Monday, 30 November 2009

(Rainy) Sunday at The Zoo.

The alternative name of this blog is "Why I will never listen to Ed the Exes directions ever again".

Yes, yesterday was the British Mummy Bloggers and  Supersavvyme meet up at London Zoo, and myself, Mini, Edward and Ed the ex all had tickets to attend.

On the day, I got up at 6am, looked out the window, and was nearly blinded by lightning. Outside it looked like the kind of weather where the weather man tells us not to go out unless its absolutely necessary.

I had got all the clothes out ready and ironed, had packed the bag for the outing, everything was done-which is unusual for me as I usually leave everything to the last second then run around like mad when I realise the clothes I thought we were going to wear are not, as I believed, washed and ready, but in the laundry basket.

So, I got dressed, made Ed a cup of coffee, and some toast for me, and waited for the kids to wake up. Edward was the first, and so he had bottle stuck in his mouth, and then Mini came down the stairs on her bottom and joined him.

The weather came on the BBC, and in an attempt for Ed not to find out how bad it was I managed to talk over the entire bulletin, especially during the bit about torrential downpours.

By 8.30, we were ready, and kids strapped in off we went to the train station.

Mini had a minor train related panic, but after being told it was a Ninky Nonk train, she stopped panicking and was fine.

By 9.50, we were in Paddington station, all ready for a 15 minute walk to Regents Park.

Now, at this point I shall digress to explain why I was under the impression it was a 15 minute walk.

Ed is from Camberwell. That's in London. I am often regaled with tales of a boyhood spent jumping on and off tubes and buses, and how he has a good knowledge of London. He had such a good knowledge of Regents Park, and London Zoo, that in fact he once legged it over the fence at night and stole a Hamster, which he wanted to impress a girl with aged 14.

So, how the hell did he manage to get Regents Park, and Hyde Park mixed up then?

That was the query voiced several times as we trudged up roads in the rain, with two screaming children who hate the raincover.

At first, we came out of Paddington onto Praed Street. Then Ed decided (2 steps outside the station) that he wasn't sure if it was left or right. I should have known at that point. He asked a helpful shopkeeper, and he told us where to walk. Obviously the shopkeeper also mixed Hyde and Regents Park up to.

We trudged all the way down Praed Street, then all the way down the Edgeware Road- whilst Ed pointed out many Arab gentleman sitting smoking large Hookum pipes (or Bongs as he kept shouting).

When we got to the end of Edgeware Road, there was a park. Hooray!

I went to look on a map outside the park, to see where the zoo was.

Except there was no zoo on the map. It was the wrong park.

We asked a London tour guide person, who told us to walk back up the Edgeware Road, onto Marylebone Road then Baker Street.

So, by the time we reached the park, it was 11am. Mini was beyond reasoning with, such was her annoyance at the buggy, the raincover, everything frankly. Then Edward joined in too, in full support of his sisters annoyance. At that point I nearly jumped on the train home again. But no, I thought, the rain has stopped, it can't be far now.

But it was.

Regents Park should have golf buggys, or better yet, buses to take you from point to point. We let Mini out the buggy (which cheered her up until she fell over) and began walking round.

By the time we got to the zoo, it was pouring with rain again. And 11.45.

So, we had a half hour train journey to London from Maidenhead, and a two hour walk to the zoo.

I went to the gate we'd been told to go to. The lady on the desk looked quite vague about Mummy Bloggers, so I tried supersavvyme instead. Oh yes, she said, handing me a map, go here. She circled our "destination" to make it easier to find.

Off we went to the Oasis Cafe.

I was surprised when we got there that it was more or less empty, I started to think maybe the event had been cancelled. So I asked a tea lady, who knew nothing about a buffet, a lunch meeting or British Mummy Bloggers.

Again, Mini started to cry, and when I saw that two coffees would set me back £9, I nearly joined her.

Ed, being diplomatic, went to have a word with the girl we'd met at the gate.

Who told him a completely different thing to me, gave him a map the same as mine, but circled somewhere completely different. Bloody useless!

So, finally, soaking wet, freezing cold, loosing the will to live and with make up washed off, we arrived.

The children were tired, my feet were screaming at me (Thank god I didn't wear my boots with the heel). Ed wasn't impressed either, voicing his concern that it was going to be a "bunch of woman chatting crap about blogs".

But once there, it was lovely to see so many people. So hello to everyone I actually did get to, and apologies to those I didn't.

We had a bite to eat (was it me or did one of the sandwiches have Ham, Cheese and Jam in it?) but then Mini started moaning again, so we left to have a very brief walk around. The animals had more sense than us though and had scarpered indoors.

We saw a Komodo dragon, which was huge-much bigger than I thought they would be, and looking quite pleased that it was nice and warm, an Emu (which didn't look like the one off of the telly when I was a kid) and various monkeys and gorillas. One of these stood stock still, posing and waiting for someone to take a photo, then looked at us as if to say "well, get on with it", then off he went on a rope swing. Mini was in awe at them- especially when one of the other gorillas pulled a blanket around themselves-this amused her greatly, and she smiled. Until we were back in the rain again.

So, admitting defeat, we trudged to the taxi rank and slowly crawled through rush hour (which seems to occur at 2.15pm on Sundays in London) to the station.

Only for the rain to stop and to be blessed with Mini's personal "sight of the day"- a full on bright colourful rainbow to appear.

We got home, weary, hungry and tired, and nodded off very early last night indeed.

When I woke up this morning, my legs felt like I'd been made to do simultaneous work outs with Rosemary Conley, Mr Motivator and a yoga instructor. They hurt so very very badly. Exercise, that's mine for the year!

I would love to go back in the summer, but next time, I'll bring a map.....


  1. What an expedition and the worst day to be trudging around London too! We managed to make it to the train in Cambridge by the skin of our teeth and then grabbed a cab when we got to London...that bit was straight-forward...but when we got into the zoo my map reading skills had us going into every corner before we made it to the pavilion. After lunch we were there for so long, we ended up being escorted out through the staff exit, because it had officially closed ten minutes earlier LOL. Needless to say were got drenched finding another cab on the way out and came home in sodden clothes. Anyway apologies for missing you yesterday... hopefully next time :-D

  2. Jeez, you were brave!
    I think we would've stayed longer, but both the kids were miserable, and weren't great fans of the food available either-they're quite fussy to be honest!

    I'm sorry I missed you too!

  3. I think I would have put up with the walk if only I could have gone, nut N Yorkshire was far too far away. I am still envious!


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