Tuesday 19 October 2010

12 trains and counting

I'm in London, staying in East Sheen as a guest of Ali and Gordon. Sean and Finn are on their October week's holiday from school and having a great time with Megan and Freya, which essentially involves a lot of silliness. The boys always seem to have good fun with girls and, similarly deprived of siblings of the opposite sex, the Barnes girls seem to revel in having boys to play off against.

We took the train down yesterday morning, the 0930 from Waverley which arrived at Kings Cross at 1410. It was a quick, smooth journey with the laptop an invaluable aid in keeping the boys entertained. The children had a good play in the local park to shake off the cobwebs of so much travelling (four trains yesterday).

Today we raised the tally with another eight trains! It's Sean and Finn's first experience of the London Underground and they've quickly grown used to the noise and hustle and bustle that seemed so alien to me when I first experienced it over 25 years ago. We went to the Science Museum this morning for a brief look round and some lunch. Museums can be rather ennervating so I don't want to overdo them, but the boys were happy enough with the various interactive exhibits that we looked at.

From there it was a trip across the city and a switch to the Docklands Light Railway to rattle past the multi-storey behemoths of Canary Wharf on our way out to Greenwich. Unfortunately the Cutty Sark is in the midst of repairs just now but we strolled past the impressive stretch of the Maritime Museum and climbed up the path through the park to the Royal Observatory. The boys were quite taken with the Meridian and the notion of standing astride the zero degree line or being in the western or eastern hemisphere. After that we went to a show, "We are Astronomers", in the newish Peter Harrison Planetarium. This was very impressive, like being close-up to an IMAX screen, with great depth to the images. Sean and Finn were a bit wary at first as it got so dark but enjoyed it nonetheless. And we all stayed awake!

We wandered back down to the station and then made our way back via Bank and Waterloo, just avoiding the worst of the rush hour. The boys have been very good so far at staying close by me and have probably enjoyed riding the massive escalators in the Tube most of all!

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