Sunday, 25 August 2013
Whilst the campers were at play, we went away
Well, we have been away, but only for a couple of nights and we did leave our 'A team' in charge, although apologies to all those using the mobile phone number to contact the campsite, who got through to me in London! My youngest and I had a quick train trip to Guildford to see a much loved relative and also take in the Natural History Museum (with the rest of the world it seems) which was great fun. And in a sunny London too.
Despite living in London during my early adult years, I have never been to the museum before and loved the old building and its architecture. We thoroughly enjoyed our meander around - although were disappointed with the dinosaur room. There were plenty of dinosaur skeletons elsewhere in the museum, most far more impressive than those in the dinosaur room itself and the walkway in and through was thronging and slow and I did wonder how anyone would get to a casualty, should an "elderly" decide to have a heart attack in the midst of the queue? It was an interesting room, but perhaps not worth the wait on this particular day.
By far our favourite rooms were the room with the Blue Whale in - which we unfortunately didn't find until last - so if we ever go again, we will go there first next time and have an even better look before reaching "worn out" phase. And the geological room.
At this point I should apologise to my son's dad, because when he shows me cornish rocks and minerals, which his amateur geological mind finds interesting, I do tend to switch-off a little. However, I found it extroadinarily interesting to look at these rocks and pebbles in the cabinets and both Dom and I were thrilled to see an exhibit just like a stone we have in a pebble and shell basket at home, labelled "Veined chert. Marazion beach, Cornwall, England"
And I found it highly amusing to have travelled all the way to London to discover a little history about a piece of flint in the same basket. "Small flint nodules with holes were once threaded with string and hung around the end of the bedpost or the key of an outer door to guard against witches. When used as such they were called 'hag-stones'. However, they can be called 'lucky-stones' when attached to a horse's collar as a charm against disease.
I do think a family railcard is good value and a weekend in London is just enough time to take in a little culture, introduce children to their capital city and enjoy the return home. No trip to London for Dom is complete without a ride on a 'Boris Bike', so after a picnic lunch in the garden at the Natural History and a quick snoop in the Victoria and Albert, we strolled up to Hyde Park and Dom cycled through Hyde Park to Hyde Park Corner, across to Green Park, down through St James' and across Horse Guards Parade and via Horse Guards Avenue to the Embankment. He loves the bikes. Although this time we left the bike in a docking station on the Embankment, we made a mental note to ourselves that there were docking stations right outside Waterloo Station, from where our Guildford train comes and goes.
We had toyed with the idea of a whirl on the London Eye, but when I had enquired in the morning as to whether there was a quiet time in the day to try and take the ride, the polite lady on the desk advised "october" was the quiet time! We did glance at the queue as we walked back across Hungerford Bridge, but saw a much more interesting ride and with no queue...................
No idea how we had missed noticing this summer fair at Jubilee Gardens, as we had headed along towards the Albert Embankment in the morning, but within this fair was, as Dom put it an "awesome ride" for £7.50 each which I considered as the last treat of the day, not too bad!