Saturday, 17 November 2007

I've been TAGGED ... but first I'll catch up. (Long Post)

Last you heard we were heading West. With some apprehension we went off to see Wrecker and Eldest. Who knew what state either of them would be in. A burnt 2 year old and a cooped up 4 year old were a challenging prospect, mix in some understandably stressed parents and you can see why we might have had our fingers crossed. Luckily for us, all were in good spirits. Wrecker looked much more cheerful than I could have hoped for, despite a fully bandaged arm, leg and torso. Eldest was, I think, just delighted to be the centre of attention and enjoyed some quality aunt-time.

13th At his mother's suggested we headed to Kelvin Grove Museum - it managed to entertain us all for a good few hours. Then we headed to a park for some excellent run-around-and-shout-a-bit time. Auntie TheO then came up with the genius suggestion that we head to the Botanic Gardens. We were minorly way-laid by the first of many encounters with A Glasgow Squirrel. These squirrels were incredibly friendly, even coming to nose Eldest's hand as he sat nice and still. They proved greatly entertaining. (Although we decided not to tell his mother lest there be a discussion of evil-venomous-squirrel bites and disease.) He was having fantastic fun. This was only added to by some cake and a smoothie. Then, fully sugared-up we made it into the Botanics. He loved every minute: big fish in the pond, a jungle of ferns to play explorer in, carnivorous plants, hot houses, pretty orchids, tiny fish in tanks and the sensitive plant that folded its leaves when stroked. Finding a great playpark at the end made it pretty perfect. Even if it did take us a while to get a cab at the end.

So, after a day designed for Eldest our search for accommodation started. It was arduous and extremely tiring, especially as we were beset by having to drive up and down a road with more sets of traffic lights than one would have thought possible. Eventually we stopped and I ran into a place that looked nice. Yes they had a room and they could (as it was last minute) give a good deal on it. (RESULT!) Mentally realised that Simon Pegg (from Run, Fat Boy, Run) was sitting having a drink in the lounge. Ran back to the car - tried not to be too over excited about how nice the hotel was, failed.

After being shown to our gorgeous sumptuous room with huge 4 poster bed we instantly went back down stairs and asked if they had a room free for the following night too. We also booked a meal in the restaurant. We freshened up, and slunk down to the bar feeling the need for a drink (how all parents do not succumb to some sort of alcohol induced numbness after the kids are in bed is beyond me); the large GnT's were just the job. After perusing the menu for some time [here I direct you to TheO's blog - she waxes more than lyrical about the wonders] we sat down to have the most wonderful meal I have ever experienced in my life. We've had some damn fine meals but this brought tears literally to the eye. My ham hough was tasty perfection, but even that was not a patch on the boiled egg. The lobster was perfectly cooked, the hot mayonnaise a dream, and the chocolate thing with pear ice cream was to die for.
It was food taken to another level.

It was also service taken to another level. I don't know how they managed this but it was remarkably good. You could take the most traditional type there who wanted all the obsequiousness of 'fine service' and they would feel entirely happy. But, conversely, you could also take someone who hated that stiff formality, and they would feel equally well served. Everyone greeted you with a smile and a polite hello - this sounds so silly but it was a wonderful change from staff scuttling past guests in the corridors making both parties feel a little embarrassed.

A wonderful, only lightly alcohol induced sleep made the next morning dawn significantly brighter. Not to dwell on the food too much I'll just say a few words about breakfast. A huge range for the continental with the glossiest fresh fruits and yogurts, tiny perfect Danish pastries, toast, coffee, fresh juices. Yum!

So - onward to the Eldest. 14th. Luckily we had his Dad's company for a few hours that morning. We all headed to the Science Museum. Looked like it was a bit beyond him but, by allowing his entirely A.D.D. behaviour free reign it managed to entertain for a good 3 hours. Lots of see and everything was there to be played with and handled. Another trip was requested to the Botanics - we happily obliged. Finished off with the play park (again) where Eldest entertained us by proclaiming on the roundabout that he: wanted to go so fast my willie goes all funny. This whilst giggling hysterically. Hilarious. Not possessing a willie I was previously unaware of the effects of a roundabout. Hmmm, must find some friends to ask about that one.

A more relaxed evening ensued at our hotel. They had a small gym (no running machine - idiots) in the basement so I managed 20min on the rowing machine and 12min on the bike. Enough to get the heart pumping and not feel too guilty about ordering room-service and chilling out all evening.

Our final day (15th) as nephew sitters started (for me at least) with yet another delightful Continental breakfast. We then rushed off to the hospital where Eldest's mother was free from baby-sitting so could join us for the morning. Eldest - again - asked for the Botanics so we went and he showed his Mum all the bits he really enjoyed. A simple Italian lunch followed before we delivered him back to both parents and high-tailed it out of there, desperately trying to beat rush hour.

Our return home was welcomed by Professor who had ably coped with our two dogs and a new arrival. Huge thanks - as always.

Yesterday (16th) was a day of returning to normality and trying to run off some of the excess accumulated over the last 3 days. Went to the gym, set the machine to 6.2mph and just kept running. Ended up with 10K in 59.42 - just 59 seconds off my best ever time. Delighted. (Feeling it today though.)

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