I love London! My most informative years were spent in this big dirty city. It was the first place i lived on my own, I brought my first property there, got my first job there, went to collage there. It was a place of big decisions, big moments, making big friendships and if I am honest big partying also. I love London.
However I gave it up, I left the fantastic job, said tearful goodbyes to the friends, packed up my beloved flat and moved to Cornwall. The salty sea and golden sands were calling me and it was time to move on.
I want my girls to love my old city though, I want them to know it, and I also want to go back to Selfridges every once in a while. So once or twice a year we make the journey. We give the girls experiences of the tourist London, and also a bit of people watching, soaking up other cultures and being in the hustle and bustle that we only get here on an August bank holiday weekend when the sun is shinning.
One of my best London moments was when the older one said last year ” hey I know where we are! this is Trafalgar Square!” She wasn’t even five, result!
The Bluebell, our little artist, drew an amazing scene of London before we went, The Shard being the most significant as that was the highlight of our trip. She drew The Thames, the double decker buses, The Eye, the cable car, Big Ben, All the things that had thrilled her on our last visits.
The little one drew Space!
This trip was a little bit of school work, The Great Fire of London and buildings that they will be covering next term, meeting up with my friends kids and the famous Planetarium.
Fleur has shown an interest recently in Space, I believe her best friend Sonny-Jim inspired the interest and it grew when I brought a book on the planets. We took a trip to Greenwich and the experience terrified her! As our seats reclined and the voice announced ‘our journey into space’ she screamed in terror, and she wanted to leave. I managed to calm her down by lying her across me but her little body shook everytime the darkness fell to take us to the next place. ” where are we going to now, where are they taking us, what will happen” she said. I realised she thought we were on a real journey into space. However the older one, and usually not the braver of the two, asked questions and then said that it wasn’t as fun as she thought it would be. I was disappointed, one traumatised child and a bored one. They journey there took forever, the entrance fee was steep and the cafe terrible! what a disaster. Or was it? it started in the gift shop ” Hey boy! did you know that Pluto is far from the sun, did you? did you?” the little one shouted at a bemused two year old and its gone on, every day we are bombarded with SPACE questions. Quite intense ones for a child who has only just turned four. My favourite ( or should I say most disturbing) one being; “in 5 billion years when the sun explodes and dies, will it go to heaven? and if it does, will it burn everyone who is there Mama? will it? will it? ” the passion for planets and space has gone beyond anything I could have imagined. They read books, they draw planets and they play planets. For a terrifying and quite boring day trip I feel a lot has been got out of it.
So many things happened in a short space of time, they danced outside Buckingham Palace and climbed the railings, they chilled with lions in Trafalgar Square, they stroked one of the Queens horses, I kid you not!, we wandered the streets of China Town and hung out in Covent Garden, we saw Mummies in the British Museum. But for me the best bits? The wild one, thrilled on the underground platform doing air guitar as the tube pulled in and the whole platform of commuters smiling. For every step we took she jumped three. Neither of the kids ever moaned or cried and we walked them miles and miles, they just loved it all.
When we got home I grilled the Persian Holy bread I brought in a little corner shop in Edgware Road, I served it with Dukka and oil with Dahl and we sat at our table, back home in beautiful Cornwall and we tasted a bit of London. I miss the foods from around the globe, because with me life is all about food, but you can always bring it back with you!
Today I had a couple of hours to kill before the school run, so we jumped on the little train and went the one stop to school, sat on the beach and watched three seals dance in the waves, we ate ice cream on the sand in the middle of November and then we flicked little Moon Jelly fish back into the sea so they didn’t dry out. We didn’t buy exotic bread from far off lands, we didn’t feel the need to air guitar, but as I sat on that empty beach I know why I only back now for fun to lovely London.