We took Henry out of Kindergarten early - it's too difficult for one to go and one to be on holiday so, from 22 June we've officially been on our summer holidays - well me and the Kindling as A still needs to earn a crust.
We decided that part one of the holiday should encompass one of my trips back to Blighty - we spent about a week with my parents which allowed me to catch up on some of the mundane admin bits and bobs I needed to do which I can't do from Germany - paying cheques in, sorting out school shoes etc. Oh - and I still had time for lots of shopping!!
The weather gods were quite kind to us that week and we didn't get too wet - indeed we managed a lovely day out at Beale Park near Pangbourne. A glorious, sunny day which meant wandering around the animal park and playgrounds there was super - although I was rather surprised to see I had to pay for L to go in - she's only 2. Here in Germany we don't seem to have to pay for children if they're under 6 so to pay for a 2 year old seemed a bit much to me. None the less, we had a great time and it is to be recommended.
|On the train ride around Beale Park|
It was then on to Solihull - via lunch in Derby to see a friend's new baby lots of lovely, snugly cuddles but not enough time to catch up properly given we've not seen them in over a year (yikes) - for a weekend to stay with good friends and their boys - six under seven makes for an action packed time!! G was lucky enough to see the Olympic Torch relay - getting up and out for 7'O'Clock on a wet Sunday morning in order to do so - I suppose another one of those 'once in a lifetime' events ticked off the list!
From there we were back to my parents briefly in order to drive to Salisbury for lunch with 'great grandma' - well my Mum's stepmum and at a sprightly 64 can't really be a 'great grandma'....... That was lovely although the weather put paid to our planned route march (aka wear the Kindling out plan) around Old Sarum. This was a real shame as both boys are into castles and knights and Romans - but it's been there for eons and I'm sure there will be another opportunity in the not to distant future.
Following a brief interlude at the garage - my tyre system was flashing up an error, just what you need when you've 500km planned driving over the next couple of days - it was up to London to stay with my sister and her husband. This kicked off in style with a family dinner for another branch of the family - it was super to catch up with all their news (Weddings, Engagements amongst other fun) - although G refused to sit next to David because of his 'tickly moustache'.....
Again the weather gods were not content and although we managed a fun trip to Archbishop's Park just over the road from St Thomas' Hospital and an abortive visit to the IWM (due to overactive imaginations of 7 and 5 year olds) our main planned outing to the Tower of London didn't happen. However, the Kindling were more than satisfied with a trip to the Science Museum - an old favourite (in fact we went back two days running to get another fix!) their current exhibition is all about modern life and it's great fun pointing out all the things that mummy used to use....think video recorders, early mobile phones, spectrum computers among other things. We had to go back without L the second day so the boys could do the Think Lab properly, this is a hands-on experimental zone which is packed with things for them to do - this culminated in a talk on rockets - including some hydrogen explosions - great fun!!
We were then lucky enough to have homemade afternoon tea (scones, homemade jam, two types of cake, prosecco....) laid on at my sisters and a visit from another Aunt and cousin. Not having seen them in about 18 months, it was super to cacth up and we hope not to leave it so long next time. One more day in London and then the big drive home back to Germany
So home safely and round one of the Summer Holiday is complete - and after a two week pause at home we're off again on Saturday to the south of France as we are in desperate need of some sun. This time, Daddy is coming too and we're all looking forward to some quiet time together exploring the Languedoc-Roussillon area between Montpellier and Cap D'Agde.
Our next manic trip back to the UK is in October half term when again we're cramming in too much to too short a time and trying to visit all the family and some of the friends we didn't manage to get to this time. But such is the lot of an expat family - never enough time to visit everyone you want and need to see and those visits you do manage to shoehorn in become too short and not a proper catch up and everyone feels shortchanged. We tend to end up spending more time in the car than anything else and it's not fair on the Kindling to do that