Monday, 18 June 2012

Return of the Cat

In March, we acquired a cat.  A friend of a friend was moving house and had more cats than she could take with her.  The cat was named Lily; that's her in the picture above, being loved by Jasmine.  The same morning, we popped out for a walk to the nearest pet shop to buy cat food, treats, toys, litter, etc.  We had been fully briefed about the possibility of Lily trying to escape and return home in the early days, before she was accustomed to her new family and surroundings.  Because of this, we made sure to leave the house as secure as possible.  There was no way she could get out.

Upon returning home, Lily had vanished.  We searched the house high and low and circled the neighbourhood countless times, but to no avail; she was gone.  We have a pretty good idea as to what happened during the time that we were away from the house that morning, but I really should not discuss that here.

Jasmine was forlorn - she loved her cat, fiercely and immediately.  We talked to her about Lily and said that she was playing hide and seek.  As the days passed, we realised that Jasmine probably didn't believe us anymore, but she asked few questions.  She simply continued to search for her pet.

Happily, this was not the last we saw of Lily.

On the afternoon of June 4th, while hubby was out with Jasmine, I opened the door out on to the garden and came face to face with a cat, who had been rummaging through a bag full of garden stuff.  She looked startled and retreated towards the gate, then stopped.  Having only seen her once before, I wasn't sure if it was our cat at that stage, so I called her and she tentatively walked towards me.  It took a while, but she began to trust me; I fed her, I stroked her and I kept a very excited Sonny away from her.  Eventually, she followed me inside the house.  Soon after, Jasmine and James returned home and convinced me that this was our cat - Lily had come home.

Thin and timid, she looked a shadow of the cat that left us, but she soon perked up and is now looking better than ever.

Needless to say, Jasmine was overjoyed and greeted her cat with the line "Lily, you are the best ever hide and seekerer."

Welcome home, Lily.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Things To Do in London When You're Three

On Saturday, Jim and I took the children to London for the day.  Due to a planned trip to Paris that had to be cancelled last minute, we already had the train tickets, and it seemed a shame to let them go to waste.

Primarily, I must admit I had reservations about the trip; two active toddlers confined to train seats for 90 minutes (each way) didn't sound a particularly attractive prospect.  Additionally, we realised that we would be travelling around London on probably the busiest weekend of the year and, neither of us being hardcore Royalists or even especially patriotic, we wondered if it might be a better idea to postpone the outing altogether.  However, upon chatting to Jas, it transpired that she was really rather keen to check out the "Queen's house" and so the decision was made for us.

The day started at 4:30am when Jas bounded into our bed, full of excitement for the day ahead.  Both children were up, dressed and fed by 5 and we made it to the station in plenty of time for the 6 o'clock train.  The journey passed uneventfully, with both Jas and Sonny behaving very well.  They drew pictures, coloured, read books and then Jas spotted the London Eye...or so she thought:

Alas, it was just the gas works.

Upon arriving in London, we stopped for breakfast before heading straight towards Buckingham Palace.  Jas was beyond excited.  Unfortunately, due to the preparations for Monday's Jubilee concert, the roads around it were closed, as was much of St. James' Park, and the most we saw of the palace was the side wall.  Jas was disappointed; it turned out she had expected to actually be given a guided tour of the building by the Queen herself. 

Happily, our Jas is not one to be kept down for long, and she soon perked up when she realised how friendly the park's wildlife is:

FYI: while squirrels are huge fans of chocolate cake; pigeons are less keen.

Next, we wandered up to see Big Ben, which was also on Jasmine's to-do list, and then finally saw the *actual* London Eye.  Both children were happy about this!

Shortly after these snaps were taken, the early start caught up on the children and they both crashed almost simultaneously.

During this period of quiet, Jim and I took in Trafalgar Square (which was also pretty inaccessible due to rehearsals for something or other) and then headed up to Hyde Park.  By the time we reached the park, the children had woken and were eager to explore once more.  The plan was to walk almost the length of the park until we came to the Princess Diana Memorial playpark.  However, we suddenly found ourselves in amidst one of the biggest queues we had ever seen.  Moreover, we had no idea what was at the end of it...

It turned out to be a hugely overpriced (and apparently oversubscribed) Jubilee family fun day.  We decided to leave the queue and walk round the perimeter of the area that was fenced off and carry on with our original plan.  After much walking, we finally passed the last of the exclusive festivities and discovered, much to our dismay, that we were only a few yards closer to our destination than we had been 90 minutes previously.

Fortunately, the children were happy enough to be running freely through big green spaces and we soon stumbled upon a regular park, where much fun ensued:


Finally, deciding that we wouldn't make it to the Princess Diana Memorial Park with enough time to actually play before we had to leave for Victoria, we opted instead for a nice splash in the memorial fountain.  The sun was shining at this stage, and the fountain was full of people, mostly children, having LOTS of fun.  Jas and Sonny were no different; they did not want to leave.  I cannot praise this place highly enough.  Unfortunately, the camera battery ran out of juice after just one photograph...

We left London with two very tired children, lots of happy memories and a long list of things we will be doing when we come back in August!

Monday, 4 June 2012

A Gift To Last A Lifetime

Happy birthday, James.

Raising a Royalist

I am not a great fan of the Royal family.  I don't hate them, I just don't really understand the point of them.  I find the history fascinating, but that's about it.
Jasmine, however, has a bit of a soft spot for all things patriotic and has a soft spot for the Queen.  She has been enthusiastically waving her Union Jack for the past week and wanted to go to London solely to visit "the Queen's house" (more on that story later).
I suspect we will be watching the Jubilee concert this evening.  Enjoy the long weekend!

N.B. - the mug in the photo was decorated by Jasmine at her preschool; the drawing on the front is her impression of the Queen.  Oh, and her face is kinda green because she was a witch yesterday.