IвЂ™m an English teacher, and for all my teaching life the only dream I had in
a professional and emotional sense was to visit the country of the language that I teach
my children to speak. IвЂ™ve read a lot of literature of various sort, I was brought up on
W. Scott, A. Conan Doyle, S. Maugham, Jerome K. Jerome and many others. But this dream was
mostly a great deal of unex phantom. You can guess about the income of an ordinary school
teacher and the price of tours to the British Isles.
But everything happened like in a fairy tale. At first I got rather a
great deal of unexpected money. Then I decided to prepare for my tour. I didnвЂ™t want to
take many pupils with me, because donвЂ™t forget, it was a dream, and I didnвЂ™t want it
to be spoilt by awful behavior of some boys and girls. ThatвЂ™s why our group consisted of
three girls I trusted very much both in language skills and in culture, and one mother.
The next problem to solve was getting visas for us in the British Embassy. They didnвЂ™t
usually give visas to those who have a clear passport (without any other European visas).
Mine was just like that. So I prepared for an interview at the Embassy. I was very
nervous, but I spoke without an interpreter and tried my best to show the official how
much I wanted to see their country by mentioning some rare sights and places of interest
which are not usual for common tourist groups. And I got it!
Now I was to work out the plan of our excursions and trips in order not
to lose a minute of our visit. This plan included the usual sights in London: St.
PaulвЂ™s, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, The Tower of London, London
Bridge, the British Museum and the Museum of Sherlock Holmes, the London Aquarium,
Buckingham Palace (they call it Buck House), Kensington Palace, The Natural History
Museum, Hampton Court Palace and park, Windsor Castle, the famous Roman town of Bath and
the вЂќplace in nowhereвЂќ вЂ“ Stonehenge, and, at last, Kew Botanic Gardens. And all that
was to be done within eight days. My companions were not very sure that we could do it
without a guide and tried to persuade me to book more excursions with a Russian guide.
Later they understood that our two official excursions were too much.
All I had instead of a guide was historical knowledge of this country
and its monarchy, geographical knowledge, a very good map of London and an ability to
orient myself in this city.
And it proved to be quite enough.
And at last, there came the great day, when we arrived in London. We
stayed at the pretty hotel of Henry VIII in Kensington. Kensington Park was just across
the road from our hotel. When we went in a coach from the airport, we saw streets full of
exotic trees in blossom. Every window was also full of flowers. The day was cold, but very
sunny. If we hadnвЂ™t known we were in the capital of Great Britain, we could have thought
it was some southern town in Europe (palm trees, Japanese cherry trees (sacura) and
something of this sort).
While we were unpacking and making ourselves comfortable in our rooms,
the weather decided that it was enough for meeting us and it started raining вЂњcats and
dogsвЂќ or pouring if you like. But Russians are not afraid of anything, especially
difficult weather. We took our umbrellas and went out bravely. The first place to search
was Kensington Park. Though it was raining hard life outdoors went on very cheerfully:
people were busy at their usual occupations, they ran, walked, and went shopping. To tell
the truth, theyвЂ™ve got nice umbrellas, those Londoners. Their umbrellas reminded me of
their famous saying вЂњMy home is my CastleвЂќ. We walked along the wet avenues of the
park and enjoyed fresh green trees and grass, squirrels and birds, dashing about to ask
somebody for something tasty or to find a partner (IвЂ™ve quite forgotten, it was in the
end of April). The park was full of tulips and other spring flowers. We breathed in fresh
air into our lungs and quite forgot the rain. In spite of the fact we got drenched to the
skin, we didnвЂ™t catch any colds and the next day were fresh and ready for more
Now IвЂ™m not going to waste your time telling about all our trips and
excursions, but just about the most interesting of them, some funny incidents, and some
They were annoying. They had an awful accent and the appearance of
Cherkizovo market. Every time we were to meet with them, they were late. On our last day
in London we nearly missed our plane, вЂ