I know it’s a little while ago now – or so it seems – but still trying to play catch-up with everything that’s been going on means that only now have I had a chance to write about the long weekend.
Weekend in Kent
For my 40th Birthday Val and Tony – Shelli’s mum and dad – bought me a family photo session at a place in Gillingham for the Saturday of the long weekend, so it made sense for us [Shelli, her girls, my girls and me] to stay at Val’s for the weekend.
So, after work on Friday Shelli and her girls turned up at my place to pick me up and make our way down to Kent round the ever wonderful(?) M25. That road can be a strange old beast but even though it was the Friday before a long Bank holiday weekend both Shelli and I hoped that it would be kind to us.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case – it was the worst drive down we’ve had in a very long time, taking over 3 hours to complete the 80 mile journey! Thankfully the girls had their DVDs to watch which kept them quiet and amused for the most part…phew! Shortly after arriving Alice and Elisa were dropped off and the weekend fun and games [chaos more like!] began.
Having arrived late we didn’t ship the girls off to bed too early, deciding to let them watch a DVD upstairs before lights out. This turned out to be a great idea as all the girls went down really well after calming down to the film – brilliant!
Saturday we got ourselves ready and headed out for the photo shoot. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially with the girls. I was certain at least one of them would decide that they didn’t want to play ball with the photos but I’m pleased to report that everyone had a great time. The photographer kept the girls interested and certainly made it a lot of fun for everyone.
By the time the session had ended and we were looking through the photos it was evident that the girls’ had just about had enough of the whole thing and so I chose the photos I wanted in the proof album, Val chose the photos she wanted to order, and we headed back for some lunch.
The weather being really rather poor – summer? Seriously?! – Shelli and I took the girls to Fun Drum indoor play area to let them run around and burn off some steam. After that it was back home for some dinner, and an earlier night for the girls after the late night the night before. That said, having seen how the DVD trick worked the night before we did the same again, and much to our surprise it again calmed them all down and another smooth bedtime was had 🙂
The original plan for Sunday was to head to Winghams Wildlife Park for the day but the weather had other ideas. It really wasn’t nice enough to drag the girls out, and let’s face it, if we had it would have only ended up with four very miserable girls to deal with.
Instead, we headed over to Splashes in the morning. We’d taken the girls there before but having managed to gain a little more confidence in the water since our last visit, my girls had a lot more fun, even enjoying the wave machine and the water slide.
After a spot of lunch back at Val’s we headed off to Kid Zone to let the girls have a mad couple of hours running around again.
All too soon it was time to think about getting the girls fed and dropped back at their mum’s. It was a great weekend with them though and it was clear everyone had had a lot of fun.
Girls dropped off we made our way back to Reading. Unlike the drive down we had a good run back, which was a relief I can tell you.
Thanks Val and Tony for putting us up for the weekend and for my Birthday present. It really was a wonderful thing and I thoroughly look forward to getting the proper photos. For now though I’ve posted some low-quality proofs of the photos in the photos section on here so go and have a look if you want to see the fruit of the photographer’s efforts.
Bank Holidays at Home
Girls gone – Shelli’s back with their dad – Monday and Tuesday were our days.
Originally Monday was planned to be spent tackling another section of the Thames Path, but much like the rest of the weekend the weather forecast was for bad weather, and having rained for days beforehand I didn’t expect the path to be in a very good state. A little disappointing but what can you do?
Instead, Shelli and I decided to take a trip into London with our cameras to have a look round and snap some photos. We had a loose plan but really didn’t care too much what happened as long as we had lots of fun together.
The day started with a trip out to Tavistock Place – via Holborn tube station – to see if a piece of graffiti I’d seen online was actually there or not. As it goes it wasn’t so it was either photoshopped or it’d been cleaned off already. Either way it didn’t matter as it was an area of London we’d not walked around so not a problem.
A quick stop for a sandwich [for me] and we were off again, taking in the British Museum for an hour or so as it was just round the corner from Tavistock Place and I’d never been there before. I’d seen lots of pictures of the courtyard at the centre of the museum with it’s glass roof so I really wanted to see it in person.
As you can imagine, only spending an hour or so in the museum meant we didn’t get to see a great deal but we walked around and snapped away with our cameras getting some good shots of the Chinese and Egyptian exhibitions. Definitely somewhere to go back to another time to see some of the other exhibits.
From there we strolled down to the river and over Waterloo bridge, taking in the South Bank Skate Park and one of our usual graffiti spots, the Graffiti Tunnel.
By this time the day was getting on a bit so we had some dinner at the Slug and Lettuce by the London Eye, phoned the girls, and then figured out the walk back to Paddington for the train home.
Our planned route was to walk over Westminster bridge, through St. James Park, up through Green Park, and finally across Hyde Park to get to the station.
As we came round the corner at Horse Guards Road we were both ever so slightly confused by the number of police officers and people there were there. Now, even though we’d spent some time over the weekend watching some of the jubilee events on the TV we completely forgot that it was still all going on – doh!
St. James Park was closed, the Mall was beginning to fill up ready for the jubilee concert, we couldn’t get to Green Park, and we had to walk round Hyde Park due to the screens, fair rides, stages etc. set up for everyone coming in for the jubilee celebrations.
We had to laugh at this point as it was pretty bloody silly that we’d forgotten that all this was going on. Still, by the time we eventually got back home we’d managed to walk just under 20Km, a little less than we’d planned along the Thames Path 🙂
Tuesday was a very lazy day. Shelli crashed out for most of the morning and then shot home to sort her place out before her mum and dad arrived.
I sorted some bits out around the house and then went over the Shelli’s place for an evening of cuddles, beer, chatting and TV.
All in all a fantastic weekend!
Photos from the stroll around London are also in the photos section so go and have a look if you feel so inclined. There are some great shots around Westminster bridge, even if I do say so myself.