Christmas Day - over now, but here's my annual photo-by-the-tree. Adrienne insisted on opening her present before I took the photo. She had the clothes she has on and wouldn't get dressed before opening her present either. Switchfoot clothes all the way from America. Then the other two had to open their presents too or it wouldn't be fair. Those were the only presents we let them open before lunch. Everything else waited till the afternoon.
Mum, Dad, Beth, Andrew and Francis came in too so it was mad here for a while. We just about had time to clear up the carnage and have a bite to eat before we all had to settle down in front of Dr Who. Only a week to go and then no more David Tennent. I think I might cry!
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
From Hampton Court to the M3 there were no worries. Then we hit the motorway and it was hell. The sleet turned to snow and it came down fast! Before long this was our only view - millions of cars going nowhere. From Sunbury to the A303 is 37 miles. It took us 4 and 1/2 hours!!!!
Ocassionally the cars moved a bit faster than 2 miles an hour - but not for very long.
Once we got past Basingstoke it all became a bit clearer. This was the scene in the car park of the first services we found on the A303. We bought a basket of food in the M&S Simply Food store, Carl went off to pay while we girls got in the queue for the loo. (One of us had already been in a bottle in the car - bet you can guess who!) The wait was made a bit more exciting when Hermione Norris came out of the loo about five people ahead of us. Caitlin didn't realise who she was until she'd gone past, but she was impressed nevertheless - she loves 'Spooks'.
We finally got home at 12.20, eight and a half hours after we'd started our journey.
The weekend started with such promise. We left home in no particular hurry and reached Kingston by 2.00, we had some late lunch and found the Travelodge just round the corner from the famous falling telephone boxes. I love this photo, Ellie looks like she might have knocked them over herself!
Once we'd settled into our room we made our way into town. I made us all get off the tube at Oxford Circus so we could see the lights. So we had a bit of a mad trek down to the Arts Theatre near Leicester Square, but we made it in time to see the show, "A Christmas Carol - The Musical". We had great seats, in what is only a tiny theatre, sixth row back in the stalls and right in the middle of the row. The kids loved it. It was on early and so finished by 7.40. We had a late tea in Pizza Express, then walked, slowly this time, down to Piccadilly. We looked at all the lights (Ellie wondered how London could afford it), saw Eros, then caught the tube and train back to Kingston.
The next day they all decided they wanted to go shopping, especially when I told them I'd take them to Hamley's, a shop with six whole floors of toys. They loved it (although Adrienne was disappointed in the gadget floor.) On the fifth floor is a corner devoted to film memorabilia, mostly Harry Potter. There are cupboards full of wands. Caitlin fell in love with a Time Turner, so I let her have it on the understanding that she paid for it out of her savings. I put my foot down however, when Ellie said she wanted a Marauder's Map. £30 for a bit of paper is just too much!
Then came the decision as to what to do next - London Dungeons, or Hampton Court Maze and Ice Skating. They chose the latter. This is where it all started to go horribly wrong...