We caught the 7.38am train. By 7.39am the class were eating sweets and delving into their packed lunches! It's an unwritten rule! They were loud,excited and giggly! They needed the loo by 7.40am!
The next two and a half hours zoomed by punctuated with the obligatory
"How far is it now?" Type questions. Eventually it was 10.12am
Us FF ( I deemed us the Fab Four for this blog post - the adults ) ramped up the teachery voices as our charges were instructed to make sure they had everything, put on their hi-vis jackets and stand in their groups!
We then set off up the four mile slog up Euston platform. Even though the 28 bladders on legs had been using the train toilet continuously for the past 2 hours we decsended en masse for a FREE wee on the station. It was compulsory. Even those who protested were sent to try.
We didn't know when we'd be near any facilities.
We then set off to find the Youth Hostel. I knew we'd be on the deathscalators in a matter of seconds. I was brave and just Got. On. With. It. The FF were chorusing HOLD ON, ONE BEHIND THE OTHER,WATCH WHAT YOU ARE DOING and STAND ON THE RIGHT constantly.
We got the Jubillee Line to Canada Water where we got off and set off in the wrong direction! Eventually we found the canal and followed it to our destination. What a lovely place Rotherhithe is. Us FF were discussing house prices! The 28 just carried on chattering! Half an hour later ( which should have taken half of that )
we arrived safely at the hostel but they weren't ready for us yet. So we locked all our bags in a secure locker. Took our lunches and set straight back off into London because we were due on the London Eye. We discovered via the Hostel staff that a simple five minute walk straight down the road was the overland station which we could catch to get back to the tube!
Within five minutes we were on the train and one stop one minute later we were back underground on our way.
The FF did get a bit stressy and screechy, each of us making sure our 7 fluorescent bodied beings got on and off! But we made it to Jubillee Gardens and ate our lunch in glorious sunshine.
Once we got off ( me all wobbly legged ) we did
The. Souvenir. Shop. Gulp.
Once safely gathered in we walked along the river, over Westminster Bridge and then down to the bit where we waited for the boat tour.
The boat guy was illegally handsome and his commentary a tad near the knuckle at time considering we had Other People's Children in our charge...
He was telling us about the carved stone lions in the walls of the Thames. That they were actually early Flood Warnings.
If the water was up to their open mouths there was a saying
"If the lions are drinking, London is sinking"
However if the water rose higher
"If the lions are ducked, then London is F
Hmmmm. Thankfully the chattering 28 were living up to their name and didn't hear!
He also told us, and this blew my
Mind, that the London Eye was only supposed to be there for three years, but it's so valuable to the Treasury that it's still here 15 years later ... It takes
Two Hundred And Fifty Thousand Pounds A Day . I'll just let that sink in.
250k a day!!! Bloody hell!
So the boat took us to The Tower Of London. We didn't have time to go in so we wandered around outside the walls and we got the 28 an icecream. A few of them needed the loo.
I had to barter with the loo gods here.
It was 50p a go!!
The most I could get was three for a wee for 50p. The attendants were very consciensous toilet nazis and I had to do pleading big style especially with the woman. Ridiculous.
By now it was rush hour, we had to get back to the hostel for tea. We were cutting it fine as it was. We walked up to the Monument Tube Station and it was a squeeze as we got on and I think we went to Waterloo. Or was it London Bridge? I can't remember now! But it was here where it all went a bit
'Shit what should we do?'
We were trying to get on the Jubillee line back to Canada Water. Trouble was, there'd been issues and trains hadn't arrived and were late and as a result the platforms were just getting fuller and fuller. We were trying to get near the doors, but the masses were just pressing forwards with their own agendas of getting home. When the trains started arriving only three people could even barely squish on at a time. And they were literally crammed in. There was a strange joyful sounding Caribbean lady lilting positive thoughts to us over the tannoy about how they were getting us all
Moving and thanking us for our patience etc.
No one paid her any heed.
London, your workers, going home at night are really the most pig ignorant people I've ever had the misfortune to come across. If that was oop North, people would have made way for us and helped the clearly stressed FF out with the children. I know it.
Anyway, we moved the children back into a slightly less manic area and made the descision to get the bus.
This actually was a blessing in disguise. Things happen for a reason and the tube situation had happened so we could get to chat to an uber helpful lovely inspector who told us our day travel cards were valid on all buses and told us which number bus and which bus stop to go to! The lead FF had rung the hostel and explained our predicament. They were fine, they'd sort tea when we got there.
The bus eventually arrived at the stop and due to the tube situation there were hoards of passengers on it too. The driver sensed the FF were ON THE EDGE and let us on. The bus got 28x more noisy! The passengers were looking alarmed and uncomfortable as our 28 proceeded to ignore the London Rules of PublicTransport, they not only made ( gasp ) eye contact, they spoke to them!!! It kept me smirking. We were stood up and the traffic was horrendous. We were on that hot sweaty bus for an hour ( ok it was mainly me who was hot and sweaty! ) As the London lot got off, our lot got seated. Some of the passengers were lovely including one man who was getting off at our stop and would tell us when that was!!
When we finally piled of the bus into the cool dark night and waved to our bus companions ( who were probably cheering and doing internal Mexican waves ) we went straight ( the bus stop was right outside the hostel - RIGHT OUTSIDE FOLKS my
Legs and feet have never been so happy ) into the hostel straight for tea.
The food was delicious and plenty of it. It was now 7.30 - almost 12 hours since we'd set off!!
We were supposed to go to Greenwich Village after tea but the executive decision was no we were staying put! The 28 wanted to see their rooms and frankly so did we! That wouldn't be for a few hours yet!!!
We all collected our things and up we went. We'd carefully divided the 28 and the hostel was set out with a nice little landing between the lobbies. Girls were on one side, boys the other. There was only one male FF so he was in charge of the noisy boys! But it took all of us FFF ( female Fab Four ) to deal with the girls! A billion times worse at settling than the boys!!
The kids were just so giddy. For a few it was their first night away from home so there were a few tears. Then they ramped up the giddy to maximum. The FF were getting fractious! I think it was about 1.30am when the last die hard giddyers gave in and slept!
All too soon it was Thursday!
I'm exhausted re writing it! I'll do Thursday next post!!
Lots of love from
Rachel *wouldnt change my job for the world* Radiostar xxx