PHYLLIS'S EXCELLENT LONDON ADVENTURE

It was late November of 2000, hardly an ideal time to spend a week in London - especially during an unusually rainy autumn. But it was a chance to see the children again, and after all the weather wasn't all that great in Oklahoma either.

And Phyllis had never been to London before. So we went.

Christine, at the pub, was delighted to meet Eileen's mum. Phyllis took to pub life immediately, particularly the food.

The children had some very important news: we were going to become ancestors. That was worth coming a long way to hear....

Next day Phyllis made the acquaintance of the lions on Trafalgar Square.

It was a cold wet day and a raw wind was blowing. Even the pigeons were huddling up against whatever cover they could find.

Down Whitehall Street at the Horse Guards gate, the young guardsmen wore their heavy cloaks over their colorful uniforms, and still they looked cold.

Despite the bad weather, Phyllis got to see the famous Changing of the Horse Guards -

- and the following day, at St. James Palace, she got to watch the less famous Changing of the Japanese Tourists.

By then the weather had improved a bit; the sky was still clouded over but the rain had stopped and the temperature was a good deal warmer. Flowers still bloomed doggedly in the boxes along the streets of Belgravia.

A beautiful horse-drawn carriage came rolling along Buckingham Palace Road and turned into the Royal Mews on some presumably royal business.

Going past the Palace, Phyllis suddenly cried, "I'm going to be a grandmother!" The Queen Mum stuck her head out the window and said, "Don't get so excited, dear, it's vastly overrated." (OK, I made that part up.)

St. James Park was still wet and drippy from yesterday's rain. Phyllis asked the ducks what they thought of it but they paid her no mind. (Maybe they were geese. But after all what is a goose but a kind of Fascist duck?)

The weather turned cold again in a couple of days. On Westminster Bridge, next to the Houses of Parliament, Phyllis turned her back to the chilly wind blowing off the Thames and tightened her Chelsea football scarf over her ears.

Even Big Ben sounded cold. (Big Ben, as everyone will remind you, is not the name of the clock but of the bell.)

The world's biggest ferris wheel, built for Y2K. The following month some Kurdish demonstrators briefly took it over.

Sunday afternoon I took her to see St. Paul's Cathedral. The bells were deafening.

This is John Wesley. He didn't seem to approve of Phyllis, but then on the record he didn't approve of much of anything.

NEXT: THE TOWER