Sorry - I have some great photos to go with this but due to the horrible connectivity I have I cannot get them online. When I get some decent connectivity I'll upload them and add them later. I had a good signal this morning and was able to upload the pictures!]
This morning Tammy and my Mom took off for Liverpool. When we were looking at our trip over here, and when my Mom would come over, we found out there is a Beatle’s Festival in Liverpool this week. They took an early bus ride, followed by a very late overnight ride back to go see it. Mazie and I had the whole day to ourselves!
I hadn’t done a great job of planning out our day, but it came together really well.
We started our day at the London Zoo. Zoo’s are always the old standby for Dad’s Day with the Kids and I’m not too proud to use it. A quick trip to the Transport for London Journey Planner and I was able to figure out the right bus connections to get us there, and that it would take about an hour. They were right, an hour later we arrived at the Zoo.
The London Zoo is a cool destination if only for being the oldest zoo in the world. According to Wikipedia it opened on April 27, 1828. Given this long heritage, I was a little curious how the zoo would shape up. On our trip out west we stopped at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. The Woodland Park Zoo opened in 1899, again from Wikipedia. London’s Zoo was already 71 years in the running at the time. More impressive to me is that the Woodland Park Zoo owns the domain zoo.org. I digress. The point is that the Woodland Park Zoo was completely amazing and reset my expectation for what a zoo could be. I was curious to see how London had adapted over the years.
To say I was disappointed is too far, but I think London could really use an infusion of investment into the London Zoo. It is massively improved from the days of gorillas in cement cubes, but it didn’t strike me as leading in its approach to animal habitats. The London Zoo did however send a strong conservation message and highlighted some key roles they have played in zoological research over the years.
All of this was neither here nor there for Mazie of course. She had a great time, and particularly adored the giraffes. They had three of them and we watched them for nearly thirty minutes. I asked her if she wanted to name them and she suggested they were all named “Giraffe-y”. The “-y” naming convention is a trend lately. We also made a special point to see the lions and she really loved the butterfly tent. She found the large birds pretty boring, although I didn’t. They have some pretty huge vultures at the zoo.
We spent all morning there and ended the day with a run on the Zoo Carousel. Mazie insisted on going, which was surprising and new. She previously hasn’t been a big fan of them, but not today. She really enjoyed it.
At the end of our zoo trip we debated taking the bus or train back to the apartment for quiet time. I wanted to take the bus, Mazie insisted on the train. Since it was her day I obliged and walked a mile to the nearest tube station only to find that for a 5 hours slice of time, only on Sundays, particularly right when we showed up, they don’t allow inbound traffic there. So, another 10 minute walk to the next station down the line and we headed back.
I tried to convince Mazie to take a good nap because we had a special afternoon planned. We were going to High Tea at the Orangery!
When thinking about our special Dad-Daughter day in London I wanted to do something that was local and a first. It hit me pretty quick that it would be fun to go and have High Tea together. I had no idea what the entailed as I had never done High Tea before . We had heard on a tour the other day that if you “tea at the Ritz” men must wear a jacket and tie. I have neither along, and that wouldn’t be fun for Mazie so I started doing some searches.
I quickly found that High Tea is actually a pretty kid friendly thing at the right places. I ran across a site that mentioned that the Orangery at Kensington Palace offered a special “Tea for Kids” and it was casual. Perfect!
After Mazie’s non-nap we took off for our first High Tea. I wasn’t real sure how to get where we were going. The tube wasn’t close, and I wasn’t wanting to negotiate the buses so Mazie and I flagged a black cab and made our way to Kensington Palace. We found the Orangery straight on and started our tea.
Mazie’s “Tea for Kids” was a good sized glass of apple juice (more on that later) along with the typical High Tea cucumber and cream cheese sandwich. She wouldn’t touch the sandwich, but loved the apple juice. We substituted her orange sponge cake for a slice of chocolate cake as well.
I had the traditional tea and really liked it. We had a great time sitting and chatting about our tea party and how much fun we had had at the zoo. The tea took just the right amount of time, and some coloring kept Mazie content.
After tea we went into the gardens at Kensington Palace and looked around, followed by some full on running in the park surrounding the palace.
Too Much Sugar
It was time to head back home and Mazie and I discussed our mode of transportation. She suggested that we get a cab again because “the guy that worked there was nice”. I was eager to agree but that the £10 could be easily saved if we just looked. We poked around and figured out it was a short bus ride to Knightsbridge where we would be able to get the Picadilly line back to Earl’s Court and be two blocks from the apartment.
While we were waiting for the bus Mazie informed me that her stomach hurt. This is not normal. She doesn’t get upset stomachs as a normal course of things. I asked her if it hurt a lot and she informed me it did.
At that point I ran through her food for the day and the lack of any proper nutritional oversight became apparent. Cereal and fruit for breakfast was the high point. A snack of mini-donuts followed by a waffle with Nutella on the go at the zoo for lunch was not a good choice. And then high tea with a huge glass of apple juice followed by chocolate cake. Uh oh!
It didn’t seem like I had any options. We got on the bus and went a few stops. She reported that her stomach still hurt a lot. I figured it was maybe too much running around with a full stomach and was hopeful that it would settle down. She was calmer than normal on the bus but seemed okay. We made it off the bus and then walked two blocks to the Knightsbridge tube station and headed down for the train.
She still wasn’t feeling good but I kept asking how she was doing and she said it hurt but was getting better. Then it happened. On the platform for the Picadilly train at Knightbridge, heading east, at about 6 p.m., she started puking up all that sugar.
One, two, three and finally four good size heaves of puke came up. Puke was all over the floor, on her shoes, on her pants, on her shirt — on my pants, on my shirt, a little on my camera. I had one single napkin in my pocket that I used when she gave the first explosion and was completely soaked and covered in puke by the fourth. The tube has no bathrooms, no trash cans, no nothing.
So, I asked if she was done and we walked to the other side, down the whole length of the platform, back over to the eastbound side on the other end and boarded the next train. Both of us had a fair amount of puke on us standing in this absolutely packed train full of nicely dressed people heading to a concert at Earl’s Court.
But, hey, what are you going to do.
We got the rest of the way on the train with no more puking and Mazie reported that she felt good now. I asked her several times if she still wanted her dinner of frozen Macaroni and Cheese at home and she confirmed that she did every time. She gobbled it down actually and I think it settled her stomach a bit. The poor kid suffered through absent minded meal planning but still had a grin.
We had a stellar day filled with fun at every corner. No temper tantrums and things went really smooth. Plus we got to have our first High Tea. What a great day!
 There is some debate on this. I’m told by Alice Kim that I did indeed have High Tea on a business trip to London around the year 2000. I have no recollection of this.