I promised you a second update within a week, and here it is. As I mentioned in the previous update, I had worked eleven straight days and so I juggled a couple of extra days around the weekend to recuperate and get back in touch with the family. Fortunately I timed those days off with a mini heatwave (two days of 30°C temperatures (apparently the warmest day in the UK for 5 years) – nothing compared to the heatwaves of old, but a heatwave nonetheless!). The first of those days off was blessed with a visit from my family, as mentioned in the previous update. The next two (the hot days!) were taken up with what we sold to Éowyn as adventures. So with sun block (not sun tan lotion as we are all fair skinned and the idea of a tan is ridiculous we just need to stop our skins from burning!) on and picnic packed we headed out in the trusted Honda Civic!
Sunday saw us in West London, not that far from my place of work, at Kew Gardens. Lucinda’s uncle and aunt are season members of Kew and thus have a number of free tickets for friends and relatives and hence we took them up on their offer of heading to Kew for a family day out. It was my first visit to Kew, even though I lived in Richmond for over 4 years and could see the pagoda from my bedroom window. I hadn’t realised how much ground Kew covered (300 acres!) and how extensive gardens were. Éowyn, however, was more interested in the Climbers and Creepers and Treehouse Towers play areas. Although we did drag her away to visit the Xstrata Treetop Walkway. Unfortunately they are having issues with the lift and so it was a long climb up the stairs carrying Éowyn, although thankfully Lucinda’s mum and dad stayed at the bottom with Amélie and the pushchair which was a bonus. Whether it was the hot weather or the walking but we felt thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day and were quiet relieved when we got back home. Overall the children play areas are excellent but Éowyn is a little too young to appreciate the grandeur of Kew Gardens and so we will probably have to wait until she is a little older before we visit again.
Monday, however, was all about Éowyn. Éowyn’s favourite television programme is currently found on Channel 5 at 0815. For the non-parents (or non-UK) readers of this site, the answer is Peppa Pig. For those of you that are not familiar with Peppa Pig: it is a series (or three series) of five minute cartoons centred around Peppa (an anthropomorphic girl pig) and her family (parents, one set of grandparents and her little brother George). All of her friends have similar family structures and are all mammals with alliterative names (Peppa Pig, Suzy Sheep, Danny Dog, Pedro Pony etc). They all live in houses, have jobs (in the case of Miss Rabbit: many jobs!), drive cars and wear clothes. Éowyn will watch episode after episode of Peppa Pig without getting bored and if I am honest, they can be quite enjoyable from an adult point of view as there is enough in each episode aimed at the parents to keep them interested.
In April (2011) Peppa Pig World opened at Paulton’s Park in Romsey in Hampshire. The journey is only 60 miles or so and is motorway all the way so it took just over a hour for us to get there. Éowyn’s friend Alexander was on holiday in the New Forest with his parents (obviously) Verena and David and baby sister Olivia, so we arranged to meet them at Peppa Pig World and make a day of it.
Peppa Pig World is excellent, there are lots of rides for the young ones to go on and because it is in a corner of Paulton’s Park it means that it is self-contained and you haven’t got miles to walk between rides. Again it was a very hot day (except for the short sharp shower that hit while Lucinda and David were on the tractor ride with Alexander and Éowyn, leaving Verena and me to grab the picnic and the babies and hide under the shelter of a tree!).
Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed herself and I think we will have to go back, as we did not manage to get on all the rides. We also managed to keep her away from the big Peppa Pig gift shop, as I don’t think I have that much limit left on my credit card! Again I think the heat defeated us and by 1500 all four adults we were shattered and in fairness so were the kids, so we decided to call it a day and head back up the M3. Would defiintely recommend Peppa Pig World to all parents out there, and although we didn’t explore it, Paulton’s Park proper also looked quite interesting for older kids. Pity it’s not part of the Merlin Pass family.
The following day the heatwave broke. A heavy thunderstorm hit our part of the world (in fact the business park that my company is situated took a direct hit and it has upset a number of pieces of technical equipment). The weather is now closer to 20°C than 30°C and a lot fresher. Summer is over.
Before I returned to work we had one more place to visit. Amélie had an appointment with the paediatrician at St. Peter’s hospital (the place of her birth). This was a follow appointment regarding her reflux (the milk protein intolerance is being treated by the dietician). It appears that Amélie has grown out of her reflux and thus we have been told to stop the drugs. We expressed our concerns that she does not seem to be developing as quickly as Éowyn did (although she was quite precocious!). The paediatrician gave her a physical examination and is quite happy that there is nothing physically impairing her, it is just that she is taking her time. Apparently taking after her dad, as I only learned to crawl backwards and decided that it was easier to walk on two legs than learn to crawl. Taking to two legs much earlier than my contemporaries. Time will tell.
I will leave you with photos from Kew Garden and Peppa Pig World, enjoy and don’t forget there are plenty of new photos on our Flickr site (link in right hand column).
Peace and love