Thursday, 16 October 2014

First part of our trip back to England

So we got on our airplane on time on Saturday night.  We went through pain to get seats together, and on a direct flight.  I am grateful to Paul's department assistance for putting her foot down, and basically doing the right thing.  We were so displeased with how the travel company expected us to travel.  I will name and shame them once our time here is done.

Anywho I digress.  Saturday afternoon at Charlotte airport really is quiet!!!! No queues and through security in no time.  Defineatley the time to travel with small children.  The flight was slightly delayed, but still arrived at Heathrow on time.  Terminal 3 is awesome, and also not too far from the car hire place.

We got our hire car, a Citroen C4 very quickly, again the joy of it being first thing on a Sunday morning.  We headed up the motorway to Paul's parents.  First thing I did was go to sleep.  Paul and I spent most of the day drifting in and out of sleep.  We put Isaac and Seb to bed at about 5.30.  No one slept for more than 3 hours on the plane, so they all needed it.  Oliver fell asleep on the sofa about 6.15 and was put straight to bed.  Typically Paul and I were up till about 11 talking to Keith, Paul's dad.  

No one was up before 9 the next morning.  Oliver even slept till gone 10.  The boys were certainly trying to catch up.  We had a rough plan for the day, but first an emergency stop.  Everyone said the weather in England was lovely before we got there.  If was chucking down on the Monday.  So we stopped to get some rain coats, and look for 3 pairs of black shoes for small children.  I got one....

No trip to Oxford would be complete without a trip to Grandads bike shop.  Last Easter there was a fire that destroyed most of the building and stock inside.  The shop recently reopen in the same location.  We couldn't have picked the worst week to be in Oxford.  It was threshers week, and anyone who know Oxford would know how many bikes there are on the street.  A big proportion of these come from grandads bike shop.  The boys have always loved going there, and having a little ride around.

From there we headed to the science area of the university, where the museums are. It was already after lunch, so we had a snack on the way.  Oxford wasn't too busy at this point, and we were able to get parked within walking distance of the museums (once we had got change for parking of course).  

We started at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.  Despite Paul living in Oxford most of his life, he had never been to the museums.  

The museum is perfect for small kids.  Not too much going on, but the right level of info and interesting stuff to hold them.

There were rocks, dinosaur bones, various skeletons, taxidermy animals, the evolution of man..... I could go on.  Have some photos instead.

Had to geta photo of this one, Wicked Tuna all the way!!!

Isaacs absolute favorite.


After killing a good 45 minutes to an hour, we ducked into the Pitt Rivers Museum, attached to the back of the Natural History Museum.  This collection is epic....

It is basically a collection of artifacts to do with humans.  There is all sorts; weapons, worship, craft, jewelry, clothing, pottery.  I could go on.  We dragged the children around all 3 levels. And when I say dragged, I really do mean that.  The lack of lunch was starting to show, and although Pitt Rivers is a good museum, it is definetley more suited to adults / school trips.  But somewhere to go if you have some time to kill in Oxford, like we did.  Best thing, the museums were free.

We both really enjoyed the museum, and the kids seemed to get a lot out of them too.  We took a short walk for out planned late lunch / early dinner.

Brown's on the Woodstock road has been a firm favorite with the Goslings for many years.  At 2.30 on a Monday afternoon, it is also empty, and the fact you have 3 small, starving boys doesn't seem to bother anyone.  We were seated promptly and served by an awesome waitress, who was obviously used to dealing with kids.  Plus we were within seeing distance of the toilets, meaning we could let the older 2 go, without us having to go to.  Bonus.  Paul and I had a Perroni each, yum, and the boys had diet cokes, which they mullered as soon as they arrived. The menu is a good, a little pretentious maybe.  I went with steak frites, while Paul decided on the wild boar and chorizo burger (pretentious, right?).  Oliver also went with a burger, and we decided on grilled chicken with fries and an extra side of fries for Isaac and Seb to share.  The food came relatively quickly (there was only about 2 toilet trips in the time), and it was delicious.  Really tasty, just want we all needed.  Admittedly my steak was a little under cooked, but I don't mind it like that. Paul's burger was meaty and flavor some, as was Oliver's.  The other 2 barely touched their chicken, but polished off all the fries available.  We decided not to get a dessert.  We had a good meal, at a fairly reasonable price in quite an upmarket establishment without the kids being a nightmare.  Success! 

Browns - Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

We spent Monday night at the Goslings before heading to see my dad briefly, with a quick stop for more shoes.  Success was had at Tesco at the Meadows for Isaac.  I love this Tesco.  It has one of the best clothing ranges, and I always like to take a little look when I am in the area.  I had to go to the Marks and Spencer for Seb.  I don't miss those prices.

We headed to see Lee and Melissa (his daughter) for dinner, bringing with us a curry from Tesco.  I miss those easy meals, stick 'em in the oven and off we go.  It was nice to see them, and so good for Lee to spend time with the kids.  I think he needed it.  

We went back to my dads to spend the night, hoping for another good sleep from the boys.


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