I’ve decided to combine two day’s in to one blog. I’m currently typing this en route to the Cotswolds. We are spending the weekend there in order to experience proper English country life. At the moment we are passing through so many quaint and picturesque villages it is hard to tear my eyes away from the road. But if I don’t do this now I fear it won’t be done.
Yesterday (London day 4) I awoke along with Rohan at stupid-o’clock desperate for food. It isn’t much fun sleeping through dinner then waking up in a house with no food. I now totally sympathise with his plight and have vowed to keep a stock of foods on hand, wherever we are staying.
At about 6am, kids and I started out on foot to find somewhere to get some breaky. No where was open!! We walked around and around for an hour before cafes started opening at 7am.
Ben and I had decided to have a pretty cruisy day with the kids and not overdo it so we could keep them up for a dinner date with Ben’s cousin. The only things on the agenda was watching the changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace and visiting Hamley’s Toy store.
I would love to say I was in awe of the age old ritual of the changing of the guards…. but to be honest it was hot, crowded and I could hardly see a thing. I don’t know how many people were crammed around Buckingham Palace but I would estimate that there would be at least 150% more than the amount of people at Trumps inauguration. (Fun fact – Trump is visiting England a few days after we leave and an artist has designed a huge, orange, baby Trump balloon to fly over London in protest. If it is the same artist that designed the eyesore in Hyde Park then my opinion of them has increased significantly).
Ben appreciated the synchronicity of the marching band at the guard-changing ceremony, Kylah enjoyed the music and I’m sure I would have appreciated the history and the tradition (blah, blah, blah) if I’d actually bothered to read up on it prior to to us going. Overall it was a little bit of a flop. Isabelle was only privy to view other peoples bottoms, Rohan was devastated that he wasted hours refining his comedy act (to perform in front of guards so they would laugh) and he was not going to get near them, Kylah had wanted to do a split leap in front of the palace but realised this was not going to happen and Jazzy was just hot, bothered and squished. But we went, we saw and we now can say we’ve been there/done that. I have booked a tour of Buckingham Palace when we return from Italy so I’m extremely excited about that.
After the ceremony we fed the kids from my new favourite food store, Marks & Spencer, who sell the best, freshest salads, sanga’s, sushi and fruits I’ve ever tasted. I’m obsessed with them. Lunch was eaten in another park where we sat directly on the grass with not an ant in sight.
Hamley’s was awesome. 5 levels of toys and it is really interactive. Isabelle was obviously their target demographic because she went from station to station getting staff to demonstrate special nail polishes, hair chalks, hair brushes etc. The kids all had 20 pounds to spend. Kylah bought a lego version of Big Ben, Rohan bought wheelie things to go on his shoes, Jazzy bought a Sylvannian family thing that isn’t available in Aus and Isabelle, when faced with FIVE levels of toys, chose to buy new outfit. A skirt, leggings and T-shirt – all pink, sparkly and fit for a princess.
We walked home via St James’s park, which is definitely my favourite park so far in London, and had an ice-cream on the way.
Back at our apartment Ben tried to force the kids to have afternoon naps so that he could keep them up to go out at night. He managed to get two of them to sleep (Isabelle and Jasmine) but Rohan just rolled around enquiring about where/when/who/why we were visiting that night whilst putting his dirty feet all over the walls and consequently being yelled at.
Isabelle and Jazzy were woken up up from their naps after an hour and responded in a way appropriate for children being woken in the middle of the night and forced to get out of bed and be cheery – with abject misery. I quickly escaped the apartment to pick us some wine leaving Ben to deal with the aftermath of his failed ‘nap’ idea.
The journey to Ben’s cousins house was long, hot and arduous. When London’s underground train system is running well – it is brilliant!! But when something goes wrong (like faulty signalling) the shit hit’s the fan in the most glorious of ways. There were flushed, angry Brits everywhere struggling to cope with the heat adn tired, grumpy Australians struggling to stay together in the massive crowd of people who were all trying to find a way out of the station and stuck in a crowded bottleneck.
Luckily Ben’s cousin, Lara, launched a rescue mission and came to pick us up. We were taken her to her welcoming abode where we were greeted with Pims, delicious food and excellent conversation. Lara and her partner Ian’s house is awesome. They have enough rooms/floors so that we were able to seperate the children into their own area complete with their own television. This allowed the adults to have a lovely evening and the kids only appeared briefly to be fed.
London – Day 5
Today we got up, packed up and made our way to pick up our rental car. It took about an hour to get to the station where the car was located and then a further 2 hours for them to do our paperwork, find us a car (the first one they presented us with had only 5 seats and while I was quite open to the idea of being left in London, Ben was not so keen) and for us to get on the road.
The roads out of London were shocking!! Soooo much traffic everywhere and it took us so long to even move a block. We would have been far better off walking out of London. We had left home at 9:00am to pick up the car and by the time we actually had the car and were out of the confines of London it was 2pm. Half a day wasted!!
Nonetheless we charged on with our plan to visit Stonehenge and make it to the Cotswolds.
Stonehenge was amazing!! A feat of engineering. It’s incredible to think that my ancestors probably had a hand in building it. Kids loved seeing this ancient relic and all took turns posing for photos. The best part for me was that there was a facial reconstruction of a skeleton found near Stonehenge and it looks so much like Ben it isn’t funny. I’m positive he is a direct descendant of this bloke.
We are now shacked up in a lovely little house in the Cotswolds district. I think we have a castle and a maze on the agenda for tomorrow – much to Isabelle’s delight!!
Brace yourself for many more photos of cute little houses. These villages are incredible. I can’t even put into words how charming and scenic these little towns are. I feel like I’ve stepped back in time and am in some Enid Blyton novel.
Thanks for reading!!
Changing of the Guards Ceremony
Lunch in the Park, Hamley’s Toy Store and Grumpy kids on a Subway