Watching the Wimbledon

The Wimbledon tennis championships are a big deal here, as you may have guessed, and I really wanted to go. Turns out it’s not so easy to get tickets. You have to put your name in sometime before Christmas and hope you get lucky, or else have a connection to get you tickets. And if you don’t get tickets ahead of time, you join The Queue.

There are a whole bunch of rules about queuing for Wimbledon tickets, but in a nutshell, you have to get there really, really early, or even camp there overnight. This is not really an option for mothers of young children.

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Sunday in Greenwich

Greenwich is an area of London we had not yet explored, so we took today, a Sunday with no scheduled plans, to go do it.

The namesake epicentre of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), this is where you can straddle the Prime Meridian, where east meets west at Longitude 0º.

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Vauxhall City Farm

I heard about Vauxhall City Farm from a nanny I sat next to at E’s swimming lesson, and it sounded worth checking out. It’s a quick train ride (only about five minutes) from Clapham Junction and then a five-minute walk from the Vauxhall station. And it’s free!

For a “farm” in the city of London to take little kids to, it was really good. There are animal food dispensers so kids can pop in 20p and get a cupful of duck food to feed the ducks and geese, or some grass pellets to feed the sheep and goats. And this was a good time of year to go because OMG BABY LAMBS ADORABLE!

There’s a nice-looking cafe too, and you can host a child’s birthday party there, which I would seriously consider if I hadn’t already booked E’s party for her gymnastics place.

They also offer horse riding lessons there, though obviously that is NOT free.

The only issue was it closes at 4 p.m., which I didn’t realise, and we didn’t arrive till 3:40, so we got kicked out pretty quickly. At least we didn’t have to pay admission. We will definitely go back another day when we can spend more time (and I remember to bring some 20p coins).

The nanny also said there’s a good playground nearby, which I didn’t see but will look for next time we go. May 23 Update: We went back this afternoon when we had more time, and this time I came prepared with 20p coins to buy food to feed the animals. We got to stroke a 2-week-old lamb, which was soft and fuzzy. (Side note: they say “stroke” rather than “pet” here, and I’ve had children ask if they may stroke my dog, and the other day a young boy asked me if he could stroke my baby, which I found hilarious. And he then happily stroked her fuzzy head.)

We had time to go to the cafe for a treat, too.

And then we found the nearby playground, which had a pretty great slide built into the hill, plus an in-ground trampoline. 

Mother-Daughter Play Date

Today, the kids won. Mommy is waving the white flag on Tuesday. There are towels soaked with urine, milk (cow’s, not breast), and baby spit-up molding over in the washing machine. The girls have decided they’re American and therefore are observing American Daylight Saving Time and woke up an hour early both days this week. I only made it through half of Buggyfit class this morning because R wouldn’t stop crying. I let E have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner (half of which was thrown away because it soaked up her spilled milk). I’m just going to admit defeat and hope they go a little easier on me tomorrow. One of my favourite terms I hear British mums use a lot is I’m shattered, meaning exhausted. It fits.

But if I can get a blog post up before I pass out, then I will feel like I accomplished something today!

Since Baby R was born, E has had quite a few daddy-daughter dates out with M, but I was definitely overdue for taking my firstborn out for some one-on-one time. On Saturday we agreed baby would stay home with daddy for some bonding time, and E and I were going out on the town.

There’s a great app/website here called Hoop, which rounds up all the activities for kids going on in London, by date, age range, location, etc. We get an email every Thursday with the top picks for things happening on the weekend, and this week we saw there was going to be a free arts and crafts session at the Unicorn Theatre, a children’s theatre, so I decided we’d go check that out.

When we arrived, I was a bit disappointed in the craft they were doing; it was something we could easily have done ourselves at home. But, I reminded myself, this was about us spending time together doing an activity, so as long as E was having fun, it didn’t matter that the artwork wasn’t going to be frame-worthy.

So she happily painted and coloured for quite a while, and then a stage manager came up to the table and said their new play, which was opening this week, was going to be doing a dress rehearsal in a bit, and we were invited to come watch. Well that certainly made the trip there worth it!

The play, called Jeramee, Hartleby, and Oooglemore, ended up being for ages 3 and up. It was one hour long, and very silly in a physical comedy kind of way. The only words spoken the entire play are Jeramee, Hartleby, and Oooglemore. So it’s all visual, and no jokes were lost on my three-and-a-half-year-old. We both found it quite delightful. (And especially since we got to see it for free!)

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 9.42.22 PMThis was her fourth play since we moved to London. We have also taken her to see The Gruffalo, Peppa Pig’s Surprise, and Father Christmas. All have been just about an hour, which is perfect for her age and attention span.

The theatre is in Southwark, near the South Bank of the Thames, which offers some cool views of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, especially on such a beautiful spring day.

I wish I’d known about the fountains here last summer, when we were living in our temporary flat, which is within walking distance. This would have been great to bring her to on a hot day to play in the fountain!