02 April 2012

the weekend away

So we did it, we made it there and back again, but I have to say London nearly broke us!

We had such a lovely weekend though visiting my oldest, dearest friends. It was all worth it, but seriously, how do people actually live in London, let alone raise children there?! It's way too hectic for me! We sighed a huge sigh of relief when we reached Bristol. Now to try and convince my friends to all move here...

But here we go! On Friday evening I picked Rob up from worked and we set off for Oxford. With a bit of palarva over petrol (damn stupid hysteria making everywhere run out of diesel...) we finally arrived to a very welcoming flat with a yummy curry for dinner at Tilly's home. Theo loved exploring and showing off to everyone, until he eventually was ready for bed about 10pm! After he went down we stayed up talking and drinking wine, until I was nearly falling asleep and eventually got to bed about midnight (wild times!) But it was lovely.

Theo somehow woke up pretty early the next morning, and we all got up too ready to get our train to London town. This was the first time taking Theo on a train. I know? How has he never been on a train before? Well actually that's a lie, we've been on the metro in Barcelona and small country trains in Devon, but never a long journey. He did ok really, we read some books, ate some banana and he flirted with the other passengers.


Theo also had a feed and fell asleep towards the end of the journey, which was great as we just transferred him to the carrier when we got off the train, and he stayed asleep all the while we were on the tubes. We made our way to South Kensington to meet our friend Jonny, and we went to find some food for lunch. We stumbled upon a little street farmers market and ate some yummy hot dogs and bought some cheese and bread and brownies, as you do. We then headed back to the station to meet Anna and made our way to the Natural History Museum, where we were finally met by the last member of our super group and had a little picnic.

We thought it might be a bad idea going to the museum on the first day of the Easter holidays and a Saturday, but actually it wasn't too bad. Perhaps going around lunchtime was a good idea. Once we got in we of course headed straight for the dinosaurs. I haven't been here for a long while and have very fragmented memories of it from a child, but it was as exciting as ever!


As soon as we walked in the darken room with all the skeletons Theo starting pointing and saying 'oooo' and 'aaaa' it was pretty funny! I love to think how it must look to him!



At the end of the big walkway you come to a separate room where they have a life size mechanical moving model of a T-Rex. Pretty scary stuff with flashing lights and roaring noises, but I just think Theo was pretty fascinated by it rather than scared! I was pretty scared imagining what it would be like to see something like this coming after you, but then you just look at his tiny arms and think that if you managed to trip him up he wouldn't be able to get up and eat you in one bite. ha ha.


Rob was taking a photo of Jonny and I and when looking back at the photos we realised that a little girl made her way into our photo and it therefore looks like this is a little family portrait...it made us laugh lots (plus she's a ginge too)


Theo got a bit tired of being in the carrier so we let him loose and he had so much fun pottering around and looking at the displays.


After the dinosaurs we were all getting pretty tired, and even though it would be great to spend most of the day there looking at all the amazing displays, it was a bit too busy to really enjoy it, so we made a quick pit stop at the mammal section to look at the blue whale before heading home.


We headed back on the tube to Harringay to where Jonny and Owen live. They live in a predominately Turkish area in North London, and we had booked a table at a very popular local restaurant that evening. It came with high recommendations and we were definitely not disappointed- it was amazing!

The restaurant was packed but they set us out a big table with a highchair. The staff we so friendly and attentive, and especially attentive to Theo. I think he got the best service of us all. It makes such a difference when he is actually acknowledged as a person, or actually treated as a toddler rather than just another dining guest. And the food was just perfect. We were supplied with endless amounts of freshly wood oven baked flat breads, and amazing salad for free, before we ordered our food.


We drank Turkish beer and ordered a meze to share and I had a chicken shish and rice for my main. Rob and Owen shared a MAMMOTH platter of different kebabs including: lamb and chicken doner and shish, quail, ribs and rice and tabulah. And these weren't your horrid takeaway kebabs, they were so delicious and really well cooked. The whole atmosphere and experience was great, and for a change Theo was really well behaved and eat lots of his dinner too (he mainly ate salad, rice and my chicken, bread and hummus but tried some lamb too)



After dinner, with very full bellies we went back to the flat. After a bit of playing Theo went to bed and we stayed in drinking a few beers and playing Yaniv, a card game Jonny and I learnt whilst travelling in India and Nepal, it's highly addictive! It was so much fun just hanging out and being totally relaxed with my friends, like old times, except I can't drink much at all these days!



It got to about midnight and again I was so ready to get to bed, so that's Rob and I did. The others went to the pub across the road for a few drinks and then came home and listened and danced to music in their bedrooms and stayed up til about 6 in the morning (all without waking us up!) I was pretty jealous to know they did this, as I would have loved to join them, but in the end, sleep is way too important to me these days, and there would have been no way I could have survived or functioned the next day! We woke up about 7.30am anyway!

The next day was very lazy indeed. Jonny got up about 8 (no idea how he did that?!) and he came with Rob and I to go get croissants for breakfast and go to the park near by. When we got back Anna was awake and we sat around drinking tea and coffee, reading the papers and playing cards, waiting for everyone else to wake up.



The rest of the day went in a similar fashion, we ate some lunch, dropped Anna off at the tube station, listened to records and eventually walked to the tube through Finsbury Park to get our train home. We were so tired by the time we got home later that evening, but it was all totally worth it.

I love my friends so much, and it always completely renews me to spend time with them. I feel totally relaxed and at home in their company. But our group is changing, we are all getting older and settling down in our lifes, and of course me being the first to have a baby (quite a bit before anyone else probably) has already changed things a lot. I can't do lots of things that we all used to do, or meet up with them nearly as much as I would like to, and things take a lot of planning. But it's just natural that the nature of our friendships are going to change with the passing of time and events, but what's important is that we all stay friends and see each other occasionally like this every once in a while. And I know we will, these friends are keepers and hopefully we will all still know each other when we're old and grey and talk about the good old days. For now there are holidays in France, drinking wine and being middle aged with our children running round together to look forward to...

Thank you my dear friends, I love you all.

4 comments :

  1. Mmm, your dinner looks yummy.

    Sam took Arlo to the Natural History Museum when he was around 10 months old and he pissed himself at the roaring dinosaur.

    It's great that you took this trip with Theo. We have had friends stay at ours, but not yet taken up any offers to visit friends for a weekend. It's probably not as much hassle as I think it would be.

    And as far as living in London goes, a good sling is a must and even then I hardly ever venture into central with Arlo without a second pair of hands.

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    1. it was so yummy! I've been craving a chicken shish kebab ever since, but I know none will live up to this one!

      I'm glad we did too, it was a really great chance for us all to get together, which is such a rareity these days as we all live in different places and have busy lives etc...but it was a lot of fun. I love that this group of friends fully excepts my life now and Theo, and I get so proud watching them interact with him and play with him.

      But it was really tiring, and I think the key is, is not to try and do too much! and probably go to the museums not at the weekend or the first day of the easter holidays! and yeh the sling was a lifesaver, can't imagine doing it with the pram!

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  2. love your photos. especially the one of theo on rob's shoulders and the one with his little ears lit up!
    i know what you mean about friendships changing. it's different for me, i'm older and wasn't the first to have babies. but my 'london' friends all are still parting and i miss living in hackney with them all...sometimes.
    however we have something more precious now, and if that means a bit less booze and a few early nights i think it's worth it.
    so good though that you can see them all though from time to time and with theo. xoxo

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    1. thank you! it was quite dark in there, so some are a bit fuzzy, but was so sweet to see Theo having a good old explore!

      yeh it's hard to realise that everyone is changing and that we don't get to see each other that much anymore, i remember summers where we saw each other everyday and went to festivals and on holiday, but that is long gone now! But i'm so glad I still have these friends, and what I love about it is that however much we all change, we are all still friends and there for each other, i feel like thats quite a rarity these days, so i feel pretty lucky! and yeh I don't mind the not drinking and staying up late part so much, especially as they were all feeling lousy the next day! and they are so great with Theo, and accept him as part of our group and life now which is great!

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