From city to village in 2 days

Friday heralded the arrival in London of my lovely friend Jo who, as she’s based in Newcastle, we sadly don’t get to see very often.  So with just 24 hours of her, I wanted to pack in plenty of catching up time!

We met at the wonderful Museum of London – somewhere I’ve intended going for years, but never quite made it (partly because I’ve never managed to find the way in given it’s unusual location in the middle of a roundabout!).  Matt thought he’d heard that it had an excellent toddler area, so we were excited about letting Alex and Sophie run wild – but on arrival it seemed he’d got that wrong (that’s at the Museum of London Docklands branch).  I panicked a little that it would be impossible for the little ones – but I needn’t have worried.  Within minutes of arriving, Alex was engrossed in an excellent children’s story and singing session and Sophie was toddling along the glass balcony spying on the visitors below and trying to pull baubles of their massive Christmas tree!

We all explored a couple of galleries before stopping for a leisurely picnic lunch where the children loved spinning on the swivel chairs and climbing on anything they could reach.  We then spent ages wandering the excellent exhibitions, all of which were fascinating for our entire group.  Sophie was hilarious trying to comprehend the floor displays highlighting Roman archeological finds – these were displayed in lit glass cabinets embedded in the floor. She kept trying to descend into them backwards as if she was on stairs going down and didn’t seem to understand why she was just sliding along glass.

Alex particularly loved the Victorian Walk of old shops and of course the transport display showing all London modes of travel – with working underground trains and trams you could push along yourself.  It took some persuading to get him to leave!

MuseumofLondonJo, Matt and I all found interesting displays – from the 19th century Booth poverty map of London to the spectacular Lord Mayor’s cermonial carriage.  It really was an excellent museum – and one we’ll be visiting again.

After so much excitement, we headed home for a quieter afternoon of train track building (Jo and Matt seemed to be competing to build the most complex route for Alex), book reading and general gossiping!  Alex does love his Auntie Jo!

JoOn Saturday, after a quiet morning at home and brief wander around Herne Hill, we packed up the car and headed out of town to my parents’ village in Northamptonshire – Blakesley.

We arrived in time for a lovely Christmas supper with my brother and sister-in-law who we hadn’t seen yet – cue even more present exchanges!  My children are totally spoiled!  Alex in particular loved the balloon animals set that Matt got (!) – and Matt can now proudly fashion a balloon dog 🙂

After an early night, we were delighted to wake to a beautiful, clear, frosty morning in the village – the view from our room was so peaceful.  Heaven.

Alex enjoyed helping his Grandpa feed the many birds that visit the garden:

birdsand Sophie had a great time at the village park where she even got to meet some horses!  She was quite scary on the climbing frame, speeding down the slide headfirst before any of us could reach her (and totally loving the experience!)

SophieBIt’s a great village – and the children love visiting.  But this was a flying visit, and we were soon heading South back to London again, taking a scenic route through the city so Alex could drive over Tower Bridge.

It was nice to stop moving and snuggle up at home for the evening – but we’re not stopping for long.  Next stop, Southend-on-Sea for lunch…

Merry Christmas!

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