This summer Ira J. Winn, aka Pops, came to visit us in East London. Did Cat and I need to hit the pub at 9am? You bet we did!
Pops got to see our flat for the first time since we moved there 3 years ago.
And check out Cat's garden.
And get annoyed by my taking pictures.
"You'll thank me one day," I told him. "But not today."
The jet lag flying east from CA is crippling!
Honored to cook Pops his first meal in London. Chicken au fine herbs from the garden, plain rice and a hearty salad. Pops verdict? He liked the blue cheese. Ah, well, next time...
We walked the canals.
walked swiftly past the street art
agreed with some of it
and went to our favorite (Crate) brewery. If you're worried that Pops was drinking a pint of stout fret not: The beer is only hiding his orange juice! Weighty matters were discussed. And pizza was consumed.
Are you going to drink that, Olive wondered. And if not, is it full of ham?
Colombia road flower market!
Cat's been on crutches since May with her broken hip. Hopefully comes off them early next month or gets a hip replacement. Luckily, Pops was able to keep up with her!
Pops had advice for Cat's garden. Luckily she had none of it!
We bought cucumas, which are the flower of the month in Winn world.
Pops and I planted out the big barrel on Cat's command. Pops had ideas for how to arrange the plants. Again, Cat had none of it. Welcome to my world, old man!
The finished project.
Pops was generous enough to buy us a big, beautiful pot. Naturally I had to see how big it was, to scale.
Why is my son such an idiot? Pops wondered.
Pops appreciating the aquarium.
Pops appreciating our bohemian decor. Very relaxing apparently.
This time Cat was the one with the advice. Luckily, Pops was having none of it. Welcome to my world, dah-ling!
Brick Lane for a curry.
There's nothing Pops loves more than a hearty PDA.
Fine, I'll feed the little bastards. What a bizarre hobby, eh?
Are we good here?
This is Ms. Thing, a mandarin goby, one of the most beautiful fish on the planet. "What, the black one?" said Pops. I could have killed...
Let's not forget what this trip was really about, shall we?
Queen Mary's university used to be a massive Jewish cemetery until they exhumed and reburied some 5,000 bodies. I take this walk nearly every day.
Sometimes the living must contemplate the dead. And vice versa.
Luckily, Pops inherited my good looks.
Frisbee with the Olive dog -- such grace. Such determination. Such agility.
And Pops isn't half bad either.
Fifteen minutes walk from our house is the Fox News "no-go-zone" of Whitechapel, a mostly Bengali neighborhood home to Britain's largest mosque. No go? Yes went! Is Pops more mystified by the woman's garb, or by the strange device she's holding to her ear? Ask him yourself.
Whitechapel fashion (and my fave of all the pics), from left to right: kid in SF California t-shirt, woman in white hijab, woman in black niqab, dude in suit, dude in mujahideen casual, student proto hipster w/headphones, bespoke collar and leash, floral blouse and birkies, American tourist with luggage tag. A long way from San Luis Obispo, eh Pops?
Cat has some excellent advice on how to improve Pops' lot in life, be happier and uncross his arms. Pops isn't so sure. Welcome to my world, cupcake!
Post Sicily our good friend Bradley brought life to the party and drove us to the Prince Albert Memorial. Brad explained WHO Prince Albert was, I explained WHAT a Prince Albert was. You're welcome.
A pretty spectacular renovation, it must be said...
It's not a TKMaxx but still... impressive!
"If you could be lionized in gold like this, would you?" Pops asked me.
"Hell no, I'm not getting a hole in my c***!"
You'll thank me one day, I told them. But not today.
Ira J. Winn in his natural environment.
3 shirts = victory!
Seriously, you're going to take a selfie now? Shmuck!
Hyde Park sculpture garden. Sadly, not a shoe store...
The Italian fountains for a goodbye hug? Not too shabby!
Coda to a great visit.
Pops brought us four beach pebbles from his walking trip to Sicily. Which I've put on the one beach pebble Cat and I brought back from our first trip together, also to Sicily. I say pebble, I mean 25 pound catapult stone from a battle fought in 295 BC which I dug out of a hillside, stuffed into our motorscooter and Cat almost got arrested for at the airport for antiquities smuggling until she explained to the Carbinieri it was a healing rock for "soul rescue", demanded to be translated and afterward they bundled her and the cannonball back on the plane to make her go away which is how I fulfilled the "foreign plunder" requirement on my British citizenship application. True story. Mostly.
While Pops was in Sicily, Cat decided what she wanted in the lovely pot Pops gave us. More cucumas, obviously.
And yes we're getting a cab.
I hope this Pops character understood how adorable, wise and talented I am.
And so the early autumn garden is prepared for final glory.
Gardening on crutches is a skill.
Yeah, sure, where do you want it...
And so Pops' pot is potted out. Cucumas, echinaceas, phlox and something I can't quite remember. Just stuff them all in there, okay?
So far, so sweet.
Now you see what look she's going for, right? RIGHT? Right!