Friday, August 30, 2013

BritLit - Private Peaceful and wrapping up London

     I'm wrapping up London with our last British book, Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. Private Peaceful is a gut-wrenching story about a soldier narrating his life in WWI. He's counting down to an event that will change everything that matters to him. He tells all about growing up, falling in love, and joining the Army with his brother.  Both Tommo and Charlie are sent to fight for Britain in the trenches in French western front, but when one is injured, the other must choose to follow orders or defend family. Little known to the rest of the world, the punishment for soldiers falling asleep at their post or defying their commanding officers is death.
    Private Peaceful blindsided me just like when I read The Giver. I jumped in with both feet - never reading the summary or looking up any background or setting information and I had no idea what was coming. Out of 15 people in our group, Private Peaceful was a top pick for many of them. I think everyone was moved by the love, honor, and sacrifice in the story. I wish it had been given the attention War Horse was. I would have loved to see this on stage, but I'd need a BIG box of tissues for the ending.  I recommend this one for older teens, including boys because the main characters are young brothers coming of age as soldiers. I think they could relate even though it is set in WWI and they'd be getting a dose of history without even realizing it.
Locks for lovers...just like in Paris

     Last little bits of London - So much to do, you could go every day and never run out of things to see. 
Millineum Bridge and St Paul's
where Charles and Diana were married
Millenium aka "Wibbly-Wobbly Bridge"

The Eye - 15 people in one capsule!

One of our tour guides pointed out the bridge where Princess Diana crashed. It was so sad crossing over it. I remember the night it happened, exactly what I was doing and how I didn't believe it at first. In the morning, I thought it was a mistake until I turned on the news.  I remember watching her wedding, too and seeing Will and Kate get married, standing in Westminster Abbey, was surreal.

     We spent some time in the British National Museum and guess what - it's FREE to the public! Can you imagine going in there any time you want?  So many treasures - lots of Monet, a few DaVinci's, some J.W. huge, there's no way to see
everything you want. It would take months. We finally saw Monet's Japanese bridge and some of his water lillies.

The Metro
"Mind the Gap"

Proper tea with my buddy Nadean

Covent Garden - site of
Punch's Puppet Show

Charlie Chaplin
Covent Garden, London is still the site of choice for street performers. This guy is doing Charlie Chaplin and he's amazing.
Jammy Dodgers at the British National Library
So excited to see the British cover of Insurgent.
British Music Experience at the O2 Arena
Interact with instruments, video, and
their collection of memorabilia. Freddy Mercury's
white suit, Spice Girl Costumes, Beatles, etc.

British National Library - where you
can't touch the books, but you can visit
their collection of illuminated manuscripts, original
Bibles, Jane Austin's manuscripts and desk, and
some of the Beatles original drafts.

Nothing like riding on the top of a double-decker bus!

On our way under the ocean on the Eurostar through the chunnel.
Paris - here we come!



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