Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Town and Country

Half term seemed to come and go in a flash last week. I was working for most of it, and had conveniently found the boys a sports camp to go to (thank goodness these seem to exist in the UK too), but I did have Monday and Friday off, so I decided to treat the boys to some London culture.

We visited the National Portrait Gallery, which was a somewhat mixed success. The half term drawing workshops I'd noticed on their website were fully booked (something I should probably have anticipated) and by the time we'd taken a bus and two tubes to get there, the boys were already hungry.  Nevertheless I marched them around the Tudor Gallery. Littleboy 2 has a big Henry VIII obsession, so he was interested to see the six wives as well as various portraits of Henry himself.

Littleboy 1 was more interested in Queen Victoria so we had a look at her, and found various other monarchs including a very bizarre portrait of Charles II as a six month old baby. But other than the Royals, the boys took little interest in the line up of the great and the good that the NPG offers.

We did like this picture of Michael Caine, and Littleboy 1 was very intrigued to hear that he voices Finn McMissile in Cars 2.

After that their hunger could not be staved off, so we went off in search of a burger and found one at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Now, the boys are really missing our new York favourite, Smashburger, and gbk offers a similar experience (order at the counter, sit down and wait for your food, kind of half way between a McDonald's and a proper burger restaurant). And the food was pretty good. But I have to say that Smashburger is half the price. Why does London have to be so expensive I wonder? And then, on the way home, we decided to go into St Paul's Cathedral, but stopped when I realised it would cost about 50 quid for the three of us to look round. What's that all about?

Our second treat of the week was The Lego Movie. I'd booked tickets in advance, knowing it would be hugely popular at half term, and the boys were super-excited. And we did enjoy it. But I have to say, after all the hype, it wasn't quite as fabulous as I was expecting. Making everything out of Lego was, of course, enormously creative, but the script felt it had gone through a lot of rewrites and some of the jokes felt like they'd been done before (in movies like Wreck-it Ralph and Toy Story). But things do perk up when Will Ferrell appears and it all gets a big meta. We hummed "Everything is Awesome" all the way home. What did anyone else think?

The week was rounded off by a trip to see some friends in the deepest Kent countryside. Despite the fact that the UK countryside is now one big marshland, we managed a beautiful walk, seeing spring lambs gambolling and crocuses and daffodils blooming. So I think we got the best of both Town and Country during half term, and maybe the boys are starting to understand what living in England is all about.


Was Living Down Under said...

I am intrigued that you have daffodils blooming. We're still in a deep freeze up here :)

March break holidays are coming up for us - I love that your children get a whole week off at half term and then more time in April. I really really wish they'd adopt something similar around these parts.

MsCaroline said...

That picture in the woods is absolutely lovely. Things are still grey and cold here - so nice to see a glimpse of spring, even if it's virtual!

Melissa said...

Sounds like far more interesting half term than ours which seemed to involve many playdates and hour and hours of watching minecraft videos on youtube. My son went to see the lego movie with his friends (on their own - gasp!) as a birthday treat. We were in the restaurant next door so they weren't entirely on their own but they seemed to like the film. I was very pleased to have missed it!

Iota said...

I think you pretty much summed up life in England in one half-term! Good for you.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Oh, Bluebells! I never managed to go on a bluebell walk. Anywhere you'd recommend?

Tanya said...

Ha I like that LB 2 has a Henry VIII obsession!

Maybe when it's a bit nicer you can do Borough a Market and then a South Bank picnic with the boys.

We love the escaping to the Kent countryside. In fact if I didn't live here I know I'd really miss that.

Need to catch u with you on your new home location....neighbour?!

About Last Weekend said...

Just having a good old catch up - yes London is just so so expensive isn't it. And actually its pretty pricey here in East Bay, but London takes the cake - or the burger rather....

About Last Weekend said...

Did not know that about Cars 2, these actors must do a good old sideline in animation I would say. We went to Pixar (which is just down the road) the other month and funnily enough these actors have to get in the booth by themselves and voice it. They must only get the real pros to do it.