Adventure Business

London Town

12:49Meg Cowan

After dropping Emma off at Gatwick where she was leaving to holiday in Croatia and Rome with friends we drove closer to the heart of London.


It was possibly the worst time to be without a nanny given that we now had books full of tradeshow leads to follow up but we had five to six days to fill in London for the sake of our Schengen visa time limits before we went back to Spain and her tickets had already been booked. Rounding a corner near to our next apartment we saw caution tape authoratively stuck across a doorway and questioned our online booking skills. Still, where we were staying was the street behind the crime scene and as it was late in the afternoon we decided to check it out and arrange new accomodation the next day if we felt the area was too dicey. I forgot however that I had to drop the rental car up the road and given that I hadn't set myself up with an oyster card yet for the buses and it was getting on towards dinner time, I walked the 20 minutes down Old Kent Road back to our London house. Turns out it really wasn't too bad a little neighbourhood and we spent the next week there happily in close proximity to the bus routes and Tescos.

While Mr Evans caught up on some more urgent tasks I took the kids for the day to Horniman Museum and Gardens.
We travelled via the big red double deckers which was an adventure in itself and traipsed about the beautiful property, stopping to admire llamas in the petting zoo, where you couldn't actually pet anything. It was lovely to go at the kids pace and I put the piles of work out of my mind, until the evening time that is, and we explored various parts of London over the week.
One evening we planned to go to the nearby pub for dinner but after finding it served only drinks we set about walking to the next nearest one our google maps had located. It was already a good time past dinner and we had two rather irritable children who needed food stat. As we walked there weren't even really any other suitable places to stop for food and our 15 minute walked turned into two hours as we got lost, phones went flat and we tried to locate the pub. Lets just call that bit of the trip 'team building'. After a bit of a chat about why we just had to keep going.. ok, about 10 stops to explain why we needed to just keep walking because there were no cabs to be found, we were so proud of how the kids arrived. It wasn't smooth sailing but they really pushed through and we all agreed that food had never tasted so good and we certainly appreciated the cab ride home!.

In the days that followed we ventured out for walks to the park and experimented with tree climbing after loosing a ball or two.
Our little tree sprite spent hours nimbly lifting herself over boughs and playing lookout while her brother ran below. 

Our little introvert E opted for a day of crafting at home while Mr Evans worked, so G and I took the opportunity to go to the British Science Museum ourselves. There was the Red Arrows flight simulator, a large steam engine in operation, a hands on experimental space for kids and a bubble show with awe inspiring bubbles. We had our share of travel fun with a broken underground line and trouble locating our bus but as G and I discussed, that's just what it's like in London.
Convinced that crafting for a day and reading really was her idea of bliss, there was another day when E decided to leave us to our adventures and this time G and I went to Camden Markets to meet my darling friend, a kiwi visiting London. 
A good long girly chat was exactly what her and I both needed and I came home with my soul feeling full. Since I'd spent most of that market trip chatting and keeping G entertained, and because markets are one of Mr Evan's favourite things to do, we took the whole family back a day later. It was our last day in London so we screamed out the door, leaving the house looking like a bomb had gone off in it, thinking we'd sort it all that night before our friends arrived for dinner and we then packed to leave the next morning.

We had a fun day filled with exploring and market food. 
We ended with the girls and boys splitting up. The girls started by perusing the aladdins cave that is the Horse Tunnel Markets. 
G took Mr Evans back to the musem because he wanted dad to ride the Red Arrows with him while the girls did a spot more shopping, joined a tea party, got lost, watched a breakdancing show and took a number of buses to get home.
Our phones were both flat, and so both parties were aiming for an approximate home time of 4.30pm, which would give us enough time for one of us to feed and put the kids to bed while the other collected groceries from tescos, then prepared the meal for our friends who were passing through London and planned to stop in for the evening.

That all turned on it's head when I arrived home to find a note on the particularly messy table from the landlord who had let himself in after not being able to raise me on email or cell phone. "Meg, I think we've got the dates wrong. Someone else is booked for here tonight and they arrive at 5.30. I'll be back soon to clear your things out". Say what!! As I digested the note, his keys rattled in the door and I turned shell shocked to face him. It was an strange but understandable mistake with neither party really to blame but the unchanging fact was that there were people pulling up in half an hour who expected beds for the night and we were the ones who had to move on.

What followed was a whirlwind of shoving clothing in suitcases. I cleared one room while he cleaned and prepared it for the next guests. Poor E worked to gather her craft from all corners of the lounge and did her best to help me collect our belongings. All this while not knowing where Mr Evans was and outside it was starting to drip with dreary grey london rain. Fortunately he arrived in the nick of time. I shoved suitcases at him and the we retired to the stairwell where I searched frantically online for a new place to stay. Cue sad faces and then thank you Lastminute.com!.
We ended up with an hour long cab ride at dinner time, to a hotel back out near the airport which made things easier for the next morning. Meanwhile I messaged my old friend who had just flown in to the other side of London and was about to head to our previous address to visit us. Fortunately her last stop for the night was near our new location anyway and we ended up having a nightcap at the hotel bar to top off the whirlwind of a day.
The next day we were glad of our proximity to the airport with a relatively early departure and Mr Evans and I smiled at each other as we took off for Madrid, thinking how crazy it was that here we were, on our 12th wedding anniversary, still alive, still married, and heading to live in Spain for two and a half months. Awake and dreaming again.

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