Last week was a busy one as momentum picked up with the sale of our London pad. We were also celebrating Jenson's birthday and I had a few photo shoots to squeeze in too. Blog writing is down to one a week at the moment as the workload cranks up.
I spent most of Monday packing, before dropping Wren off at nursery and continuing the journey to London with Jenson. We arrived just in time to blow our air beds up before heading straight out to one of the many trendy eateries that have popped up since we left ten years ago. Our two story maisonette is in the fashionable area of Bellenden, Peckham. It felt strange to be back but nothing had changed!
Tuesday morning we caught the train into London Bridge. The Shard was spectacular - Jenson was left in awe.
We walked down to the Thames where we caught the river ferry to the London Eye. Jenson wasn't in the best mood, refusing to have his photo taken and moaning continually about how boring it all was.
Despite Jenson's grumpiness, I still managed to enjoy the stunning views. It was great to see some of London's iconic landmarks from such a splendid angle.
When we got off the boat we headed straight to the London Aquarium, though not before Jenson moaned at me for refusing to take him on the London Eye. I was a boring Mummy Bummy apparently.
Jenson's comments are always quite hurtful but what hurt me more was the entrance fee to get in! It cost £47 for the pair of us. I was intent on getting maximum value for money. It didn't start particularly well because once inside we got caught up with a massive school party of 30 kids. They were screaming and shouting and Jenson was getting agitated by the noise. It felt very claustrophobic in the pitch black, narrow corridor. We held back for a bit to give them time to get ahead.
Overall, I expected more for my money. The big tanks with the sharks in were pretty spectacular but the smaller tanks were a bit hit and miss. Once you've seen one fish you've kinda seen them all, especially if you're five years old. Jenson was whizzing through it all and I was anxious we'd be out before the hour!
Thankfully he did slow down but only because he spent a significant amount of time playing on a giant computer game! The aim was to design a jellyfish based on questions relating to its appearnace, prey, predators, changes in climate and sea temperature and so on.
I got bored by the giant screen pretty quickly so wandered around the surrounding tanks photographing the jellyfish.
It wasn't a brilliant experience overall. I felt Jenson couldn't wait to get out of there. When we did emerge we were both feeling pretty grumpy. It was only when Jenson spotted this busker performing that he seemed to calm down. He sat himself under a tree and listened. You could see him relax and whatever had been grating him was easing. He enjoyed it so much that at the end of her set he asked if he could pick up one of her cards. He also gave her his last coin - a 5p piece that he had been saving. It was a very sweet gesture.
We walked a little further along the river side and came across some bike stunt performers. Jenson was mesmerised. By now his mood had completely changed. He was an ice cream up and racing around with excitement.
He even had a ride on the carousel!
We had a lovely leisurely walk in the sunshine. Jenson was finally at ease, as was I. I should never have bothered with the London Aquarium. The quirky street furniture was a real hit!
The day really came good though when we stumbled across a beach! This lad can sniff out sand anywhere - even in the middle of London. It cemented in our minds that selling our place in London in order to buy a house by the sea is the right decision.
There was a sand sculptor there creating the most brilliant crocodile and it clearly had Jenson inspired as he busily set to work making his own. He even asked me to ask the chap to come over and have a look at his to see what he thought! Turns out the artist was called Chris and he even let Jenson take a photo of him!
We spent over two hours nestled in that little spot. Jenson collected stones, built sand sculptures and watched the boats and the world go by. We also grabbed a take away pizza and ate it on the beach together. It was very special. You could close your eyes and imagine yourself on any beach anywhere in the world, but when you opened them you were on a beach in London with St Paul's Cathedral in the background! Even reading that last sentence sounds surreal!
Jenson took this next picture - I do less cropping on his photos than I do my own! Perhaps it's his height, but he gets a good composition - very square.
As we continued our walk along the Thames to London Bridge Station there was plenty more fun to be had. Here Jenson is pretending to be a statue!
I couldn't walk along the Southbank without visiting Tate Modern. I was keen to see the new extension and sold it to Jenson on the basis that there was a massive ramp he'd be able to run up and down on!
It was with trepidation that I took Jenson into a few of the galleries. Jenson crossed the line, literally, with this wonderful giant projection, getting a little told off for touching the art work! The calm and quiet of the exhibition space was broken by the calamity that is Jenson. Although many people there saw the funny side, I felt it was time to leave. I don't think Tate Modern is quite ready for Jenson yet and I think the feeling is mutual!!
We took the escalators up and walked across the bridge and into the new extension. This objects and architecture exhibition was the only one Jenson could relate to on the basis that his Daddy is an architect.
I did wonder what Jenson made of it all as we walked around the space, all the while me telling him rather sharply not to touch anything. I always remember art as something that should be enjoyable and fun but I doubt Jenson would have chosen either of those words to describe his first experience of Tate Modern. Even I struggled to conceptualise some of the pieces on display but our most enjoyable piece by far was this one, made from spirit levels.
Our walk along the Southbank continued to surprise us. A busker playing the saxophone played the pink panther theme at Jenson, who had been staring wildly at him in the way that only children do! Inspired by this little musical act Jenson spent the rest of our walk pretending to play the flute!
There were so many interesting things to see just walking along the river front, The Globe Theatre in particular was gorgeous. Jenson had no appreciation for it whatsoever but was having fun nonetheless playing his flute!
There was just enough time to get another picture of the Shard before we jumped on our train back to Peckham.
That evening Jenson and I enjoyed another meal out together. He's super company. We chatted, he played LEGO, I read the paper. It was very relaxing and nice to feel a bit of buzz.
I loved the street art!
Wednesday was a little less exciting for us both. It involved me spending the whole day tidying and clearing the front and back gardens of overgrown plants and junk. It rained for most of the day too. Jenson came outside to help for a little while but soon returned to his LEGO! I take my hat off to him, he's very good at entertaining himself. After enjoying a nice lunch together, Jenson helped to carry all the rubbish through the house to the front. I finally finished loading the car at about 4pm, just in time to show an estate round before driving home that evening.
It was a whirlwind trip, We arrived back in Cheltenham late Wednesday evening and come Thursday morning it was a struggle to get out of bed, I must admit! There was no rest for the wicked though, with a photo shoot to do, a tip run and plenty to organise for Jenson's birthday party that afternoon.
Yesterday was Jenson's actual birthday and again, it was more of a distraction than celebration sadly. We all enjoyed a family trip to the hire van centre at 7.30am before dropping Simon off at work and heading round to the storage yard, where we have a crate of stuff. I trawled through it all and loaded various pieces of furniture into the van while the kids, (sort of) waited quietly. The builders merchants was next followed by Screwfix, Homebase and Dun Elm. The novelty of bombing around town in a massive van on his birthday soon wore off for Jenson!
I spent the afternoon packing pretty much the entirety of our whole house into boxes, ready for Simon to load into the van that evening before his departure to London this morning. Our London flat will be looking very well dressed by Sunday evening!
Jenson did eventually get to have some proper fun. We picked up his new bike and he gave it a quick whizz around the park before we went to meet Simon for some birthday bowling. It was super to hear him scream and shout with delight how awesome his bike was and how he loved being 6!
Looking back on the week, I think London came at a good time. It was like a little birthday trip away for him. From a home schooling perspective, certainly Thursday and Friday were very much about everything that is involved with buying and selling houses. Jenson has been fully involved in it all, if not directly, he has seen me racing around. It's good for him to see this. It will help him to understand that if you work hard you can go far and that the new house in Devon is worth the hard work. It may not be a birthday to remember, but in the long term, I hope we will be able to enjoy lots of happy birthday's on the beach in Devon. Happy Birthday Jenson x