Day Three of the England trip finds me once again at the Internet Salon in Bexley. In my dreams, Jason is quietly tucking two tired children into bed back at the B&B, but I have to say that the reality is probably much less idyllic, and louder.
England is still in the grip of a record-breaking heat wave. The temperature today was up to 33C, and I heard the hairdressing guy tell a customer just now that they estimated it was in the 50s on the buses. It certainly was close to that on the subway. The British do not DO air-conditioning. They do it so little that even I, coming from St. John’s Newfoundland which is hardly the A/C capital of the known world, am noticing the lack. I think half our trip budget will be gone on bottled water alone.
Yesterday was the long-awaited (by Christopher especially) trip to Legoland UK. You will get some grasp of the amount of time we are spending on public transit when I tell you that we spent a total of 7 hours on the trains/subways in order to enjoy 5 hours at Legoland. The kids are still proving to be intrepid travellers and haven’t complained about the amount of travel time, although I’m sure the novelty of riding on a train will have long worn off before we get home. Yesterday morning Emma was in the bathroom on the train when it left the station. She looked worried for a second, then her face lit up. “Oh Mommy, I’ve never been in a moving bathroom before!!”
That is typical of her approach to the rigours of travel — even the most boring or inconvenient things are a new adventure. Christopher, as is his style, is a little more blase, but doesn’t complain either.
They both had a great time at Legoland. We packed as much as we could into our five hours there. We rode some splashy water rides, which helped with the heat; the kids went to “Lego Driving School” and drove life-sized Lego cars around a track; we ate lunch at the castle in Knight’s Kingdom. We even went on a roller coaster — yes, I mean even me. After a bad experience many years ago on the Mindbender at West Edmonton Mall I swore off rollercoasters for life (no, there was no accident or injury: the bad experience was that I went on the Mindbender) but Emma wanted to try this one and we really need one adult with each child, so I screwed my courage to the sticking-place and went on. It was actually quite a tame roller-coaster, although I am only going by feel because I had my eyes closed the whole time. Emma, predictably, thought it was “cool!”
My favourite thing at Legoland was the miniature Lego cities, including a complete replica of Central London. The kids got to see all the sights we passed the day before on the double-decker bus tour, but much closer up with more time to look at them — in fact, I highly recommend Lego London as being better than the real thing! The guards are always changing in front of Buckingham Palace and you always have a good view. The accompanying picture gives a good sense of how clean, orderly, and easy to view Lego London is. What’s not to like about Lego?
Today, bearing in mind the heat in the forecast, we abandoned our previous plan to do the London Zoo and opted for the Science Museum instead, since it would be indoors. It was a good choice — the downstairs was even cool, possibly air-conditioned! There was lots to see and do there including a 3D IMAX movie (the one thing Emma didn’t think was “cool” … she kept the 3D glasses off after the shark came out of the screen towards her! Christopher loved it, of course). Posing for a photo op in the 1961 Austin-Healey Sprite was another fun moment and I’ve included the pic of Emma and me there with hopes that my dad, former owner of a Sprite in the long ago, will appreciate it!
Now we are back at Bexley, which is a pretty little English village — I mean it’s an English village in the same sense St. Phillips is a Newfoundland outport — it’s basically a suburb of London, but way out on the fringes of the metropolis and it does have a bit of a “small town” feel. I’ve included here a picture of me and the kids up on the climbing structure at the Bexley playground, with the spire of the local church towering above us. Tomorrow we have tickets to the musical of The Lion King so that will be our big event — we are finding that one main event/activity a day is definitely enough with the children!