Wednesday, February 17, 2010
It was with a massive amount of trepidation that I lifted the bag and carried it onto the train. We were bound for London and it scared the living daylights out of me to be honest. I was scared the hotel was going to be rubbish, we were going to get mugged or pick-pocketed, lose the train tickets or worse of all and it's a recurring nightmare, lose the kids.
Given the state of my mental health of late all these weighed on my mind and were constant companions as I fell asleep every night.
The start of the adventure
The girls were really excited about the whole thing and while Georgia was looking forward to the Natural History Museum all Carys was worried about was having tea with the Queen and what they'd be eating. We let her down lightly, she is five after all and all little girls grow into princesses who meet princes and live happily ever after. I for one am not going to burst her bubble just yet........
Wendy had done a vast amount of research and had booked the Premier Inn next to King's Cross station. It turned out to be perfect for our needs, ten minutes walk from where the train dropped us off and five minutes from the Piccadilly line underground. The tube was a worry, having tried it many years ago and hated the confines and the smells and the general grime, going back with the three most precious things in my life didn't fill me with good feelings.
Yes it was busy and smelly and loud and confusing and the home of some rather healthy looking rats. It does though serve a purpose, it carries millions of people in relative comfort to somewhere near their final destination. Once you get used to being jostled and squeezed (not in a good way) and having your toes trodden on or flattened by suitcases it is an easy way of getting from a to b and back again. I'm just glad I don't have to do it again for a while. I also understand now why so many people have the iphone, the boredom of looking out of grimy windows onto grimy walls starts to take it's toll on even the most imaginative out there. Sitting looking at a tiny screen or popping virtual bubble wrap starts to become much more attractive!
Yes Carys is Frozen like that!
We got off into the madness that is Piccadilly circus and went on an open top bus tour. It's something Wendy and I have made a tradition. Edinburgh in -2, Stratford in +2 and howling rain, London (a previous trip) +2 and howling rain and then London 2010 in +1 and cloudy! It always starts out well and we felt better prepared for this trip with ski gloves and hats and scarves. What we really needed was a roof! It was baltic and didn't quite go where we wanted to but it was ok and we learned a bit about the city.
A seasoned tube rider!
The next two days were a mixture of culture, Science museum and the Natural History, and general sight seeing, Leicester Square, Oxford street, South Kensington and Covent Garden.
We had a brill tip from a good friend, thank you Sarah, when visiting the science museum get there early and go straight to the top floor. This is where the interactive exhibits are and so we got to play for a good 45 minutes before the hoards made it up through the other floors.
By the time we were leaving London we reckon we had done about 2/3's of the science museum and a third of the natural history. we had reached saturation point for information and wow, look at that. The Natural history museum is such an amazing building, I took as many photos of the building as I did of the exhibits. I even had a bit of a chat with Jimmy Doherty off the telly (jimmy's farm) as he's been doing some really interesting programs about the environmental issues of food production and I'd like to use some of it in lessons that I'm planning to teach. Blimey said it, planning to teach, come on!
The main hall and a dinosaurs bum.
A huuuuuge piece of wood! 1335 years old.
We came home, tired and in one piece. Feet hanging off and heads spinning. We'd done it, been there, seen it, thought the t-shirt too expensive. The taxi of mum and dad was waiting for us at the station and it was in welcome comfort and privacy that we drove home. The rest of the journey had been public transport and walking.
Lots of people put this country down and that includes me, but this weekend gave me a new appreciation of what we have. We are free to travel, people have helped us (two gents got out of their seats so the girls could sit down on the tube!), we have had choices lots of choices but they are ours to make.
I went feeling scared and worried if I'd be a damp squib on the whole weekend, if my body would let me down or if I'd just be too darn tired to do anything. I have come back rejuvenated, yes it tired me, yes I was in bed no later than half eight every night and yes I missed our bed but I feel more alive now than I have for the last three months.
I needed an almighty kick up the arse to get me going and break the routine of sitting on the sofa working on the homer dint. I have been out on my bike twice, I have taken Carys to see the Princess and the frog (quite good in a walt disney kids movie style thing) and I'm still awake.
For lent I have given up watching telly until 8pm and being a grumpy arse.
Cheers London for starting the changes............