A Surprise Visit

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Unknown to Bertie, his littlest sister (there are 13 of them!) decided to come and see us from France whilst she had a few days off work.  It was a nice surprise for him when I instructed him to drive over to the station before work that morning!  We don’t get Bertie’s family over here very often so it was a lovely treat and school was put on hold.  Though in true holistic homeschooling style, learning wasn’t, as I was delighted to hear all the children do their best to speak to Tatie in french!

Following her request to visit some sights, we set off on a pretty exhausting tour of London: Buckingham Palace, St James’ Park, Green Park, Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Burger King (eugh…), M&M World (double eugh!), Trafalgar Square, TopShop…We saw it all!  The children liked climbing on the lions and playing around the fountains at Trafalgar Square best. For all those non-Londoners, there is also an electronic clock on the Square counting down to the Olympics, which you can see in the photo of the National Gallery.

The following day Bertie was off school, so we left the delights of London and headed for the sea – Southend, in fact, where (in sharp contrast to the previous day) it was cold and windy.  Nevertheless, we much enjoyed our huge portion of fish and chips in the warmth of a café by the sea.  After walking along the sea front and collecting more stones and shells than even JoJo’s roomy pockets can fit, we decided to go over to Leigh on Sea. This was a wise move, as it was much warmer and prettier, the sand less stony, and the views much more interesting – boats mainly, and I love looking at boats bobbing up and down on the water!  The streets are narrow and quaint, and if we had had time (not to mention space, after the aforementioned giant fish) we would have stopped for afternoon tea in a very pleasant tea shop there.  Standing on the beach whilst the girls built a sandcastle complete with moat and JoJo made sand-angels was perfectly sufficient for our needs!  Oh, and if you need an extra incentive to visit, both Leigh and Southend have snazzy new individual cubicle toilets for your convenience! Free, much to Bertie’s sister’s surprise.  Free toilets are not a concept that the French appear to have grasped…

The visit finished with an evening of two of our favourite games, Quirkle and Rat-a-tat-Cat.  I would recommend them both highly, from six years or so seems to be a good age, and adults love them.  Too much so, it would appear: Bertie’s sister nearly missed her coach back after begging several times for just one more game!


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