(Read Karl on Identity Soup, then read this if you are bored).
So there we were, the whole Cohen clan strolling Guildford Street (well, Kid #2 was being rolled along in her royal coach, AKA the $15 umbrella stroller that now has about 60 London miles on it). A long morning walk had taken us through University College London to pay our respects to the preserved corpse -- err, "Auto-Icon" -- of Jeremy Bentham in its wood cabinet. UCL, you may know, was the first to admit Jews and women to post-secondary education: all hail Jeremy, may you stay forever preserved! Then we walked along the street where Yeats once lived to the British Library. We showed the kids the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight manuscript, opened to the illustration of the decapitation (an emergent theme: Bentham's lavender-stuffed corpse is also headless; a wax reproduction of the caput was placed on top after students stole the real thing several times) (also, yesterday at the Tower of London Kid #2 was seen by many tourists running through the White Tower holding her neck and screaming "I don't want Henry VIII to chop off MY head!!!!") We looked at Beatles music and books of hours, and ate muffins at the outdoor cafe. Next came the Foundling Museum, where I must admit that we asked Kid #1 to stand upon the steps while we walked away ... forever. Isn't that what a Foundling Museum is for? Finally we walked around the bend to Coram's Fields, a playground. Our kids have been so good and so attentive that they needed, after all this time, some joyful swinging and running and sliding.
As we made our way towards the playgrounds, who should we almost run over with the stroller than the illustrious Dr V? She patiently endured Kid #1's spiel about the neolithic flint arrowhead he had unearthed in Regent Park, and helped me to convince the entire family that some medievalists are in fact elegant, sociable, and good humored.
Besides, of course, yours truly.