My husband works very long hours, my kids play a lot of sport and my daughter does a lot of dance lessons. We don’t have free time, even at weekends. My husband takes his computer on holiday and always does some work. We never go on days out.
The only time we ever get to relax is Christmas.
On 22nd December, my husband suggested the boys and I go to Birmingham while my daughter was at the panto. It turns out there was an ulterior motive (work, of course), but we were happy to get away for a few hours. So we caught the train and had lunch at Leon in Birmingham Central. We had a wander round the Christmas market and the Bullring. Coffee shops were allowed, but popping into H&M for a pair of trousers for my younger son definitely wasn’t.
It was lovely to spend time with them all. With my daughter being the youngest and the only girl, I tend to spend slightly more time with her. My eldest is a much more pleasant person to be around when my daughter wasn’t there and it was a generally very relaxed afternoon.
We’ve got a tradition of spending the day together on Boxing Day, after spending the whole of Christmas Day with my family, not to mention part of Christmas Eve and part of the 27th. We’d toyed with the idea of going to Stonehenge. We’d intended to visit earlier in the year, but my heart wasn’t really in it for Boxing Day. It was a long journey and would definitely be cold!
So we went to Bristol. We go to Bristol quite a bit. We’re just happy wandering through the city and by the water. The kids went in a few shops, but only for things they were interested in (definitely no trousers from H&M!). It was another pleasant afternoon out. It was just nice to get away from the house in the sunshine.
After the success of two trips out, my husband was keen that we do yet another one on 28th, when my daughter wasn’t in panto. I suggested a nice walk up the Malverns, but he was on a roll with his trips to cities and had even bigger ideas – London!
I’ll be honest, my daughter wasn’t keen when she heard about the early start or that we were travelling by train. She doesn’t seem to get travel sick in cars any more, but she often feels ill on trains. But we’d already booked the tickets by then.
True to form, my daughter felt ill on the train, but perked up soon afterwards. We all love looking at the massive landmark London buildings, so caught the tube to the City to see the Gherkin, the Cheese Grater and the Walkie Talkie and the Shard, of course. They really do take your breath away! It was a cold day, sunny, but misty. The buildings were disappearing in the fog, then appearing again, making for some beautiful photos.
We walked across Tower Bridge, which was busy, but not unpleasant. We visited the Monument to the Great Fire of London, which I’d never seen before. It might seem crazy to travel that far on a train and get up that early just to walk around and look at things, but that’s what we like doing. There’s no need to go in expensive tourist attractions.
After seeing it on TV the other day, my younger son was keen to visit the Lego shop, so we got the tube to Leicester Square. It was VERY busy and the queue was enormous. There was no way we were going in there. And I remembered why we like to wander round the City and look at buildings. Leicester Square, Regents Street and Oxford Street were just heaving. There was nothing pleasant or relaxing about them. My daughter was ready to get on the train and head back home, but our booked train wasn’t until much later.
But it had been a pleasant trip and I was glad we’d managed yet another day out. We won’t get another one for months.