It was Christmas Day and that morning, he attended Christmas church service at St Martins in the Field in Trafalgar Square with Chioma. It was an uplifting service with Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir who performed Mary’s Nativity. It had been ages since he had been in a church.
Afterwards, they went on the Christmas Day traditional lunch cruise on the Thames where they enjoyed a Welcome glass of sparkling wine, four delicious courses comprised of traditional Christmas fare, followed by tea and coffee with mini mince pies while seeing the spectacular views from large glass windows. Voices, laughter and festive music and carols filled the air. It was another mild, sunny day.
The cruise lasted for about 3 hours and 15 minutes. After they disembarked at Westminster Pier, they went to JW3 Ice Rink. “I’ve never been here before,” he told her.
“I’ve been here lots of times. Did you know that JW3 is the only Jewish Community Centre of its kind in the UK?”
“Yes. Last year a group of friends and I came for the Young JW3 Tu B’Shvat Friday Night Dinner. It’s a Jewish festival celebrating the birthday of the trees. We ate a lot of fruit and delicious food, enjoyed great entertainment. I met a lot of great people.”
“Sounds very interesting.”
“They have all sorts of things here–arts and culture, cinema, classes and courses, music, special events, talks and discussions and more. I was thinking of learning Hebrew.”
He looked at her. “You want to learn Hebrew?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“I’ve always wanted to read the Old Testament in its original language.”
“I’ve heard that it’s a hard language for English natives.”
“I’m up for the challenge.”
He smiled. “I’m sure you are.”
“There’s a movie called Mothering Sunday. It’s showing from December 28 to December 30. Would you be interested in seeing it?”
“Sure. Which evening works for you?”
“The 29th which is Wednesday.”
“All right, we’ll come and watch the movie on Wednesday. What is it about?”
“It’s about a maid living in post-World War I England secretly plans to meet with the man she loves before he leaves to marry another woman. One of the stars is Colin Firth.”
“Sounds very interesting.”
“I saw the preview and it looks really good.”
“Speaking of really good, I read your latest article on how Spain’s vow to abolish prostitution is a step in the right direction for gender equality. It was an excellent piece of journalism and I agreed with every single word.”
“Thank you. It’s the oldest profession in the world and it’s time it was to close the world’s third largest market for prostitution which is in Spain. As Taina Bien-Aimé is the Executive Director of the CATW rightly put it, It’s time to recognize that prostitution is femicide by a million cuts and must end.”
“I agree. I hope other countries will abolish prostitution too.”
“I hope so too.”
“Let’s go on that hop-on hop-off London bus tour now and then go for dinner afterwards.”
They went on the Blue Tour and hopped off at the Marble Arch, Kensington Palace, Notting Hill, Kensington Gardens and Lancaster Gate. “I’ve never visited the Marble Arch before,” Chioma told Dushan when they were in his car and heading to for dinner. “I’ve read about it, though. It was designed to be a grand celebration of British victories in the Napoleonic Wars and act as a gateway to the expanding Buckingham Palace. However, the arch that was built isn’t as grand as architect John Nash had originally planned. A model of the original concept is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.”
“Maybe you and I can go and see it sometime.”
“That would be nice and we can also visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum. I’ve read all of the stories.”
“So have I and I’ve watched the TV episodes with Jeremy Brett.”
“Me too. I’ve tried to watch the series with Benedict Cumberbatch but I couldn’t watch anymore after the third episode.”
They had Christmas dinner at the White Bear. “Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve?” he asked as they were having the Roast cauliflower soup.
She shook her head. “No, I don’t. What about you?”
“How would you like to go to a New Year’s Eve party with me?”
“Is this another date, Mr. Krasnova?”
“Yes, it will be our fourth.”
“You asked me to go to the movies with you, remember?”
She smiled. “You’re right, I did. Well, in that case, I’m looking forward to our fourth date.”
He smiled in return. They talked about how they had spent their day as they tucked into Crown of English turkey and Pan roast Gressingham duck breast served with goose fat roast potatoes, maple roast carrots, parsnips and Brussel sprouts followed by Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Christmas pudding. Before taking her home, he took her for a drive down Oxford Street to see the Christmas lights.