26 September 2009

Dash Does London

When Dash was in Year One, his class learnt about England. Dash felt particularly proud because his dad is English, so he was from there... He learnt about Landmarks like Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and the Welsh Guards. A trip to England would not be complete without a chance to see these legends in the flesh. A trip to London was a must. What a buzz to be able to show him that the places he learns about in school are real. What a privilege to open up the world to him in this way.

On our return from Cornwall we spent three nights with my dear friend (and bridesmaid) Maya and her family. They graciously offered to escort us into London and show us the sights. Maya's hubby Andy got out the A-Z and the Tube map and plotted us a route. We purchased an all-day rail pass and set off - lugging 5 kids, two prams and a picnic.

First stop was "BuckleyNam Palace" (as Dash calls it). Here's Dash and Princess with new best friend Elisa.

Here we are - the whole clan - plus Elisa. We managed to spot some Welsh Guards marching. Dash would have happily stood and watched them for half an hour, but we had to move on if we were going to cover everything in one afternoon.
There were crowds of tourists (like us) lined up poking their noses through the Queen's Front Gate. Poor Lizzie. She mustn't ever get a minute's peace.

Here's me with the kids in front of the statue of Queen Victoria.

We walked through St James Park and did a bit of Squirrel Spotting - darned fast little things! So hard to photograph. Dash wouldn't let me quit chasing them until I had a good close up (this was the best I could do). The kids continued chasing squirrels while we had a coffee from a conveniently located street vendor, and then munched down our Ham Sammies...

... and then bumped into these fellows. Pelicans. How unusual!

Here's me and Maya (another self-portrait - I love that angle - No double chins!). Don't you love it when you have a friendship that time and distance don't seem to diminish? It's been over 10 years since we lived in the same country. Nearly 3 years since we've seen each other. Yet we just click back in as if we've never been apart. Friends like that are priceless. Maya reminded me that I had only given her 2 months notice for our wedding - yet she came from the other side of the world... What a girl!

At long last we spot Big Ben. Dash is suitably impressed.

In front of Horseguards Museum are some actual Horseguards. We wonder whether they are disappointed that all their highly specialised training has resulted in them standing stock still while being photographed by hundreds of tourists each day? We find an overpriced souvenir stand; Dash buys a Welsh Guard Teddy.

London still has the classic red public telephone boxes. I remember these from when I was a kid - 20c and you could ring anyone anywhere in NZ and talk as long as you like. Ahhhh, how times have changed. Needless to say Dash got no reply when he tried to dial our number - he didn't realise it cost £££!

We took a water taxi down the Thames; a great way to save our tired feet and see some more sights.

Here's Tower Bridge. I was imagining the gory sight of William Wallace's head on a pike, and giving myself a little chill, but then Andy told me that it was London Bridge they used to put the heads on, and that it was sold to the Americans some time ago! Never mind.

At this point we realised we had missed our stop and ended up in the business sector. A happy mistake, because it meant we had gotten to sail right under the bridge.

Dash and Princess were involved in a bit of a friendship triangle with Elisa. Princess got put out because Elisa had taken quite a shine to Dash, who can be very charming. There was a bit of sulking and a few tears on Princess's part, when Elisa seemed to prefer playing with Dash. However, when you're aged three, boys are great when it comes to running and chasing, but they are not very interested in dressing up as fairies or putting on tea parties. So in the end peace was restored, and Princess got her friend back.

After a long tiring day we were glad of London's great Tube system. Poor Scrag finally fell asleep with the rocking motion and stayed comatose even when we transferred trains in great noisy stations.
Our London Day Trip was a bit of a mammoth undertaking, but thanks to our great route-planner Andy, there were no double-ups or bits missed out, and we made it back with nobody left behind or lost, and a bunch of souvenirs to show for it.
The only "sight" we missed seeing was Stonehenge. But as I explained to Dash, it was just a teensy bit too far away... So we'll leave seeing that one for another day, another visit. I'm sure we'll be back.

Click for the next part of our Journey: Escape
OR if you dare Read my Personal Post: Size Matters

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PaisleyJade said...


Sophie said...

Sounds like a lot of (tiring) fun! Simoney, I think you'll love the movie The Young Victoria having seen BucklyNam Palace from the outside!!

Rebecca said...

Loving reading your adventures!! And Simone you're lookn so beautiful...such a gorg shot of you and MAya!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

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Cat said...

Wickedly cool will have to make a note of everywhere you went in a day for our day/s in London .. .. .. ..

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