With two pre school children on my hands one on one time is a rarity. I do my best doubling up on my love, guidance and shouting but nothing beats a bit of one on one.
Last week Rose’s Grandparents (Gabba and Grand-ma-ma) very kindly offered to have her for a few days. It was a great opportunity for Theo and I to have some boy time. Get a few beers in, football, pizza. Well perhaps not, I’ve got a hunch that Theo won’t be into such pursuits. He’s already regularly seen wearing pink socks and glittery tops!
So instead of being an Alpha-male father and son tag team it was decided to hit central London, ending the day at the Aquarium.
We jumped onto the river boat service from Canary Wharf to Embankment. Theo was fascinated by the large group of Japanese tourists who jumped on at Tower Bridge, took a million photos then jumped off at the next stop.
Theo finally got a full day of my full attention which felt brilliant and the guilt I often get when I have to also look after Rose was gone. throughout the day he happily chatted away gibberish and I answered in a similar manner.
We stopped off at my favourite little dumpling place in Chinatown for a quick, spicy energy boost. An ancient lady who reminds me of ET sits in the window all day rolling her delicious dumplings at manic speed. The place is a bit wonky around the edges but does lovely home cooked food and as we all know pre packaged / fast food is now akin to playing Russian roulette! We then got a black bean and sesame roll from the Chinese bakery to keep us going. The streets were still packed with Chinese New Years decorations, lanterns and dragons stared at us from high above, the latter threatening to blow fire on us at any moment.
Theo’s face told me that his senses were going into overdrive the colourful sights and sounds overloading his small mind. We walked the back streets towards the BT tower and stopped off near Fitzroy Square for a coffee and Theo’s first introduction to the rather yum Portuguese custard tart.
Wondering back down through Soho I reminisced about hedonistic nights spent as a student and newcomer to this wonderful city. I felt happy to have these memories but even happier to now be in an older place.
As we walked across the bridge (I think Hungerford) Big Ben struck 4 o’clock. I thought Theo would be really impressed, but he was more interested in the guy selling dodgy hotdogs. Sorry Theo that’s a definite no-no!
Outside the London eye street performers put gold into the normally lifeless paving stones. Gold statues,singers and dancers performed for the tourist herds. One performer dressed like a comedy satan, was suspended in the air with a walking stick in one hand but nothing else. It looked like he was sitting on a bar stool. But there was no stool there. How did he float in the air, I really didn’t know but It was certainly worth the pound that I flipped into his hat.
For myself and Vicki it was £40 entarance fee into the Aquarium. Of course I had a wee moan as I often do when it comes to money issues. At least Theo was free. I felt sorry for a family in the queue who had about 4 kids. I think we’ll cross it off our list of possible birthday party venues.
Once inside Theo was in heaven, the look on his face was worth the £40 alone . All the usual fishy suspects were there, as well as the headliners, Sharks and large game fish such as Kingfish and Barracuda. The penguins didn’t look very happy. They looked like a shamed gang standing outside the headmasters office with their hands in their pockets. I also didn’t like seeing the majestic turtles slowly swimming in their tank. They reminded me of the elephants that you see in the Zoo. Sad looking.
In the aquarium there’s a large open top tank that holds many fish, in particular large rays that seem to be quite tame, they swim along and put their heads right out of the water begging to be touched. I suddenly noticed that literally every fish in the tank (and there was many) had come over to were we stood. Wow I’ve got quite a way with fish I thought. But no, it was not my skills as Doctor Doolittle, but rather Theo had dropped his pastry in the tank causing a fish, feeding frenzy. We slowly shuffled away looking down at the floor whilst whistling.
All in all a lovely day.