No. No it does not.
I have dreamed of visiting London ever since I first watched Fergie & Prince Andrew’s wedding way back when I was a little girl. As I grew older I decided that my destiny in life was to “backpack” around Europe and began making plans to do so after I had spent my first few years teaching in Australia. “Backpacking” was in inverted comas in the previous sentence because even though this was what I was telling people I was going to do, I had actually purchased a membership to the Hilton Club worldwide and obtained luggage that definitely did not go on my back.
Fate intervened and before I was able to set out on my European adventure, I was blessed with the arrival of the worlds most perfect, beautiful (actually, she was more cute in a monkey kind of way) and well behaved baby. Kylah. Yes, even as a tiny baby fresh into this world she was a rule follower. She never cried or whinged and slept through the night straight from the womb. The arrival of my darling ‘Killjoy Kylah the Rule Following Dictator’ (as she later came to be known) was better and more fulfilling than any holiday I could ever dream of taking so any plans to explore my mother country were shelved indefinitely.
Fast forward 15 years, 1 husband and 4 children I finally decided that now was the time to turn my long held fantasy into reality. So the planning, or more correctly – lack thereof – began.
The plane trip from Singapore was pretty good for Isabelle and I who were seated together. The rest of them did not enjoy the endless slumber that Isabelle and I were able to achieve. Consequently, when we arrived at Heathrow – no one was happy.
Even though Isabelle was well rested, she had blisters on her feet which caused her to loudly whinge for the 1.5 hours we were queuing at customs. Jasmine, had been struck down with dreadful sinus blockages and earaches so was complaining loudly and tearfully. Kylah, having not slept, was grumpy beyond belief but was trying very hard to maintain a positive composure. She would switch between yelling and growling at Jasmine/Isabelle/Rohan for being noisy/whingy/pesty and being fraudulently happy, donning a phoney smile and saying pessimistically cheerful things such as “this is all an adventure isn’t it??” and “don’t worry mum, we’ll have a GREAT time!!”. Rohan was neither happy nor sad and was doing his usual monkey-like antics swinging on things he shouldn’t be swinging on, touching things he shouldn’t be touching and asking inappropriate questions very loudly. This further enraged Kylah (who was trying so hard to be cheerful while faced with someone who was completely disregarding all of the ‘rule’ signs).
The trip to our accomodation was the worst few hours of my life so far. By this stage, everyone was whinging loudly about the “plan” to get from Heathrow to our Westminster apartment. My “plan” was obtained in Australia from google maps and was handwritten instructions that involved walking a couple of km’s and catching 2 trains and 1 bus. On arrival to Heathrow however, I discovered that there might be easier ways to get there. This is when Ben began saying very helpful things on a loop for the next 1.5 hours like “If I’d planned how to get to the accomodation we’d be there already”. As I had deviated from my original google maps plan I needed a lot of assistance at various “circle tube stations” (which are erroneously called circle routes as they don’t go in 1 circle but rather a series of circles. This means you can’t just get on any circle tube and think that eventually you will make it all the way around the circle and eventually get to your destination). Ben kindly pointed out every time we passed a station that we had already passed or noted, vocally, all the many different ways that we could have arrived at the destination that would have been better than the route we were currently on. This ‘almost’ broke my cheerful demeanour and I may or may not have had a moment where I thought that perhaps I could ditch them all and go off on my own adventure.
Our apartment is amazing. By London standards it is a mansion. By Australian standards, the entire apartment could fit into my bedroom, office and ensuite. But it has everything we need, is newly renovated and the Queen is practically my neighbour. I suggested a ‘Nanna Nap’ on arrival at the apartment and after fighting over the one bathroom to all shower and go to the toilet everyone went to sleep.
I woke the kids at 4:30pm, London time, to get up and get ready so we could go meet up with my long time BFF Amy. Jasmine and Kylah did not wake up well at all. In Kylah’s mind (and on her watch) it was 1:30a.m in the morning and I was being an irresponsible parent dragging her out of bed at that Godforsaken hour. Isabelle and Rohan had not napped and by this stage were on the verge of some hyper-maniac excitable breakdown. Our walk from Westminster to Southbank was filled with Isabelle and Rohan gleefully shouting things like “OH MY GOD – ITS A PALACE!!!”, “THIS IS AHHH-MAAAZING!!” and “LOOK AT ME!!!”. Their cheery dispositions did not go down well with the other members of our group who felt like they had been woken in the middle of the night to be tortured with over the top enthusiasm.
We ate a sombre dinner with Amy before I decided it might be a good idea for Ben to take the kids home to bed so Amy and I could catch up properly. As soon as they left Ames and I found the nearest bar (that sold top shelf vodka) and settled in for 2 years of catching up. We then wandered around where I was able to see some of the older parts of London and have a drink in Londons oldest continually operating pub. Since the 16th Century ‘Georges’ has been a pub and used to be frequented by the likes of Shakespeare and my favourite historical figure, Sir Joseph Banks. I was in historical heaven.
My amazing night was cut short when I was sent a text from Ben telling me to get my arse home because he couldn’t stay awake much longer and needed to let me in. I made a solo journey home via public transport (and didn’t need to ask anyone for directions) and arrived to our apartment at about 11pm.
Unlike the rest of our troop, who seemed to have regular jet lag, I think I had reverse jet lag. It seems my body had just written off that lost night of sleep because last night at 11pm I felt like it was morning time and I was still full of beans wanting to explore and enjoy my new surrounds. Luckily it was nothing a few sedation medications couldn’t fix and I managed to drift off into a peaceful slumber.
It is now the morning of day 2 and I need to sign off because for the past 30 minutes everyone has been telling me to blog later so we can go out. But I know how that works. If I leave one day off then the catch up becomes too big and I stick the whole blogging deal in the ‘too hard basket’. We are about to head off exploring so will update you later tonight/tomorrow morning or whenever my killjoys allow it.
Thanks for reading!!