I love travelling with my kids on long flights. Seriously. No joke. But it’s only because we’re THAT family. You know, the family who opts to take the red eye and drags crying and screaming children onto an 11pm flight.
I can’t tell you how much eye rolling I’ve seen as we’ve come aboard with Eryn freaking out that her headphones don’t fit her ears, and Ivy gasping with her signature piercing, over-stimulated, dear-God-I’m-so-tired-would-someone-PLEASE-help-me-fall-asleep shrieks. But it’s okay. And eventually, everyone knows it’s okay. Because alhamdulillah, the moment the plane moves they’re both asleep. For seven hours straight (thus far!!).
And I am so very thankful for that.
We’re about 30 minutes outside London in a very picturesque and compact city. Everything is in walking distance — and while I was resolved to conquer my fear of public busses, it looks like I may not need to ever take one (I’m fine with subways and trains, but not busses — there’s too much pressure and anxiety to know exactly when to get off, and I’m always worried about inconveniencing others with the stroller. It’s a serious fear. Though oddly, it only applies to busses in other cities. It’s my main mode of transport back home).
But I truly love walking — there’s something comforting in trusting that my feet will always take me home, even if I get properly lost along the way.
Yesterday, Eryn and Ivy fed some ducks and geese at the river. Then we watched a swan build her nest. And spoke to the man dragging the river for scrap metal. And waved to a boatman and his dog. Then we went home for tea.
As a Whovian I’m totally, blissfully overwhelmed and excited about all of the Doctor Who cultural cues woven into the fabric of time and space here. Doctor Who posters, billboards, merchandise, and clothing are everywhere — from the supermarket to the vending machines. Matt Smith (who plays the current Doctor) was even filming part of the 50th Anniversary special at Trafalgar Square while we landed at the airport. That’s almost as exciting as having John Barrowman smile at me.
To make sure the girls keep busy during the week, I have a month-long list of every story time, rhyme time, and craft time at every library and museum in the city. There’s not much to say about that, except that Eryn really gets into her craft. And after making a few new friends, she’s started calling elevators “lifts,” popsicles “ice lollies,” and chips “crisps.”
As today was Jummah we decided to go to one of the local mosques (not the one pictured above). It was the worst place I’ve never prayed at.
We walked in, unloaded the kids, took off our shoes, and climbed the stairs to the women’s section, only to find that the door was barred with construction materials. The men’s section looked even worse. I asked if there was a place for women to pray and was told, “no” even though there were signs pointing to the upstairs prayer place and notices for a sisters’ halaqa. It was only later that I learned that the mosque was recently shut down for health and safety reasons due to asbestos. They’re now renovating.
While this is probably the best sincere excuse EVER, I still would have appreciated knowing that there is no space for women (yet) — especially since the website makes it clear the mosque is now operational. No matter. There are plenty more mosques to see and I’ll try to catch each one.
Tomorrow we’re off to see the Queen at Windsor Castle!