Big Smoke & Bad Bellies


Name that Tune: ‘and after all this won’t you give me a smile?’ – London Calling, The Clash

Movie Quote of the Day: “Do you feel like you wanna throw up?” – Parenthood

In school last week I told the class that I was going to our country’s capital at the weekend, where the Queen and the Prime Minister live and asked if any of them knew where that might be? I got a general shaking of heads but one little girl put up her hand eagerly and said “Miss, I know, I know, it’s down Leeds Old Road”


“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.” Except of course it isn’t… didn’t stop the childerbeast singing it rather a lot over the last few days while we have been visiting the Big Smoke for the first time in their little lives and first time in about 7 years for me! The last time I was there was for wedding dress trying on at Virgin Bride (meringues ahoy!) and an altercation with the dressing room door bitch in the House of Fraser bridal department! Good times – LOL.

Train journey down to south was OK despite our reserved seats not actually being together – so we abandoned the seats marked for us & commandeered a table seat until Newark when the people for those seats actually got on. We then relocated to a regular seat which although reserved aswell, was back to back with a pair of empty seats, later on a couple got on who were meant to be in the seats we were in so I offered to relocate again. The man said I was ok to stay where I was and that he and the Mrs would just sit in the empty seats behind ours. The Mrs however had other ideas and kicked off a good ‘un! In the end the man persuaded her to just sit down in the empty seats but she wittered about it almost all the way into London. Seat Nazis….don’t you just love ‘em?

Childerbeasts’ first impressions on exiting Kings X station were dual looks of disappointment and cries of “Is this it?” I pointed out Post Office Tower in the distance somewhat over enthusiastically and was asked “is that where the Queen lives?”. After taking an age to queue up to top up my Oyster card we finally got on the Tube to R’s rather loud exclamation of; “Pooey it stinks on here”. She wasn’t wrong! I had forgotten just how minging it can be on the Underground. Black bogies and grubby fingernails ahoy. They were both OK with it but A wasn’t keen on the actual underground part of being on the underground, preferring the overground bits. Not having had much to look at on the way to Richmond I pointed out Martine McCutcheon shopping but they weren’t interested. I thought she looked lovely, but there you go.

We got to M’s by about 3pm and dumped our stuff then went for a walk in Bushey Park to see the stags before we had some tea. Got the CB’s nicely bathed and put to bed in preparation for seeing the Queen the next day, after advising them that we were actually highly unlikely to see HM in the flesh as it were, but we could take a gander at Buck House. As it goes they were more impressed with seeing Big Ben but I think that’s because you just come out of Westminster tube and Ta Da there it is – a ruddy great big clock! and with impeccable timing we arrived at noon just in time to here it chime 12. Next came a bit of a long winded way to Buck House in the peeing rain, Primani Uggs getting soggier by the minute and promises of fresh dry sock purchases to be made as soon as we got anywhere near a hosiery store.

As we arrived at “Bucket and Palace” (as A called it) we saw a group of guards talking seriously outside a sentry box so we told the childerbeast that one of them was getting told off for smoking on the job. A has repeated this story to everyone we have met since Sunday. She has also repeated the tales we told her about Her Maj not getting dressed on a Sunday because she stays in her PJ’s reading the News of the World and eating Doritos all day and watching the Hollyoaks & ‘Stenders omnibus with Phil. She is also convinced that the animatronic T-Rex at the Natural History Museum is the last living dinosaur and only stays behind his enclosure because it’s electrified to stop him getting out and eating people. She made lots of people smile when she marched round the corner of the screen to see what all the roaring was about and saw the pretty lifelike T-Rex and retreated pretty pronto white as a sheet into a corner before leaping into my arms and clinging on for grim death. Awwwwww sweet. R of course was a bit more Bear Grylls about it and was quite happy to pose for photos with it.

The next day was at least dry after we had got completely drenched all day on the Sunday and we headed to Harrods, by bus all the way this time so the childerbeast could at least see a bit more i.e. Royal Albert Hall (they weren’t that impressed) & Kensington Palace (slightly more impressed). Being upstairs on a double decker red bus was on the whole pretty much all they needed to be honest. So we arrived at Harrods (they let anyone in these days) and spent what felt like hours in there, admiring jewels we could not afford and would not have an occasion to wear, ditto clothes. Pets we could not afford nor would wish to purchase from a shop (you should always try and see the babies with their mother!) £1,000 for a Bengal tiger kitten, £50 for a rat! Pampered pooch fashions which beggared belief – some people clearly do have more money than sense. Tempting as it was to get a sailor suit for Harry Dog, at £65 it wasn’t going to be THAT funny to see Pops walking him down the lane in it. £25 for a Harrods doorman outfit complete with hat for the cat! She would freeze me out forever and a day if I tried to dress her up so not worth the humour value to be honest. Can I just say….nail polish for dogs!!!??? Whoever buys this stuff and uses it on their pets should be put in the stocks & publicly humiliated with rotten fruit & veg. After a mortifyingly expensive lunch of burger & fries and two drinks to share between 4 of us at Planet Harrods (my shrill retort of; “£3 for a carton of ribena!!!!!” will resound around the streets of London for a rather long time), we let the childerbeast loose in the Toy Kingdom assuring them that while they could knock themselves out with the touching feeling and playing with, we would not be purchasing anything to take home. I’m not cruel, I just know the value of money and the fact that everything can be got from alternative sources at cheaper prices. The quality of the receipts alone in Harrods must surely amount to at least half a rainforest. It was easy to see though how someone with unlimited financial resources could go completely bananas in the children’s wear department so until my numbers come up I shall be sticking to Matalan!

In the wee small hours of Tuesday morning little A got into bed with me and promptly barfed onto my shoulder and into my hair and all over herself! Nice. After cleaning her up (and myself) I spent the rest of the night half awake hands on a bowl and sitting bolt upright bowl in hand at the slightest movement from either child in case of further vomitation. Pleasant times. More of the same in the morning when she tried to have a bit of a drink and just brought it all back up again so it was Nil by Mouth and emergency plastic bags & change of clothes for the train journey back Oop north. Fortunately no further chunderama episodes but I felt pretty grim through belly aches and lack of sleep all the way home. Still not too hot in the bowel and belly department but I’ll gloss over that and just hope that it clears for tomorrow when we have guests for our Hallow’een soiree.

All in all a great trip South and it was lovely to see people and thankyou to those who made the effort to come and meet up with us on our short but sweet London adventure.. Big Love Xx


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