15 March 2014
Only two and a half hours in the car, and this time we made it both there and back without stops. I knitted a handspun rainbow cowl and the children read and bickered over sweets. The plan was to travel down one day, sleep over with Martin's brother (and his family), go to the Natural History museum on the second day, then come home late the second evening. Weather-wise we were exceptionally blessed, and spent an amazing first afternoon playing on a huge park and enjoying the sun.
Not long before it closed for the day we spent a couple of hours in the William Morris Gallery which is such an amazing little treasure of a museum! I would happily have spent a lot longer there.
It was really lovely to catch up with family, and the children were thrilled to play with their little cousin. B and Talia are almost exactly the same age, and Talia was slightly wary of her as she often is with other toddlers. None of the children were keen to go to sleep that evening!
After an interesting and not terribly comfortable night sleeping on floors and sofas, we headed straight to the Natural History Museum. This beautiful building has awed me since I first set eyes on it, and at least half of the pictures I took in London are just of the architecture here. I thinned them out a lot to write about our trip, don't worry!
My children have a system for museums. They like to stand for very long periods of time looking at something innocuous, before rushing past six other displays of things I find extremely interesting... I was extremely glad for Ashleigh's extra pair of hands (and eyes) because it made it less essential to stick together and I was much more relaxed than usual about the children exploring and /or dawdling at their own pace - Talia mostly stayed in the mei tai on my back too. It was much more relaxed a trip than I expected!
I knew they'd be thrilled with everything here, though. Some of Rowan's absolute favourite things, in particular. She did a lot of excited squealing! This, by the way, is her "can you freaking believe it!" intense face:
Obligatory tourist shot of Dippy!
We stopped near the end of the Dinosaur exhibits to draw. Two pages of Jenna's sketch book are filled with pencil drawings of the architectural details! Either she takes after me in yet another way, or she fixed on those to draw because I barely shut up about how much I LOVE this building for the whole four hours or so we were there...
The thing Rowan was MOST looking forwards to:
You can just see the edge of her little face, she's lit up like a little glow worm. Her pure, pure joy at every single thing absolutely made my day.
We had to finish at the slice of giant redwood, which awes me every time, before surprising the children with a late lunch of sushi. More squealing. Lots more squealing.
They are pretty adventurous eaters anyhow, but they totally surprised even me by devouring all sorts of things they don't normally want. Jenna's favourites had avocado in, and she ate almost an entire plate of soy beans. Between seven of us (six plus Ashleigh) we got through nineteen plates in the end.
Rather than head straight back to base, we went to Covent Garden to see some of the street performers. I was a little worried about the amount of walking we'd already done, but when I put it to the kids they immediately voted for more adventuring even if it did involve more of a trek back. (We had to stroke the gorgeous subway tiles as we came out of this tube exit.)
Talia had been asleep on my front for well over an hour by then, and my back was starting to ache, so we stopped for frozen yoghurt with the aim to switch the sling over to Martin while we were there. Jenna had an upset when Martin got her the wrong frozen yoghurt, culminating in her bursting into tears and apologising for yelling, "I'm just sooo tired!" Fuzzy smallest woke up, and had some yoghurt too.
By the time we got back to base we were all utterly exhausted and had aching feet.
It was midnight before we got home; Martin and I are glad we have the weekend to recover, but the children are still totally perky! The cat missed us, and is being super nice to everyone. My baby brother did a sterling job chicken-sitting, and we've come back to find that the chooks are now reliably laying four eggs a day between the five of them. The pea seedlings are sprouting away on the window sill. And our adventures were truly wonderful, but home is such a good place to be. :)