sir John Soane’s Museum, a house museum which, among other things, keeps an Egyptian pharaoh’s sarcophagus in the basement
Tour of abandoned Tube station
Transport Museum’s storage depot in Ealing
Bank of England tour
National Portrait Gallery
Infinity Mirror Rooms, an installation by artist Yayoi Kusama
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Hampstead Heath swimming ponds
Cabinet War Rooms, the secret underground bunker where then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill worked during WWII
Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare’s birthplace
Readers comment on Tom’s brother’s situation in Canada with the COVID-19 vaccine mandates…
Reader comment: I appreciate that your brother Jo is reluctant to have the Covid vaccine. I am a retired veterinary surgeon and I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for most of my career (two German companies and one French). I can assure you that no marketing licenses were issued unless the medicines passed the necessary assessments of quality, efficacy and safety.
The standards required by the U.S. authorities are certainly not inferior to those adopted in Europe. Covid vaccines have been issued with marketing authorizations by the registration authorities throughout the world. Certainly, there have been a few (very few) side effects. Can you show me any medicine that does not produce unfavorable side effects in a few unlucky individuals?
Being young, extremely fit and healthy, and consuming a nutritious diet is no protection against the Covid infection and the subsequent serious and dangerous complications. I do think that your brother would be well-advised to take the vaccine and keep his job.
Reader comment: I agree with your brother in Canada. Every individual’s situation is unique and enough has been learned by now about this virus that people ought to be trusted to make their own decisions about their health.
Meanwhile, another reader suggests the Dysons make their way over to Australia someday…
Reader comment: Good day to you all from Wangaratta in Victoria, Australia. I have been following your Postcards with a lot of interest and hopefully you will get an enormous amount of life skills out of your travels. I realize that Australia is a long way from where you are now but hopefully you will find some time in the future to visit Australia.
Reader comment: Thank you sooo much for the tanker/shipping recommendations. I see one analytic company gave one of your tankers an “A” rating! I love your Postcards.
Reader comment: You are absolutely correct. Music is a superpower for making friends. It cuts across age, race, and language. The reason is, it’s one of the few things we do on earth that we will continue to do in heaven. Love your Postcards!
Tom’s note: Thanks for writing in! As always, please keep your questions and comments coming at [email protected]. I’ll answer as many as I can in a future Friday mailbag edition.