Sydney arrived late last night, a bit worn out from long lines at the border and a flurry of activity at the airport in Copenhagen (he said half the flights to London were canceled). We took a nice loop around the parks as a family this morning, enjoying the deep fog and the quiet parks (apparently slushy footing keeps the regulars away). After a long job season and lots of winter travel, we’re hoping to ease into a less stressful breed of normal for awhile!
I’ve been getting a lot of requests from Katherine to read “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” I recently bought her a nice collection of Beatrix Potter’s stories, and we’ve worked through a handful so far, but Katherine always returns to the Peter Rabbit story. Can’t say I’m surprised that she’s not riveted by stories of a tailor whose mice sew the waistcoat (the story was stuffed with millinery terms! good grief!!) or a hedgehog who lives in the hill and (surprise!) spends her days ironing the other animals’ clothes, but it does make me laugh that Katherine loves the Peter Rabbit story so much. I mean, for all the nods to obedience (Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, Peter’s sisters, were good little bunnies, and at the end of the story they are rewarded with a supper of bread and milk and blackberries), the story is filled with the antics of Peter. So much for obedience: he eats all sorts of good things, has grand adventures, and the only bad thing that happens to him is a tummy-ache that lasts the evening. Such a lovely English story, with the large kitchen garden of Mr. McGregor becoming the “wild” and “dangerous”–and very alluring–site of Peter’s adventures. Like Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, we’ve gathered our blackberries on walks through Oxfordshire, and we’ve had our own currant buns. Everything about this story looks different to me now that we’re living in England, from the illustrations of the robins (much smaller than American robins) to the dominance of cabbage in the garden! So many classic children’s stories are English (Peter Pan, Winnie-the-Pooh, Alice in Wonderland), and it’s quite a treat to be here now, at this point in our children’s lives.