Friday, 18 July 2008

Days off

Unison go on strike.  We get two days off school - I say we, but really this it is the children who have time off.  Full-time mum has to go into overdrive.

Day 1: coincides nicely with the visit from Zambia of Number1 child's best friend.  Or, as he prefers to describe him, his cousin-in-law, given he is his aunt's husband's nephew (go with it: it's true).

So, a day-trip to London is set up, viewed as midway between the Isle of Wight and Newcastle.  Uneventful journeys, thank goodness.  Successfully meet up at King's Cross, followed by the inevitable toilet stop.  We catch a bus to Green Park, feeling like the ultimate tourist as we pore over a coloured map of the city, then picnic lunch on the 'green' part of the park.  Number2 child follows the boys over to the memorial to Canadian war heroes and, of course, falls in the water.  She has no choice but to be in wet clothes for the rest of the day, poor thing.

We pop across the road to see Her Majesty.  She's at home, to our surprise.  Doesn't invite us in for tea though.

Next stop, ice-cream (they've come over from Zambia: how can they possibly think it is hot enough to warrant ice-cream?) then underground to the Science Museum.

I lose Number2 child.  Tell myself not to panic and go hunting.  She's in the next room, happy as larry, and completely oblivious to the idea that wandering off away from her mother in a huge museum where there are hundreds of people milling about might be in any way concerning.

We pull out the stops for a BK meal at Leicester Square before parting again.  I've filled up on as much Zambian gossip as we can squeeze into conversation uninterrupted by children; they've filled up with running around and free Batman toys.  We wend our way home - exhausted but delighted.

Day 2 - I've agreed to take Number1 child's friend to the National Railway Museum in York.  It is great, but after yesterday I could really have done with a lie in...

Still, the museum never fails to interest me.  The boys love the model railway, I love the royal carriages, Number2 child loves to wander off...  Had a picnic lunch there and watched the friend sniffing my daughter's hair.  Is this supposed to happen before they reach Junior School?  I know they're growing up quickly but this feels excessive! 

Given the space available, I felt quite proud returning the friend to his mum at the end of the day knowing that I had never lost him, whereas my own offspring seem to disappear at the drop of a hat. 

Feel remarkably virtuous to have achieved all this on 'days off' - and little more than a week before the house move.  Collapse with exhaustion as the little darlings return for the final day of the school term and year.  Now only the six weeks of summer holidays to go...

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