Here I am again, late with my posting from the previous weekend. Sorry people.
As usual the girls were dropped off to me late on Friday by their mum. They don’t get on the road until 6:30pm “to avoid the traffic” but it still takes the best part of two hours to get to my place, i.e. half an hour longer than a clear run, leaving them with the long drive back even later.
Okay, that’s not my concern but seriously, getting on the road straight after school would mean getting to me around 5pm and they’d be back considerably earlier. Their choice I suppose but what it does mean is my weekend with the girls is cut short, especially as I have to get them back for 5pm on Sunday. In total I probably lose a good seven hours with the girls and for some reason it really got to me at the weekend. What can you do?
So, now that that’s out of the way, what did I get up to with the girls over the weekend I hear you ask? Well, maybe not…anyone there?
Saturday morning we got up at the usual time, had breakfast and headed out the door, destination: Oxford. It’d been a long time since the girls went to Oxford so I thought it would make a nice change. I think Elisa was still quite small and in the buggy the last time we went.
We walked to the station and had a great train journey, having lots of fun along the way. It was a great way to start the day and much better than sitting in the car, me concentrating on the road. And, it was pretty cheap too. With my Network Rail card it only cost less than £12 for the three of us to get to/from Oxford; much cheaper than it would have been to drive and park that’s for sure.
The plan for the day was to visit the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers museum. They’re essentially the same thing really as the natural history museum is in the first room with the other museum in the other room.
Planning ahead I’d already printed out an activity for the girls to do while we were there. In the Pitt Rivers museum they have wooden mice hidden in the display cases and I’d printed out the clues the girls had to follow to find them all. It was a great way to get them looking at what was in the cases and making their way round all of the displays.
I’m pleased to say that they absolutely loved it, sometimes rushing ahead too quickly, missing mice as they rushed around. It was great fun though and I’d recommend doing it if you’ve got little ones and are in Oxford.
Another bit the girls really liked was in the natural history part. Instead of the usual displays with big “Do Not Touch” signs on them, they had a number of different stuffed animals with “Please Do Touch” signs on them. The girls loved going round and stroking the animals, feeling the difference in fur, feathers, scales etc. We spent quite a lot of time going round all of those making sure they’d felt all of the different animals.
The museums aren’t that big – certainly not on the London museum scale – and we were done in around two hours, with two little girls hankering after some lunch. We made our way towards the main high street and managed to get a table in Pret for a light bite to eat.
Instead of getting the usual chocolate cake or what ever in Pret I’d promised the girls we’d go to the covered marked and get a cookie each from Ben’s Cookies, the original store opened back in 1983.
I let the girls choose which cookie they wanted and it was no surprise when both of them shouted [excitedly] that they wanted a triple chocolate chunk cookie, which is definitely my favourite too so we all had one. I think I made everyone smile when I paid for them and then ran off with the bag of cookies saying “they’ll all mine…they’re all mine” with two little girls on my heels shouting “noooooo!” – hilarious.
We stood outside the market on a quiet side street and I think you’ll agree by looking at the photos that it’s pretty clear that the girls liked their cookies.
Cookies eaten Alice asked if we could buy some chocolate (see what I mean?) from “the chocolate shop”. I wondered what she was talking about for a second but then I remembered I’d [somewhat foolishly] pointed out the Hotel Chocolat shop on the way to the covered market, so off we went to see what they had in.
You should have seen the girls’ eyes when we walked in, it was certainly a picture. I don’t think they could believe what they were seeing, all of that chocolate, in one place. Very funny.
After getting past the vast amount of chocolate on display the girls chose one of their small chocolate slabs for us and then asked if they could by Shelli some chocolates too – unexpected but nice to hear – and chose some mint chocolate sweets for her. I guess you’ll have to ask Shelli if she enjoyed their choice or not?
With time getting on we made our way along the high street back to the station. I say that but we didn’t get very far before coming across a street entertainer setting up to do some juggling with fire. The girls wanted to see what he was going to do so we stood there and watched his act, which was quite good and he certainly knew how to get the crowd involved that’s for sure.
Once he’d finished his act the girls took over some money to give to him and we headed for the station for the train home. It was a great day out finished off with fish and chips for dinner, yummy!
Sunday morning we got up early and took ourselves off through the fog to the swimming pool. Alice is getting so much better with her armbands, completing 10 lengths I think it was this time. Elisa on the other hand still isn’t up to the idea of swapping the ring for her armbands. Shame, but at the end of the day she has a lot of fun in the water which is more important at the moment. She’ll get there.
The rest of the day was spent at home having breakfast, cooking/eating a roast and spending as much time together as we could – except when Alice was playing on the netbook and Elisa was watching a Barbie DVD – before the drive round the M25, which always comes round far too soon on a Sunday when I have to drive – see above.
At least a couple of times this year Alice has been quite upset about going back to Kent but Elisa’s never shown anything like that, that is until I asked her to put her shoes on for the drive back. She almost started crying and said she didn’t want to go back which was unexpected and quite upsetting, not that I showed it of course. I gave her a big cuddle and a kiss, which seemed to help and off we went.
She was perfectly fine when we got to to her mum’s but I suspect that may have been down to the mini rave we had in the car when theur DVD wouldn’t play properly. Lots of fun and I’m sure the other drivers must have thought we were all bonkers…but we didn’t care!
Photos from the day out in Oxford have been uploaded so check them out if you feel like it.
I’ll be seeing Alice next week for a little bit as she goes into hospital to have the cyst/milk blister removed from her mouth. It’s only a short 20 minute operation but she’ll be put to sleep for it so I’ll be hanging around until I know she’s okay. Really feel for her though as I had my first operation around her age and it was a pretty scary thing. Fingers crossed she’ll be okay and won’t get too scared by it all.