On to London

On April 13 we were up at 05:00 and in a taxi on the way to Ben Gurion International Airport by 06:30.  Our Airbnb host Guy insisted on being there to help us carry our luggage down 30 stairs to the ground floor and he had a taxi waiting for us.  Getting out of Israel was much easier than getting in as passport control on exiting is quite cursory, we think they were probably happy to be rid of us.  We stopped briefly in Istanbul, going through fairly extensive triple security checks.  We both slept about six hours of the ten hour flight landing in Boston just after 18:00 about 20 hours after getting up.

Before the 5K, Gayle Oulighan, Marjory Kaplan &
After the 5K, three girls crossed the finish line together 50 seconds ahead of Jim.

We were up at 05:00 Boston time the next morning to run in the pre-Boston Marathon 5K after which we spent six hours volunteering for the Boston Athletic Association which puts on the marathon.  We were on our feet stuffing thousands of goody bags for the marathon runners.  That evening we attended a goodby party for Rebecca Yang at the North End home of Audrey & Neil O’Connor.

Beautiful Rebecca, we will miss you, but you are moving on to better things.
We had drinks on the deck in spite of the temperature in the 30’s.
A great meal, thanks to Audrey.

Sunday morning  we had brunch with a few of our retired colleagues at the home of Chris & Linda Degnen, visited with Mary & Sherif Nada to check on Sherif after his recent second knee replacement, and then attended a pre-marathon party at Brian & Johns place in the South End.

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Sandy with our perfect strangers who we met on our front steps in 2014 & 2016.  We invited them to our Marathon party and they have been a part of our life ever since.
Our party host Brian, the medal whore.

Monday was the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon in probably the worst running conditions ever with bitter cold head winds, torrential rain and even hail at times.  We were out in the weather supporting all of our running friends. We were especially excited for this years marathon because two of our “perfect strangers”, Kelly Leonard from Newport Beach California and Melissa Conlon and husband Sean from Colorado all  ran it  and met each other for the first time.  We would like to give a big shout out to our friend Debbie who despite the weather ran 13 minutes faster this year than last. We are sure few people accomplished that. Kudos also to our amazing running friend Brian who ran as a bandit to train for his marathon in Prague next month.

Deb, still smiling and setting a PR for Boston.
Still smiling at the 10K mark.

That evening we co-hosted a post marathon party at the home of our friends Donna & Tom Quirk in the Seaport.

Elixir of runners.
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Brian & Sandy’s dear friend Kathy Collins, Andrea’s mother, see below.
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Andrea, Brian & Melissa.
Thank you Tom & Donna for hosting, both in beige.
Let them eat cake.
We had lunch with our perfect strangers before they flew out on Tuesday.

We experienced no jet lag on moving back to Boston as we had no time to think about it.  We were also able to have a lobster dinner at home with Jennifer, Rob & Jackson; dinner and a surprise late birthday party for Sandy with Jason & family and a weekend on the cape to see our good friends Walter, Ruth, Marjy and Lucy.

Our home away from home in Melrose, grandson Jackson on the steps.
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Our old friend Jay Carroll surprised Jennifer at work one night.
Surprise birthday cake after a delicious Portuguese fish dinner by Catarina.
Nico & Grammy.
We went to Katia & Natalia’s softball game on returning from the Cape.  This is centerfielder Katia.
This is super slugger Natalia showing off her batting stance.
Nico and his coach/father, Jason, after baseball practice.
Marjy, Lucy, Walter & Ruth.  Sunset on Walter’s deck overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

We got up at 04:00 again on Wednesday the 25th to make our 07:30 flight to London.  We landed at Heathrow 30 minutes early and whizzed through passport control and our bags were already on the belt.

Leaving Boston
Arriving London, another no pictures allowed zone.
Blimey, how do I fit all these bags into a London Cab?

Unfortunately we arrived at our new apartment over an hour early and had to wait in the cold raw London weather for our host to let us in.  Our new home is in Hammersmith which is a lovely district of west London with a busy shopping street just two short blocks away.  Our apartment is on the top two floors of a four story row house with two south facing balconies, a skylight and loads of windows.

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Street level of our new home on the left.
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Living & dining room.
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This is your room if you come for a visit.

Typical London, we have seen the sun only one day since we landed here with temperatures in the 40s/50s and daily showers.  Being on Boston time we were up till 4am unpacking and moving in.  Slept late day 1 and just explored the neighborhood shopping for basics and nesting.  Segueing from our last night Thai food in Tel Aviv we started with Thai food in London, somewhat disappointing.  Our first run in London was running to the Thames and watching the rowers on the river as we ran along the banks.  “So our running routes have progressed from the Charles River in Boston to the Seine in Paris to the hills and Pacific Ocean of San Francisco to the Hudson River and Central Park in NYC to the promenade boardwalk along the Mediterranean in Tel Aviv” and now the Thames in London.  The quote is from Our first day in Tel Aviv blog.  Our first Pub meal on the second night at The Curtains Up just two blocks away was great as we had apps and shared a steak & ale pie.IMG_7622


15 responses to “On to London”

  1. […] strangers”, Kelly Leonard.  Both of our perfect strangers have been showcased in our blogs in the past as they both ran the Boston Marathon in 2018 and we visited Melissa Conlon while in […]

  2. […] been in the 90’s.  The weekend after Labor Day we rent a car and drive to Vail to meet our “perfect stranger” friend Melissa Conlon.  We had a great time with Melissa having lunch and exploring Vail.  We did […]

  3. Brenda Kelly Avatar
    Brenda Kelly

    Never a dull moment !!! Enjoy your next big adventure !!💕💕

    1. Thanks Brenda, we are enjoying every moment.

  4. Love every minute of your world adventure. Thanks for coming to the Cape to see me.

    1. It was our pleasure Lucy. We never miss an opportunity to see you.

  5. REBECCA C YANG Avatar

    Dearest Jim and Sandy,
    Thank you again for your friendship and support! Dinner at Audrey’s was so special. Adam and I are truly blessed to be part of the Steen Universe! I look forward to following your London adventures!


  6. Belinda Gayle Knight Avatar
    Belinda Gayle Knight

    Hey Sandy and Jim
    First Happy Birthday Sandy sorry I missed it.
    Glad y’all made it to London! Enjoy and be safe!

  7. Your London Airbnb with south facing windows…..just like 87 Beacon….when the sun does shine!!!…..looks wonderful….you will love it!!!

    1. The sun was out for a while today, it felt so good.


  8. Christina Larson Avatar
    Christina Larson

    What a fun time you have everywhere! Love the story, pictures and adventures. Can’t wait for more!

    1. We are having fun. Hope that the stories are not getting too boring or repetitive.

  9. Janis Randall Avatar
    Janis Randall

    Looks like the adventure continues! Can’t wait to see the coffee table book! So sorry I did not see you when you were in MA for a brief moment but I’ll be here next time you are home. Enjoy the days ahead.

    1. Ginny Meskell Avatar
      Ginny Meskell

      I’m breathless just reading your schedule!
      Can’t wait until January when Kevin and I can begin living like the Steens!

      1. We hope that you love it as much as we do. Do you think that you can keep up with us? It would be nice to meet up and spend some time together somewhere.


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