Welcome Back :-)
What a wonderful week we had in England. So wonderful that there were many tears when we left! Shared love around multitudes of cups of tea, watching the twinkling come back into the children's eyes as they played with Aunties, Uncles & long cherished friends. Introducing Magoo to a real life castle, sharing tea & cream scones for dinner in Stratford. Fellowship around God's word. Memorial, Bible class and a study day. Playgrounds, walks, parks. Magoo's first symphany with Daddy & a special Uncle. Second hand book shopping! Double decker bus and train riding, Birmingham town hall organ concert (with all four monkeys)......
Yes, we had a wonderful and much needed break in the middle of our time here alone in France. Now that we are back though, the list of things we would like to see and do before we leave in only 12 days is jam packed!
I'm tucked into bed next to Sausage with a cappuchino waiting for the monkeys to rise. They are still on UK time and me thinks that is a good thing as with them sleeping til 10 (and not going to be until the same at night) they are half way back to Ontario time :-) So even though I am itching to wake them so that we can start our day have have longer at the Natural history museum.....it isn't worth it really.
Yesterday we slept in, even Mummy! Which meant a frantic race to the grocery store for some necessities and pastries before our luggage was dropped off. Since the pastry place across the road was out of Pain au Chocolait, the children had banana chocolate ones and I had a raisin one - so yummy. Yes cappuchino pods for the nescafe machine were on the list of eccential supplies!
Everyone joined in and unpacked our jumbled up suitcases. Jumbled up because we had a frantic time repacking at the Birmingham airport. We had patted ourselves on the back because we had packed and weighed everything the night before and were just under the limit for the 2 large suitcases we took to the UK (yes, 2 lrg suitcases for 6 people, plus a tiny roll on for books) and so we thought we had loads of time to get a cafe and rest at the airport but once again - non!
The bright orange case was 5 kg over and the black one 2kg over so there was frantic rushing around the airport (with 6 monkeys in tow) to buy another bag (at 30 pounds - rip off) and then frantic emptying out of the large suitcases and literally stuffing the books, shoes, kitbags, all the heavy stuff into the new bag. Then security and such, thankfully we have found the in the EU they are wonderful with helping out families. We get pulled out of every line and put at the front (which is the only way we made our flight to the UK!) so we did end up with 15 min spare before loading began. We flew "Fly BE" to the UK and back and they left an empty seat by us, which was great as it meant that once the seatbelt sign was off Sausage could have somewhere to play and it made the hour long flight very enjoyable.
After unpacking we had some pizza for lunch and headed down below the city to make our way to the Arc De Triumph, for the third time. The first half of our journey went very smoothly and easily, and though the second half went fine.....managing 4 children down escalator after escalator with a diaper bag and stroller on your back and baby in a front pouch, and gripping the 4 yr old that always falls on them otherwise, is a bit hair raising. I don't know how deep we went to get on the RER (commuter line) for our 2nd half of the journey, but it was at least 8 stories below the regular metro line!
The wonderfulness of popping out of the rabbit hole at the base of the Arc was wonderful! No line up for the tickets (children were free again!!!) and then after we got onto the literal base finding out that we could go up the lift instead of climpbing up the stairs was blissful. We were already dripping with sweat as we hadn't dressed light enough and it was 19C!
The views at the top were well worth the trip Helper decided, since she was the one that wasn't bothered. The children played Eye-Spy for ages up there, until grumbling began and we headed down. At the base we had another history lesson - but ofcourse!
Because of the heat, ice cream was in store so we picked up milkshakes and drinks and enjoyed them before jumping back onto the Metro to get home.
Opps. By then it was 5pm. Welcome to rush hour! This was one thing that everyone we talked to said "DO NOT GO ON THE METRO WITH FOUR KIDS AT RUSH HOUR" so we let the first train, stuffed with people pass, and laughed at the lady posing and taking fashion photos infront of the train. Then the second train came, just as jam packed and we went for it. Monkey fell while getting on, thankfully a kind man grabbed her before she hit the ground, Helper looked down right petrified and I turned back to see Magoo still on the platform - instinctively I grabbed his coat and dragged him on. He said that there hadn't been enough room - so we had a lesson on forgetting manners on the metro and shoving in - quite the art ;-)