It has all been a bit frenetic recently, although I'm really not complaining, because it's been fun too.
Two weekends ago we had a family celebration in London – it was lovely, very garden-party-ish with fizz on the lawns and small children running around under-foot and lots and lots of my extended family to chat to. And little bitey insects in the grass, so I ended up with lots of bites up my legs, because I'd worn the floaty summer dress appropriate to the weather and the garden party atmosphere… However, I digress. Because we don't get to go down to London very often, we decided to make a whole weekend of it.
The party was on Saturday evening, so we flew down really early on Saturday morning and trained into the middle of London. We let Mouse decide what he wanted to do, and he decided that we should visit the Tate Modern, so we walked there from Victoria (and saw the fly-past for the Queen's official birthday en route). We had time to do one of the exhibitions there before heading out to Wimbledon to our hotel, by underground and bus. Mouse was thoroughly enjoying all the modes of transport – we only have cars and the occasional bus here!
On Sunday we headed for the Science Museum (much fun with the future energy exhibit and giant LED wheels you could write on) and then the Natural History Museum, which is handily next door and has the most amazing fossil and dinosaur exhibitions. We met some of the extended family there as well – although unfortunately they were just leaving as we were arriving. Luckily they didn't see me lying flat on my back trying to take photographs of the amazing ceiling! My little brother said that he had been there before when he was a child, but I had obviously missed that particular expedition, because I have definitely never been there – it's not a building you could easily forget.
We stayed there until the bitter end – just before closing – then we walked back to Victoria, caught the Gatwick express and flew home. We got in at half-past midnight, having packed as much as was humanly possible into the weekend.
And that was all fun.
The week after that – Handsome and I had a meeting on Monday after work, then Mouse had the first of his school musical Summer Celebration evenings. On Tuesday Mouse had the second Summer Celebration evening and Handsome and I went to see him play his sax, and everyone else perform (it was really good, they have an excellent Music Department). On Wednesday I threw about three hundred loads of washing through the washing machine and looked in despair at the state of the house, but collapsed into bed before I could do
anything about it. On Thursday evening Handsome and I had an evening dinner and very loud music 'do' – we left after the dinner, Handsome really doesn't cope well with too many decibels. On Friday we borrowed a trailer and spent the evening sorting out tents, rucsacs and camping stuff in general.
And then, last weekend we had our Bronze Duke of Edinburgh final expedition; twenty-one of the kids made it all the way through, which meant we had four groups walking in various configurations around St Mary's Loch and the Ettrick Valley (one of my favourite places). Handsome has to drive the BYM, so I get to do check-pointing and actual walking – quite frankly, I get the best of the deal.
We had some drama, it was an extremely hot day, and one of our little darlings (briefly) passed out after climbing a big hill. The rest of her group coped admirably until we could get a member of staff there, but she was basically all right, and chose to continue (closely trailed by aforementioned member of staff). Another group wandered slightly off-piste, but they realised they were wrong and managed to correct themselves. We got them all into camp at a reasonable time, and once they had discovered that we were correct, and they did not have mobile reception, they promptly turned into a whole bunch of little kids and ran around playing in the stream and the play-park (luckily it was quite sturdy). Then they built a bonfire on the stones by the stream and spent happy hours throwing bits of wood onto it, before the wind dropped and the midges came out and everyone (including us) holed up in the tents.
I have lots of photos of them being happy and unsophisticated, but I can't post photos of other people's kids on the internet!
I only had to go out and shake tents twice in the night; after that they all dropped off to sleep. We know that, because some of them snore worse than Handsome.
Sunday's drama consisted of an asthma attack (we knew the kid had asthma and hayfever, so it wasn't a total surprise) which meant I had to walk through the really muddy bit (which I had been avoiding by check-pointing the other side of it) twice. So not fair. He was okay as well, he just needed someone to tell him he was doing the right thing by taking his inhalers and stopping frequently. But they all finished successfully in the end, and they all managed to find time to get ice-cream (so did we) before we loaded up the trailer and the two BYMs and took them all home to their parents. And then, finally, we got to go home too…