Thursday, 15 August 2013

Out and about with a 3-year-old

The Daughter goes on maternity leave after tomorrow, so needed to be in the office today for handover purposes.  And playgroup is on holiday, so we agreed to meet at Russell Square Tube Station and I would take custody of my grandson, known to Blogland as the Boy.  Just as I arrived, I had a text from the Daughter to say they were going into Prets, where she bought a sandwich and a can of soft drink for her lunch, and we decided we had time for coffee - Prets do the best babycinos I've ever seen, and they are free!  The Boy loved his.  And I love Pret's coffee; if I am going to buy coffee when I am out, I do like it to be Pret's.

Once we had drunk our coffee/babycinos and visited the necessary facilities, we set off.  A bus down to Aldwych, a quick sit on the collapsible potty over a drain grating (him, not me, I hasten to add!), and then another bus towards Liverpool Street, but we got off just past Bank, and went wandering, down all sorts of little side streets, finding hidden gardens (useful to sit on collapsible potties on flower-beds!), statues, and all sorts of exciting ornamental railings to look at.  Eventually we fetched up at Liverpool Street, and I asked the Boy whether he wanted to go straight home, or whether he would like to go to a museum.  He wanted to go to the museum, so we got a bus down to the Museum of London - only two stops, but I thought we had walked quite far enough.  Then we actually found a lift going up to the entrance level of the Museum, and the yellow brick road (a yellow stripe on the tarmac) led us to the entrance. 

The Boy was fascinated by several very surprising things - flint hand-axes, although I'm not sure he quite understood what their purpose was.  And a couple of models of Roman London; he loved the farms and the horses and "carriages" and the cows and sheep in the fields.  I am not sure what he made of it all!  I would have liked to have seen a display about the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens for work purposes, but it was a bit dark in there and the Boy balked.  So we came out and looked at floor displays of broken crockery - even a spoon!  He liked that.  And quite the best was at the end, when we found a place where you could run cars and a tram on fixed lines on a road (and horse-drawn traffic, too), and you could press a button and a Tube train would go round and round, and other buttons did different things.   We spent a very long time there! 

Then we were hungry, so we went to Prets (a different one) and he had most of a cheese and pickle sandwich, having removed all the poisonous lettuce and tomato and onion and I had a chicken and avocado one and what was left of the Boy's, and we both drank orange juice.  The Boy had very cleverly found the exit down to ground level when I couldn't see one: "Gran, Gran, there it is!  I can see it!  I found it!", so when he said "Can we have lunch there?" and pointed into Prets, I let him.

It isn't that far back to Liverpool Street, but I thought he was getting tired and I knew I was!  So we caught a bus, and then had to queue for ages as I needed cash and there appeared to be only one working cash machine in the entire station.  Anyway, we got on a train and I asked if he wanted to go all the way to Chingford and get a bus back, or go home from Walthamstow Central.  He naturally wanted to go on to Chingford, and as the collapsible potty's disposable lining had to be brought into use in the train loo, it was probably just as well.  The loo was lovely and clean, but no hand-washing water.

A 212 bus brought us tiredly home from Chingford, and it was lovely to collapse for an hour before the Daughter came home.  Mind you, it would have been even lovelier if the Boy hadn't pooed himself - he is very good at staying dry but a lot less good at getting to the potty in time when he needs to poo.  Still, once I had told him what I thought of him and cleaned him up rather more thoroughly than gently, all was forgiven and we went back downstairs and ate biscuits!  He did, I didn't....

Thursday, 1 August 2013

More than I intended!

I was not on grandmother duty today, as the Boy is on holiday, but I needed to get out of the flat, and I also needed to go to Lakeland.  Our nearest Lakeland is in Westfield Stratford City, which seems quite a long way to go, but as I have free travel now, it is cheaper than shopping by post.  And I never mind an excuse to buy myself some lunch.

The obvious way to go to Stratford from here - the quick way - is to get the Northern Line to London Bridge and then the Jubilee Line, but that's no fun!  So I caught a 35 bus all the way to Liverpool Street station and then a "proper" train (as my grandson calls them) to Stratford. 

My errand at Lakeland was quickly done, and I then treated myself to a falafel wrap at the Lebanese place, which I think has changed hands and is more expensive than it used to be, but still very nice.  And then I made a mistake by going to Bubbleology and ordering a strawberry tea.  I had first had a bubble tea in Hameln, which was lovely - it was a yoghurt-based drink and the "bubbles" sort of popped in your mouth, but these were huge, slimy, chewy, nasty bits of tapioca.  Yuck!  Not doing that again!

Because I hadn't done it last time, I  decided to go on the Emirates Royal Airways cable-car across the river, so I took the DLR to Royal Victoria Docks station and went over the river on the cable-car, which was great fun, only I think I'd have liked to have been with someone.  Beautiful views, only rather high.... Still, I would certainly take a visitor there, another time.

The cable-car drops you at the O2, so the next decision was how to get home from there.  I could have been boring and got the Tube, but it was hot and I didn't feel like going underground, so I got a 188 bus to Surrey Quays, and then the London Underground.  BIG MISTAKE - the train came at once, no waiting.  I should have got off at Peckham Rye, but was actually planning to go all the way to Clapham High Street and then walk.  BIG MISTAKE.  No sooner had the train pulled out of Peckham Rye station than it stopped at a signal, and stayed stopped.  Eventually, the driver came on the pa to tell us that there had been something dropped on the rails at Denmark Hill Station - a concrete beam, he thought - and we would have to wait while it was fixed.  So we waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally he came back to say the damage was more serious than had been thought, and we would have to go on to where we could reverse back to Peckham Rye.  So we went about ½ mile further, and sat for another fifteen minutes or so, while the train ahead of us was brought back and joined on to ours (they must have been waiting even longer than we were, as the trains only run every 15 or 20 minutes). 

Eventually we crawled back into Peckham Rye station and got out.  My first port of call was McDonald's for some cold bottled water - I had had a bottle with me but it was tepid and not very refreshing - and then I decided to do my errands in the 99p shop, which didn't take long.  Then a 37 bus came and took me rather slowly home, popped into Lidl (which has delicious Belgian cheese this week!) and home a good hour or more later than I would otherwise have been!