It was again the May Bank Holiday half-term and the time for me and Archaeologist Husband share the childcare duties. Thus, the major editing duties have been postponed until the coming week when the school is on again. Nevertheless, this has meant that the peer-reviewers have managed to turn up again and we have other voices airing their opinions. My own worktime has been dedicated to recrafting an important article that now requires a 25% word count cull after being restructured. That should be doable.
The cold that sent me to moaning on the sofa in my pyjamas is still there in the background. A fellow mum told me that people have been coughing for three weeks with this bug – and the cough and muddled nose have not gone anywhere. Therefore, I had to bury a trip to the swimming pool, again.
The half-term project was about the Great Fire of London in 1666 and it would have been marvellous to go to London. Once again I just had to check how much it costs by train and what kind of time slots are available for off-peak tickets that I turned to other alternatives. There is no point running around the city in order to reach the Natural History Museum and then speed back to get a pre-3.30pm train. At least we got to the movies to see Paddington and having a glimpse of the movieland fairytale London (with falling snow, naturally).
I had been thinking about Nottingham, but the weather forecast was unsettled, so I decided to go to Birmingham instead. I had never been in the Bullring shopping centre and the Staffordshire hoard exhibition is now been in place in the museum for some time. Most importantly, the New Street train station is slap bang in the city centre whereas the one in Nottingham is not. The castle is quite a hike away, so there was no sense travel there when one might have ended up taking cover in one identikit shopping centre. Nottingham will be left for a nice day.
With the telescope, binoculars and selected Angry Birds character toys in his rucksack we headed to the train journey. Birmingham was slightly a bewildering experience. There are quite a lot of road and renovation works going on, including the rebuild of the station, so even getting out of the station was ‘interesting’. We found our way to the Bullring, but it was not a one building I had imagined from the TV news but a series of buildings around a square. The same shops were there but they did not have the double golden arches that were essential for Number One Son. Without a toy in the Happy Meal it was not going to be a trip. At least there was a giant Shaun the Sheep on the streetway between the Bullring buildings.
The treasure was a success with Number One Son but getting him up the staircases turned out to be an issue. Thus, the peaks to the Egyptian and Greek and Roman sections were the briefest, since they were placed on the balconies above the Staffordshire hoard and art galleries. The highlights were the fountains outside the Birmingham Town Hall and the touch screen table in the Staffordshire gallery. Number One Son and other children just kept moving those objects around. Similarly, the swords, the small old-fashioned excavation diorama and the reconstructed Anglo-Saxon ‘house’ with a sitting, reading and traditional gaming area were successes.
The highlight of the day were however in declining order buying a £1 dinosaur from Poundworld, having an ice cream cone, travelling in a train and getting a bus to the city centre. Otherwise, we could have just popped in to the Haymarket shopping centre in Leicester, but the real train travel...