We’ve got a favourite hotel in London. It’s in Wembley. There’s a really nice feel to the area and to the hotel. And, as a family of football fans, we never tire of the sight of Wembley Stadium.
So, when my husband heard he’d got a place in Ride London, he booked us a room at our favourite hotel.
But Ride London started at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. In East London. And Wembley is in West London. And London is a really flipping big city. Oh, and Ride London started really flipping early.
I’ll be honest, I was worried. Stuff like that stresses me out. It just seemed a lot of additional hassle on top of what was already going to be a tiring day for my husband.
He had to be at the start between 5.50am and 6.20am for a 7.10 start. There’s a good tube service from Wembley, but it didn’t start early enough. So he had to drive. But there was no parking in Stratford. Some of the recommended parking was eight miles away! So that’s an additional 16 miles of cycling, on top of the 100 miles he was already riding. Luckily he managed to find a car park that was ‘only’ four miles away, in the City of London.
But, whichever way you looked at it, he would need to get up at 4am.
My husband is one of those people who can sleep any time, anywhere. He doesn’t understand me. I usually wake up between 4 and 5, thinking about pointless things and can’t get back to sleep. But even the heaviest sleepers will struggle to get to sleep if they know they’ve got to get up at 4am.
I’d been looking forward to my night in our favourite hotel. In hotels there’s no dishwasher to empty and no washing to put away. All you’ve got to think about is whether you will have a shower in the morning or the evening or both. Hotels are relaxing.
But not this time. The hotel had become a logistical nightmare.
My husband decided he would have to take the suitcase in the car when he set off in the morning, so we needed to put all our dirty clothes away and get all of our clean clothes out ready the night before. And we couldn’t wear pyjamas, because that would be extra stuff to carry in our rucksacks to walk around London the next day. My poor daughter really didn’t understand that at all and ended up sleeping in the dress she was planning to wear the next day.
To give him the best chance of falling asleep, my husband sent my son, daughter and I to the hotel swimming pool just before 9pm. We stayed until it closed.
When we got back to the room, it was all dark, apart from two tiny lights, the TV was on and my husband was lying in bed. He was asleep! Result! I got to work putting the dirty washing away as instructed.
‘Who’s wearing flip flops?’
He knew the answer to that. I’m the only one who wears flip flops. Apparently they were noisy. I took my flip flops off.
My daughter was stressed. She couldn’t see to read and I couldn’t read to her because my voice would disturb my husband. She couldn’t sleep with the TV on, but my husband needed it drown out all the ‘noise’ of us moving silently around the room in the dark. I couldn’t help her.
My son was cross because he didn’t want to go to bed. He was hungry. And I, forgetting temporarily I was the owner of a teenage boy, had sent the majority of the snacks back to the car so we wouldn’t have too much to carry the next day.
‘Can’t we just go to the bar/ Sainsburys/ McDonalds?’
He ate his crisps for the next day, followed by my ’emergency’ biscuits, which I’d allocated for when I inevitably woke up three hours before the kids and had to wait for breakfast. He had to eat in the bathroom, because the sound was disturbing my husband. It’s not so many years ago that we used to hide out in hotel bathrooms while the kids went to sleep, now my teenage son was hiding out in there until his dad went to sleep.
Every few minutes my daughter moaned about the TV and pointed out that she still wasn’t asleep.
It was 11.30 before I heard my husband snore. Soon after, my daughter finally went silent.
And at 4am, my husband’s alarm went off, ready for Ride London.
I told him if he ever does it again, we will stay in a hotel much closer.
‘I thought it was fine!’
Really?! Getting up at 4am and the whole family unable to speak or get to sleep was ‘fine’?!
If anyone is wondering why I only mention two kids in this post, it’s because my younger son was and still is on Scout camp.