One of the delightful aspects of homeschooling is that we can hit the road whenever we feel like, taking advantage of those quiet periods whilst everyone else is at school. Including one’s own husband! So we don’t actually take advantage of that advantage very often at all. However, over flew our Canadian relatives to Edinburgh last month and I decided to head up by train with the three kids for a long weekend to see them. Not to mention the various other friends who managed to avoid going south after we graduated from St Andrews. And I love Scotland, so I am always pleased to get a chance to visit the dear Motherland!
The idea of travelling with the three kids was slightly unnerving, and the reality proved to be quite long and arduous, especially as we had a 90 minute journey to Kings Cross (arriving on the platform 7 minutes before our train left was cutting it slightly fine, even for me!) then another hour by bus on arrival in Edinburgh. However, Mum kindly accompanied us and her company and iPad provided great entertainment.
A few highlights of the trip – the beautiful city of Edinburgh was in disarray as they install a tramline, closing the beautiful Princes Street to traffic and leaving us dazed and confused about how to get anywhere. Hang on, that’s pretty normal for me… Anyway, when we discovered the shocking fact that KIDS PAY on their buses, and that if you don’t have the exact change the meanies will keep the rest, it became surprisingly attractive to take a taxi. LissaLou has long dreamed of such luxury and we all appreciated it! In the meantime, you might want to delay visiting for another two years or else definitely take lots of change and a map!
We visited the Museum of Scotland with my uncle and aunt, it has free entry except for certain displays. It is a beautiful building, with a huge atrium and apparently fantastic views from the roof, so my sister and uncle assure me. We really enjoyed the stuffed animal section, and the children particularly enjoyed the computer bits as usual. The highlight was a weighing scale which let you walk on and work out how heavy an animal you were. This could be the way to go, as surely saying “I weigh a panda” is nicer than giving the actual figure?! Our aim was to get to the Blue Whale and it took us four, my sister, my aunt, and finally my uncle to get us up there! I would have loved to see the section on Scotland but that will wait for another trip.
Seeing the hills and the sea as we travelled between Edinburgh and our accommodation was so pleasant, and the fact that we had sunshine whilst it was raining on our unfortunate southern relations made it all the more enjoyable! Have a look at Mum’s blog for some beautiful hill photos.
The kids were very taken with the Scottish “funny money”, and I had never realised how many different versions of the same note there were. I learnt that every bank produces their own note – amazing! I always try and spend it (not hard!)before returning as some shopkeepers can be iffy about accepting it (yes it is legal tender in England!).
And how lovely to be met back at Kings Cross by my kind Dad, before being picked up by Bertie. Having spent five hours in the train with those children my patience was definitely wearing thin! No iPad on the return meant they had to return to pen and paper (I even gave them some schoolwork to do!) which wasn’t such a popular move!
All in all a really great trip, full of lovely moments and stimulating conversation, making the effort to get there and back very worthwhile.