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London Day 7: The Owen family sees a Hoo and Hamilton

Anglo-Saxon helmet from the Sutton Hoo treasure

The Sutton Hoo Treasure.

Just the name evokes mystery and wonder.

What is the Sutton Hoo? It’s a collection of Anglo-Saxon artifacts discovered in a field in Suffolk, eastern England.

The story is amazing. A wealthy English widow in the 1930s hired an amateur archaeologist to explore what she suspects are ancient burial mounds on her property. What they found changed the entire view of the so-called “Dark Ages.”

Fragments of a 88-foot ship. A beautifully crafted helmet and belt buckle. Fine textiles. Weapons. All evidence of a sophisticated society

We had watched the Netflix film - The Dig - about the discovery of the Sutton Hoo several months ago. And this morning, we got to see the artifacts with our own eyes at the British Museum.

It was our first stop on a busy day, and unfortunately a short one. But if you’ve ever visited the British Museum before, you know that short visits can be very fulfilling, and long visits can be exhausting. It’s because the place is so dang big. If you go to the British Museum, my advice is to have a plan. Pick out what you really want to see and go for it.

Just don’t miss the Sutton Hoo.

By this time, we were running late for a lunch with our nephew Jon, his fiancé Celine and her family. The restaurant - Bocas in Farmington. The food - tapas. The company - outstanding.

If you were one of the other customers in the restaurant that day, you would have never guessed that this group had never gathered together before. The laughter was loud. Lies were swapped. Toasts were given. Food was devoured. Wine was enjoyed.

Iberico ham. Patatas Bravas. Grilled Chorizo. Skirt Steak. Bottles of Rioja.


In fact, we may have had too good a time, with lunch stretching to about 3pm. And since we were supposed to meet up with a couple of Grainne’s cousins at 5pm, it was clear the day had pretty much gotten away from us.

It’s OK. Not every day of vacation needs to run on schedule or even involve taking in the usual sites.

A lively lunch at Bocas in Farringdon

We had tickets to see Hamiton at the Victoria Palace Theatre, so we made arrangements to meet cousins Bernadette and Siobhan (Grainne’s family is very Irish) at French restaurant Chez Antoinette, about five minutes walk from the theater.

The company was better than the food. The waiter said it was the first day of their new menu and asked for feedback. The table’s response was unanimous - more seasoning! I ordered the seared chicken thigh with broad beans. The picture on the website shows a thigh with crispy skin surrounded by lush green broad beans. My chicken was pale and the beans rather insipid.

Our Opera cake seemed to have been brought in from an outside bakery, lacking in character. A routine meal with no extraordinary touches.

Still, the time spent with the cousins more than made up for the food. We hugged hard, said our goodbyes and made our way up the street to see Hamilton.

I mean, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about Hamilton? Take it from me, you want to be in the room when it happens.

We were not going to miss our shot to see Hamilton


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