Saturday 3 October 2015

Thursday in London

We had a huge day ahead. I'd got the HG to ring me at 6am so I didn't sleep in. There was actually no need to worry. I'd been awake most of the night anyway and was fully awake at 4.39am! It was raining. It'd been a glorious day on the Wednesday. So that was a down point. 

Our breakfast was booked for 8am, so after a coffee in my room, a shower and packing my bag ( with waterproof )for the day, I went downstairs at 7 to patrol the rooms. Some of the girls were up. The last of the giddyers was fast asleep still - go figure! They were woken and ordered to get ready quickly! The boys were more organised than the girls and were ready first. ( no comment ) 

It was a breakfast buffet bar. I opted for scrambled egg - divine, beans and toast. A bowl of grapefruit segments ( tinned - reminded me of my beloved nanna X ) and apple juice. 

The swarm of locusts opted for everything! Some having seconds! Croissants, cereal, toast, bacon and gallons of juice. It wasn't until Friday that they discovered the hot chocolate....

Then we had the challenge of divvying up
The sandwiches the hostel had provided for lunch. Once loaded up we set off. Each adult with their 7 cherubs counted. We crossed the road to the bus stop and waited for the 831 from Peckham. The 28 had been banned from sweets and the only drinks they were allowed on this day was water! Everyone seemed infinitely less giddy! 
It arrived and we comfortably took over the top deck. 
It was a seamless journey with plenty of opportunities to look at and discuss the architecture, size and style of the different buildings. 
One child declared 
"Ere, these Londoners don't half like their glass!"

Once we alighted we spent a lovely half hour taking photos, enjoying the atmosphere and going to the toilet. 
Those gallons of juice were making their presence felt. 

Off to Portcullis House. The 28 were split into two groups. They were wide eyed at the armed police and solemn with awe as we went through security. We were met by two fabulous guides and off we trooped through the busy coffee shop which was full of people ( MPS ) drinking brews and eating cake ( allegedly working ).  First stop, the loos! VAIR posh they were. 

My friend and I spotted a bloke we thought we knew. Not in the toilets, but in the cafe bit.  She said to me I'm sure I know him. I was looking, agreeing yeah me too. Who is it? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it turned out to be Tristram Hunt. ( MP ) 
I have NO idea which side he's on, what I do know is he is VAIR easy on the eye! Also seen ( but not by me ) was Jeremy Corbyn. 

The next two n a bit hours found us steeped in glorious history and splendour. The gold throne in the House of Lords was exquisite. I did the same tour myself, aged 10 and the only thing I really recall was not being allowed to sit on the seats. But this time, I was in awe of it all. The surprising thing being it looks so much smaller than it does on the telly. I also managed ( thanks to one of the 28 falling ill - nothing serious - but when offered a trip to the nurse - YES PLEASE ) to go where no one is really allowed to go!! So I got extra footage if you like!! We also saw the door you can go in to see Big Ben ( that's the bell itself, not the tower )
Anyone can request to go see Big Ben. It's free of charge! 
Also, whilst we were standing directly above where Guy Fawkes had stashed his barrels of gun powder, we were told of the tradition, that still goes on today, that on the eve of the 5th November, someone goes down to check the chamber, by the light of a candle! That's true!! Someone gets to go check for gunpowder...with a lighted candle!! 

After a fantastic classroom session on how we are able to vote these days and how laws are passed - King John will be turning in his grave - we emerged back into the Westminster sunshine and trotted off for a picnic lunch in St. James' Park. Sandwiches scoffed, crisps crunched it was time to embark on our epic walk to look at The Sights. 
Through Horse Guards Parade, via Whitehall to look at Downing Street then re tracing our steps, down Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace. It was here it rained just enough to get the waterproofs on ) The Queen was in, the Union Jack said so, but she declined to invite us in for tea and cake! We then tromped up Constitution Hill to the Marble Arch then along Picadilly to Green Park Tube station. 
It sounds NOTHING to write. But let me tell you, my legs and feet were HURTY!
Looking on google maps I reckoned it's two miles from Downing Street to Marble Arch and then a mile from Marble Arch to Green Park Tube station. The 28 never complained once. Not once. 

We had to get back in plenty of time for tea as we needed to get changed and back out again. We had tickets for Matilda! 

The tube was simple as Green Park is already on the line we needed. Our plan was, get back, get changed, have tea, get the bus back to Waterloo and then the tube to Leicester Square. We also had bought a birthday cake for one of the 28 who turned 11 on this day! 

It all got a bit frantic from now on as the first bus that turned up was only going two stops. 
He said the next one would be 3 minutes. 
That was the longest three minutes ever. Quite possibly because it was more like seventeen. We HAD to be at the theatre for 7.30pm 
We got there just after! 

But the theatre staff were amazingly patient with us and we got in our seats and were transfixed for the next few hours by the incredibly talented cast of Matilda. 

The songs were superb. Miss Trunchbull ( 'I'm SURE that's a man " one of the 28 said) was outstanding and the little girl who played Matilda, stole my heart. We bought the 28 a programme and an ice cream. I saw a mouse running around the seats! The 28 were transfixed. To see their reaction was pure joy. 

Afterwards we made sure the 28 were linked arm in arm in twos, we made our way back to the tube and wearily back to the hostel. It was about 11.30pm by the time we got back. I was on bedroom duty. The 28 were mostly cream crackered ( Cockney rhyming slang - when in London...) 
They were told five minutes and you will be in bed. We didn't have to rush as much the next day, they could shower then. 
After five minutes I went in and they were told the main light was going off and I'd give them five minutes with the night lights then it was sleep. The majority of them were already asleep! Just the die hard giddyer pushed all my buttons with the delay tactics they employed. I was having none of it! 
BED NOW I grimly pointed! They gave up and got in bed!! 

The FF then proceeded to have their FIRST CUP OF TEA AND A BREAK of the day at midnight and stayed up chatting til gone 1am!! That cup of tea tasted divine. I doubt I'll have a better one for a long time. If ever! 

Once in bed it didn't take me long at all to drop off. 

I'll be back next post to relay Friday's adventures! These blog posts are taking almost as long as the real thing! 

Lots of love from 
Rachel *still tired* Radiostar xx 


  1. I was so looking forward to the next installment, thank you. I'm living it with you as you describe it (sort of, anyway!)
    Here's to the next one!
    J x

  2. You must have done a fair few trips in your time Joy x

    1. I have, yes, but never residential. Not with littlies!
      Hope you're feeling OK now.
      J x


Many thanks for taking the time to read my words and respond with your own thoughts. I always try to reply so make sure you pop back to see!