Last full day in England and we had a lot of stuff to pack into it. We had to clean up the flat and pack our suitcases so we were ready to be out the next morning no later than 7:00am to get to Gatwick. After tidying up for about 45 minutes (with Declan bouncing off the walls) we got ourselves together and went out for our last day of exploring in London.
I decided that we should pay a visit to Buckingham Palace as we had not been there as of yet.
The flat was only a 10 minute walk from the Royal Mews so we legged it over. Declan was amazed at how big everything was and loved being able to climb up no the Victoria Memorial Fountain. That was until a police officer told me that he should get down as it wasn’t safe. I thought that funny considering some of the other activities I watched people doing but in the end he has a job to so whatever.
The Queen was in residence so Declan waved at the castle in case she saw him which I thought was incredibly cute. We tossed some of my loose change into the fountain to lighten my pockets since I hate bringing coins back from abroad and headed off through St. James Park.
The whole area was under construction since we were only 3 weeks away from the Royal Wedding so there were paths that could be taken and paths that were forbidden. It also seemed that there were a large amount of school groups in the area and I have to say that I am amazed at how inconsiderate some of those punks can be. They walk 5 abreast on a path and expect you to walk around them. I wasn’t having any of it and shouldered through two separate groups almost dropping one kid when he realized that I wasn’t moving.
Declan was so busy running through the grass he never noticed thank goodness. I tried to keep him off the grass because they can be really testy about that sort of thing but in the end it was no use. He was in his element and loving it.
We eventually made our way to Charing Cross Station and boarded a train for Sidcup to have one last visit with my Grandmother before having dinner with my Uncle and his family. I was looking forward to both as I hadn’t seen my Uncle Tim since my Grandfather passed and I have always enjoyed speaking with him and his lovely wife Carol.
Upon arrival at my Grandmother’s we were ushered in and had a wonderful visit. We were able to Skype Andrea’s parents so that she was able to actually see Rhys while he was awake and smiling which I think she really appreciated. Declan was content to sit on the floor and watch a movie on the laptop between having little chats with Grandma and eating as many of her oranges as he possibly could. I don’t think that afternoon could have gone any better.
When Tim and Carol arrived to take us over to the restaurant Declan immediately took to them. Walking over to the restaurant was funny because they were more concerned about him than I was. I know what his limits are and how adventurous he can be but I also know that he is sensible and cautious.
We had a wonderful meal with Tim, Carol and her daughter Leanne and her family. Declan enjoyed meeting more cousins and was sat with their two daughters who fought over who was going to play with him. It was funny to watch to say the least. We had a wonderful meal with good conversation and were able to catch up as best as possible which was really nice. By the time all was said and done we got back to the flat around 8:30pm that night and had a relatively early night.
I am not going to go too far into the flight home as it was a bit of a nightmare and in all honesty it would take too long. Needless to say, we were delayed for over 5 hours and had boarded, disembarked, re-boarded and then sat in an airplane with no power over that whole time. The only saving grace about that whole experience was that Declan was amazing. He took it all in stride and never real got upset about the whole thing. If I had been travelling on my own I probably would have lost my mind but for him it was just another part of the whole adventure. How could I get upset with that? So didn’t.
It’s been just shy of two months since we had our big trip. I have called it my first real opportunity to be alone with my son, my first father-son trip and an exceptional opportunity for my oldest son to meet his Great-Grandmother as well as others in his family. I feel as though I was able to provide him with some sense that he is part of a family that is bigger than what he has here which was my goal. I was able to show him that although family may be far away in miles they can be close to heart. I think that he understands that in his own way since he still speaks of his cousins and the fun that he had playing with them. He asks me occasionally if I remember that day he played in the park with his cousins, or if I remember when we went to Great-Grandma Carroll’s flat. I don’t think that I can ask for anything more of this trip than that.