Sunday, 23 April 2017

Queen's house

Easter holiday from school can feel extremely long when one does not do a foreign travel somewhere nice. This holiday luckily Archaeologist Husband took Number One Son to Bristol to see Number One Cousin before I returned home after a departmental meeting. The rest of the holiday was spent nearer home except for a day trip to London. It was so successful that one has to do another as soon as possible during the coming half-term.

There are two ways to travel from Leicester to London and we took the slower one. Number One Son would prefer taking a train, since it is much quicker, but the coach service is much cheaper so we had to slum it. Both ways of travel leave the actual time in London quite short - especially the train travel when the reasonably priced tickets force the home journery either around 3pm or after 7pm, the latter still possibly leaving too much time to spend in the late afternoon or evening for Number One Son. In the end, the travel went fines, but we noticed that the loos in the National Express coaches are really needed!

The main aim of the journey was to go to the Hamleys toy shop. I had not myself never been there, so I was quite keen to see it. There were six floors of toys, but still the department store failed my Barbie test. After all, this is not a large out of the town centre retail park but an old building with a toy shop. I have seen wider Lego collections elsewhere, too, but for some reason Playmobile was well stocked. Similarly, there were a huge Star Wars section downstairs with some added digital and other gadgets. Momentarily, I managed to get my ring and with hand stuck in a pin art gadget. After a short panic, I managed to free myself when I actually thought about it.

When we came out of the toy shop the grey skies had lightened and the sun came out from behind the clouds. It was not through and through sunshine but partly overcast but better than expected so we decided to stay overground, although Number One Son likes the Tube. Since Number One Son is behind in development, he is not really into monument spotting. The living statues were more interesting than Piccadilly Circus, the walk-in fountain on Leicester Square was more interesting than the square itself, Chinatown had no interest for my son and the National Gallery was a bore. This boy's interest was only aroused when we passed some battleground paintings. Luckily, seeing Big Ben from a distance and the lions in Trafalgar Square were a hit. Number One Son was not the only child or adult who was climbing the pedestal of the column there. Then it was time to see what Number One Son really wanted to see.

The real draw was Buckingham Palace. Not only is queen living there but there were also beefeaters guarding the building and we happened to be there for the 4pm change of the guards. A small event with three soldiers but enough to keep Number One Son happy. Then it was time to walk back to the coach station. As it had been planned so that we ended up near the Victoria station.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Birthday panic

This year Number One Son's birthday caused a little bit of a panic. Only in my mind but anyway... All was finde when I booked the venue he had hoped for - that is Laserforce in Leicester - so that he and his mates can have a laser fight. However, the alarm bells should have rang when all but one slot were free. I just thought that it was because it was the day clocks went foreward and the English summer time started. No, it was because it was the Mothering Day!

Of course, when we noticed that from the school's invitation to the mother's day event at the school, it was already too late. The invitations had gone out and the first guests had informed us that they would come. However, there were more cancellations in the RSVPs than normally. Next year one has to be very careful with the different celebrations. I think Easter will be in March again then.

In the end, it all went relatively smoothly. There were some guests, there were money and presents. There were cards. And the Laserforce did have mothers' day special where the mothers went free, so me and another mother braved ourselves and joined the youngters. I did spend quite a time as a dead body since the oldest of the kids had positioned himself into a sniper position...