Yes, Eileen and her mother (my father's sister) were having quite a marvelous adventure in Great Britain.
When the Americans returned to Nan's London apartment, the boys were more than a little disappointed that their visitors weren't as they had envisioned them, dressed as frontier woodsmen or women, in fringed buckskin, cowboy boots and broad brimmed 10 gallon sombreros.
Well, there were still plenty of questions to be answered: "Have you ever crossed that Great American Desert? Do people in America still travel in covered wagons? Have you ever been attacked by wolves, mountain lions or bears? Have you ever been chased by the Indians?" When the boys ran out of questions, they started entertaining their guests by telling about various points of interest in Great Britain. Most of these were places or objects their mother had seen (during her motorcycling days) and had described in great detail for her sons.
Eileen and Jenny concluded that Nan's sons had gotten their geography lessons, at least those relating to the United States, from textbooks more than 100 years out of date.
Eileen indicated that in her thesis, she will suggest that in the interest of international diplomatic relations simple basic textbooks should be upgraded at least every 25 or 30 years.
Suddenly the "girls" realized that they had kept "Nan's boys" up considerably past their bedtime, and they had planned a very full day's activities for the morrow. And so, reluctantly, they made preparations to retire. (Nan had a couch that folded out into a double bed.)
Nan recommended that they leave their car behind and take one of the city (double decked) buses that would take them right to the Mall. And to try to drive anywhere near the Mall (where the big event would take place) would be a monumental struggle. She also suggested that they try to be there as soon as possible after daylight in order to find a good place from which to watch.
Eileen was amazed to find that a sizable crowd had already assembled and it wasn't easy to locate a good place from which to watch. Some had actually brought their blankets and slept on the most favored observation posts. Eileen and Nan and Nan's sons were glad that Nan had foresight enough to bring along a light-weight folding chair for Eileen's mother. The boys vied over which one had the privilege of carrying a chair for Aunt Jenny.
We found the majority of the spectators were quite considerate about seeing to it that Aunt Jenny had a good location from which to watch; and what a fantastic show to watch! The parent regiments of the units furnishing the retiring guard company and the company taking the place of the retiring company were represented by these guard companies as well as their outstanding drill teams and regimental bands, all in their fanciest dress apparel, bright plaid kilts and bagpipes.
The guard company change program took almost half a day, after which the two American tourists and their three British guides made a brief tour of Trafalger Square (with Lord Nelson's Column and millions of pigeons) the Picadilly Circus, then by tour bus a quick drive past the Houses of Parliament (with the same clock, Big Ben), Westminster Abby, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
By that time Aunt Jenny was exhausted and Nan overruled her sons' requests to continue the tour by bus into the night, to see the Grand Pier Illumination.
Nan said that it was time to get Jenny fed and to bed, but that if Jenny didn't mind being left alone at the apartment for the evening, that perhaps Eileen would feel like going with them (herself and the boys) to go to the "Grand Pier Illumination" for a short while.
Jenny and Eileen both said "sure." And of course the boys were excited beyond description.
The Grand Pier Illumination turned out to be somewhat less a spectacle than Eileen had expected. Aside from the "Grand Pier" itself, and a few adjoining piers and a ferris wheel (all of which were adorned with innumerable lights), there wasn't a lot to see, except the view from the ferris wheel, which Eileen admits was impressive. Otherwise a few Gypsy-type stands offering cotton candy, instant photo portraits, fortune tellers, etc., constituted the sum and substance of the Grand Pier Illumination; nothing to compare with the amusement parks in America as Eileen had expected it to be. Nonetheless it thrilled the Breeds boys immensely. The next morning Eileen's mother had apparently made a complete recovery from the strenuous previous day's adventures, so she and Eileen bid goodbye to the Breeds family and headed back toward Kilmarnock, via the route Nan had mapped out for them.
During her years on her motorcycle, Nan had certainly learned the most scenic routes between London and Kilmarnock (and had made the most understandable map Eileen says she has ever seen.
No doubt Nan could make a good living as a tourist guide, but then as Nan says, "A single parent with two young children to raise has to be very careful."
Well, Bertha, I must get at answering your inquiry about the Bowie family's immigration from Scotland to America.
I'll make that the object of my next letter.
As ever, best wishes.