London Calling…

If you were to look up the definition of insane in the dictionary, you wouldn’t find the following, but it really should be there. Insane is going to Hamleys in Regent Street followed by the Rainforest Cafe on the last full shopping day before Christmas with three (well, two-and-a-half) kids in tow. I know this because I’ve done it. I think I should get a medal. There should be a new category in the Nobel prizes – For Surviving Doing Something Really Really Insane. Or maybe For Services to Language (Redefining Insane Category).

Actually, I’m going to let you down now and tell you that it wasn’t all that bad, in the end. After giving Miss 3 a short but informative lesson about the relationship between doing what she’s told and continued breathing, buying Miss 13 a new coat because she’d left her coat at her dad’s (translation: she couldn’t find it at home and couldn’t be bothered looking for it) we boarded the train for London.

There were a great many people on the train who felt their luggage was more in need of a seat than me and my mum, but we managed to convince a few people that their luggage would be just fine on the floor or on the overhead shelf. The journey was uneventful and we took a taxi to Hamleys.

Master 7 (had a birthday on Sunday) clearly has been to Hamleys too often because he recognised the street, but that’s okay, all part of the excitement. We reached the store and although the street was heaving and there were heaps of people in the store, we could actually move around without stepping on toes. Of course, the true test of crowdedness lies in the toilet queue. We only had to wait 5 minutes or so for a cubicle to become free so on the toilet scale of crowdedness it was about a 5, really. We bought one toy for each child (if you don’t count the sticker book we had to buy for Miss 3 because she’d taken them out when we weren’t looking) – a loony lunar fire rescue remote controlled car for Master 7, a cash register for Miss 3 and Cluedo for Miss 13 – then walked back down to Shaftesbury Avenue to The Rainforest Cafe.

It really is the perfect place to take kids. The food is lovely, expectedly overpriced but with a really fun atmosphere. The waiting staff are clearly there for the mums, because they’re predominantly 20-30 something males with really cute bums and lovely shoulders…. And they sang happy birthday to Miss 3 (soon to be 4) and Master 7 (recently 6).

After lunch we piled into a taxi to Waterloo, had a brief but vocal discussion about which train to catch (yes, the train on platform 9 has just been announced, but the one on platform 10 is the one that’s leaving now so for God’s sake GET ON THE TRAIN!!!) and piled on. Miss 3 conveniently announced she needed a wee just as we squeezed past the toilet, so as the train lurched off she and me fell into the loo… well, not literally. After the toilet break we decided we didn’t really fancy standing in front of the toilet so went off in search of seats. Again, there were many precious peices of luggage but we finally got one seat (for 5 of us) next to a lovely young lady with a cat who really wasn’t travelling all that well and had pooed his cage. The cat, I hasten to clarify, not the lady. And the seat was, conveniently, next to the toilet.

It will take me a week to get the smell of cat faeces out of my nostrils.

I dropped the kids off at their dad’s on the way back from the station and went home with my mum.

Silence really is a wonderful thing.

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