They said I was mad; they said it couldn’t be done… But I proved them all wrong!
This weekend I took both girls to Swindon…on my own!
The Lovely Melanie (who went to a school reunion in Hatfield) asked me five times before we left: “Are you sure about this?” and each time I replied nonchalantly, “It’ll be fine.”
And it was.
We left Saturday morning, caught the 9.28 train from Albany Park to London Bridge (arriving just three minutes before it left, instead of the usual 15), the tube to Baker Street, then to Paddington, then the train to Swindon.
And the girls were brilliant. There were no bennies, no wandering off, no complaining or arguing with each other. The entire journey was like some wonderful dream of parenting. Even I was somewhat amazed at how easy it was! I had two fairly hefty bags, no buggy and two headstrong young ladies, but we had great fun on the journey. 🙂
In Swindon, following a favourite lunch (of my Dad’s home-made rissoles and chips) my Dad took me, Millie and Amber to the STEAM Museum to visit the new Star Wars/Science Fiction Exhibition. We were promised memorabilia, actual people from the Star Wars films and other sorts of similar stuff.
And I think you can see from the photos I took, that it mostly delivered. 🙂
And I got my photo taken with Judge Dredd! He leaned in conspiratorially while the picture was being taken and told me that while the kids all wanted pictures taken with the Star Wars people, all the dads wanted pictures with him. Heh heh heh, we chuckled.
There was a scary moment in the exhibition proper when we lost Amber. We’d been in there about 30 seconds and barely got past the Alien section when I noticed she was missing. I moved deeper into the exhibition, thinking she must have run impatiently on, but there was no sign of her. My dad eventually found her outside the exhibition being looked after by one of the staff. She’d been scared by the people dressed up in costumes and had darted out without being seen. :-O
I picked her up and gave her a hug, explaining in my Patient Reassuring Dad Voice (I have a special Patient Reassuring Dad Voice these days) that it was all only (pre-)’tending and I was there to look after her and she would be fine.
After a couple of minutes of the Patient Reassuring Dad Voice she was down and off again, shouting for Millie to come and see this, that and the other.
In the evening we were invited to a party at my Uncle Maurice and Aunty Jacky’s house – previously my Nan’s house, but they made an excellent decision to keep the house in the family after she died and have had the place completely modernised and redecorated, and have recently moved in. There were loads of family there – some of whom we don’t see as often as we’d like to – and a lovely time was had by all. It was also a pleasure to get to meet the newest addition to the family, Baby Oscar – seen here with his proud dad, my cousin Gary.
Thanks very much, Maurice and Jacky!
Sorry if I seem to be skimming over much of this – it’s getting late on Sunday night and I really want to watch The Joy Of Disco on the iPlayer before I go to bed tonight!
So, anyway, Sunday (or today, as it currently still is) the girls were up at the crack of dawn to play with Nanny and Grampy (I swear I was woken up at about 7.30 by someone singing Kumbaya downstairs…). Once everyone was up and dressed we went to see Great-Nanny Iris, my step-nan (although it’s been a long time since I thought of her as a “step-nan”). Iris is in her 80s now, and although this may have slowed her down a bit she still has all her marbles and a smile for all of her grandchildren. Not to mention a never-ending supply of knitted dolls which Millie, in particular, loves. We always come away with a new doll (or two).
I managed to get a couple of really nice photos of everyone together, too. Without wishing to sound morbid when someone is 82 years old you can never be quite sure this visit won’t be the last, so I want to make sure we have some pictures of her with the girls.
Hell, if my brother’s death has taught us anything it’s that you can never be sure any visit won’t be the last…
That does sound morbid, doesn’t it? But hopefully you know what I mean.
Before catching the train home we had time for a filling meal with my mum and dad and Rich, Carla and Izzy in the town centre – which again was nice. Shame we didn’t have more time to kick back and chat, but…
The journey home with the girls was, once again, mostly quite fun. We were sat in the quiet carriage on the train, but while Millie and I tried to nap, Amber insisted on singing Oh Susanna for most of the journey. No one complained! 🙂
Millie was desperately desperately excited to see some “Beaver Towers” books the Lovely Melanie had bought for her. They had arrived not long after we left on Saturday and she texted me a picture of them. Millie kept asking to see this all the way home, as if their arrival might be a dream that she had imagined. I’m glad to say it was not a dream.
As soon as we got in the door this afternoon MIllie had to be bundled back out for her 5.30pm swimming lesson, but she took the Beaver Towers books with her. The Lovely Melanie reported that the only time she was not reading them was when she was actually in the pool.
She’s definitely our daughter, that one. 😉
Meanwhile, Amber feel asleep laid on top of me while we were watching Gremlins 2. Which is always nice. 🙂