I will keep this brief so as not to detract from the Tools Chat below.
We met Liza, my former student and all around good person -- and, oh yes, frequent blog commentator -- in Cambridge. She was good enough to load all four Cohens on a punt, endure all manner of twaddle about the root system of duckweed (Kid #1), the wetness of river water (Kid #2), the coldness of her derrière (Spouse; her chivalric partner had given her the subaquatic seat while taking the dry one for himself), and the general gossip about medieval studies (me). Highlight: wind and currents conspired to render us stuck beneath a bridge, which we christened the Haunted Crossing. Liza handled everything with aplomb, even the loss of the punting stick. We enjoyed a view of ducks, cows, magnificent architecture (we sighed as we passed beneath the fake Bridge of Sighs), and beautiful gardens.
Lunch was at the Eagle Pub, where Crick and Watson first delivered news of their double helix. In my infinite kindness, I sat next to Liza so that she would not have to endure The Stare. The staff were even good enough to make Kid #2 her favorite meal: scrambled eggs with mushy peas. Then on to a foot tour of magnificent architecture (we sighed as we walked across the fake Bridge of Sighs), beautiful gardens, and so forth. As we strolled past Kings, a trumpet began to play the Star Spangled Banner from atop a tower. Liza whipped out a small American flag pin with sparkly LED lights, a gift from her patriotic mom. Kid #1 placed his hand over his heart, as if at a ballgame.
And here is our crescendo: back at our London flat, just as the kids were getting ready for bed, we looked out the window and saw that the London Eye was glowing red and blue. Fireworks suddenly erupted over the Thames.