We spent two weeks in London and were so busy I didn’t have a moment to blog about anything. On the bright side that means I will be less detailed now and that means you won’t have to spend so long reading about what we did. To make it even easier for you I will split London into two blogs, one for each week.

Anyway, we arrived Wednesday evening and were welcomed by passport control in a special area reserved for special people whose visa’s had just been suspended while passport control investigated them. On the outside I acted calm and told Karen not to worry, we would get in fine … on the inside I was freaking out. Eventually we were given the all clear and we quickly moved on into the airport to fetch our bags before they changed their minds. We caught a train from the airport into Balham Station which was easy except a brief moment where we thought we were at the right station to switch trains so disembarked and then had to jump back on the same train when we realised it was the wrong station. Near our stop I phoned Charles and Maralyn who had kindly agreed to put up with us for the two weeks while we were in London. I was relieved to finally meet them outside the Balham Station; they welcomed us and made us feel as though we had arrived home. We ate like the royal family:

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And the kids even had a boat in the backyard to play with or was this a torpedo?:

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After such a frantic time in Rome we were pretty worn out and Karen and the kids had a cold and needed a bit of rest, so the first few days we did nothing, just sleep, eat, and enjoyed being in a comfortable home. I think Charles and Maralyn must have thought we were the strangest guests to visit London because we never left the house! It really was a relaxing time, the kids playing games and doing their stuff online while Karen and I caught up some of our jobs (and I watched the Mentalist and NCSI a few times). I should add that on the Friday I had to pay a trip to the dentist to get a broken tooth repaired … NZD$400 later I walked out the door and back “home” to a wonderful Lasagne meal, my favourite, which I tried to eat but not particularly successfully as the side of my face was asleep so I kept chewing on my lip …

Saturday was our first day outdoors. Everything started each day by walking to Balham Station:

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We caught a train to visit our friends from New Zealand, Dave and Jacqui, and together we went to Nonesuch Park (King Henry VIII began to build Nonesuch Palace in 1538). It was great to see Dave and Jacqui and their daughter Olivia and we enjoyed hunting for a Geocaching stash. Sunday morning we joined Charles and Maralyn at their church which made me a bit home sick. It was nice to take part of a church service that was in English and similar to the way our church services are in New Zealand.

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Monday was the start of our real London sightseeing (and the day I increased our transportation budget). I expected just to spend the morning at the Science Museum but six hours later we still hadn’t seen everything! Part of the “problem” was we started by going to the hands-on stuff that the kids could interact with in the Launchpad area. It was fantastic and we could barely pull them away from it to see the “real” (as in more static displays) museum stuff. Take a look online at http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/galleries/launchpad.aspxfor some examples of what kids can get up to. Here is Amy learning about building arches.

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And all of us learning about heat sensors:

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Daniel in the rocket demo:
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More hands on stuff and later Daniel blowing up something:

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It was fabulous watching Daniel and Amy talking with helpers and scientists. The museum did have normal static displays as well like:
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It was a full-on day and then after catching a train home we had to drop by the grocery store, then walk for 15 minutes, so we were tired when we finally reached our doorstep.

It became a bit of a habit, in the morning on the way to the train we would pop into Sainsbury to buy muffins, scones, juice for lunch and then on the way home after sightseeing we would again pop into Sainsbury to food for our evening meal or milk for breakfast etc … sometimes however we would spend so long out sightseeing the even Sainsbury’s was shut! We did Rome well and I thought that was busy but London was even busier. Daniel says, “Rome got us ready for London”. So Tuesday we had a walkabout day around the Westminster area visiting Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abby, and Trafalgar Square and Oxford Cirrus.

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It was great to be walking around in the middle of the city. We also enjoyed using the underground train and a few bus rides which is a great way to see things.

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And Daniel and Amy got into a little trouble (they take after their mother):

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Other photos from our walk about:

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And the closet we got to 10 Downing Street:

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O, I nearly forgot. Karen and I even went out on a date without the kids (thanks to Charles and Maralyn):

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(Week 13B-14A: Wednesday, 16 May 2012 – Wednesday, 23 May 2012)