The past few days have been hectic and wonderfully full of laughter and cheers. My flat and garden has been full to bursting with guests from the US. One of my oldest buddies and her family arrived on Thursday for a few days of London Olympic-ness.
Jen together with her two youngest arrived in the afternoon. Her hubby and oldest had tickets to see the archery at Lord’s Cricket Ground and some hours later arrived full of stories and smiling from ear to ear.
During our painting session, she was keen to persuade me that she could camp out in the shed for the night… to be honest it’d be a fab place for a good kip!
When the boys got home, Jen went out to meet some friends and the kids, Spence & I had our own mini-Olympics in the garden. Watering cans held up the hurdles and the duck was a fabulous end point for the running race! Races were timed and a medal ceremony conducted!
After a quick pasta supper, we put up the tent in the garden as two of the kids (aged 7 and 11) were excited about being able to camp out. It was a new tent and I’d not put it up before. It took much longer than I’d thought it would and was a lot larger than I thought it would be too! Not sure my garden was really big enough for it but…
Ruby started the night camping out in the green shed, only to migrate to a pod in the tent an hour or so later. Dad, Spence, had the joy of being the ‘grown up’ and clambered into the huge tent when we’d finished our gossiping and viewed the BBC’s Olympic roundup.
The oldest son managed to be sprawled out in the spare room so when Jen got home, ended up crashing in with me. Surprisingly we all seemed to have a good night’s sleep in our respective random locations.
Friday, the family headed off to meet up with grandparents in the Southbank for lunch. After lunch they explored what was on offer for London2012 on the Southbank and then walked across the river, up the Mall, through Green Park and to Hyde Park whilst taking in lots of Olympic venue sites together with London landmarks. Despite both parents being British, the kids hadn’t really seen much of London, so it was a great excuse to wander and explore.
Ruby had said to me whilst we were painting that she really wasn’t sure if she was British or American. She holds both passports so which one should she cheer for? She decided it should be British first and American second!
I met them later in Hyde Park at the BT London Live site where they were glued to the tennis on the big screen. I’d lent them a tarpaulin and rug together with some red, white and blue facepaint. How fabulous to arrive and see Jen painting flags on faces…. British flags.
I did, of course get my face painted. Right cheek by Jen and left cheek by Ruby. (OK so I had to suck my plump cheeks in so that a picture could show both!)
We had a ball watching the Olympics and cheering on with the crowds as Andy Murray scored point after point in his match.
Saturday was a slow start… well until Jen and Spence found out that a tennis match had been postponed from Friday and that their tickets would get them to see the extra match. I dropped them off in Southfields at midday and they excitedly waved goodbye to me and wished me luck with the kids!
Amazingly, they got to see the mixed doubles game with Robson & Murray -v- Storsur & Hewitt; then the gold medal match women’s singles between Serena Williams -v- Maria Sharapova; then the gold medal match men’s doubles between Bryan & Bryan -v- Llodra & Tsonga; and THEN the semifinals women’s doubles between Kirilenko & Petrova -v- the Williams sisters. What an amazing time they had and what a bonus being able to see so many fantastic matches. Needless to say there were a few phone calls during the afternoon asking if we were OK – of course we were… !!
The kids and I had first headed off to a pub called The Telegraph in Putney Vale. I figured it’s a big pub with big screens showing the Olympics, serves good and reasonable food and was close to open land for running around. We had the upstairs all to ourselves which meant we could choose which Olympic channel to watch (the tennis) whilst we ate lunch and to keep an eye out for Mum and Dad on TV. Jake spotted them briefly.
The pub is opposite woodland and a cricket pitch so after our main course we ventured into the woodland for a walk. We, of course, had another mini-Olympic wheelbarrow racing session on the cricket pitch too!
Sometime later and with the incentive of ‘sticky toffee pudding’ which had been spied earlier by Ruby, we headed back to ‘our usual table’ in the pub and more tennis viewing with our puds.
Once the bickering returned (hey you didn’t expect 3 siblings to be angels, did you?), I suggested we find a park with some good climbing frames. A short while later, we did so and then could find me looking more than a little worried. The kids had created their own mini-climbing-Olympics timing each of them to clamber to the top of the wire frame. I can honestly say that I was more than a little nervous that as the time went on and they were getting tired, that a fall was going to occur. Oooh but each were determined to better the other’s score, they’re very very competitive!
Anyway, no injuries were sustained and soon we headed home to get changed and ready to meet up with Mum and Dad for a curry dinner.
I was sad to see them leave on Sunday but so very grateful to have had them to stay and spend time with them all. The kids (although exuberant and exhausting) are great fun and a joy to be around. I also cherish my times with Jen and Spence – just wish there was always more time to truly catch up.