This morning I got up bright and early, woke our eldest daughter with a bacon sandwich, and then set off for the railway station with her to spend the day wandering around London together. We had no particular reason to go – no plan as such – just a day out exploring, and following our noses.
We left on an early train, and arrived in London a little under an hour later. Instead of diving straight into the Underground for the city as we normally might, we left Paddington for the bustling streets outside, and picked our way through to the corner of Hyde Park, which seemed to be swarming with groups of runners.
A few minutes later – after wandering around the fountains in the corner of the park, we started along the side of the Serpentine, in search of the statue of Peter Pan, commissioned by J M Barrie. It’s one of my favorite sculptures – there’s just something about it.
Over the course of the next hour we made our way across Hyde Park – stopping for a coffee near the Princess Diana memorial, and then finally exiting at the huge statue of Achilles at Hyde Park Corner. I have to admit I had never noticed the statue before – and yet it’s been there since 1822 – and is absolutely gigantic. I think that says something about my powers of observation.
Throughout the day we wandered all over the place – along Piccadilly, through Leicester Square, then Shaftesbury Avenue and “Forbidden Planet” – the biggest comic book shop in the country – and finally to South Kensington and the Victoria and Albert Museum, before heading home. We might have visited M&M World at Leicester Square – I shared mine with the younger children when we got home.
I was a little annoyed that the Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A was private (ticketed – costing quite a bit each – we couldn’t afford it) – but we didn’t really set out to visit it, so didn’t get too disappointed. I told Miss 19 a little bit about the impact Mary Quant had on fashion, but shut up pretty quickly. I’m becoming ever more aware of when I’m “Dadsplaining”…
It was a long and tiring day, but it was good.
Oh – I nearly lost my bag at lunchtime after leaving it on the back of a chair in a cafe, but luckily the staff found it and kept it behind the counter. Their smiles at my relief when I described it to them, and they lifted it into view was really quite wonderful.
I think I’ve earned a lie-in tomorrow morning.
p.s. there are lots of photos taken throughout the day at Instagram [https://instagram.com/jonbeckett].