I honestly believe there are not many places in the world better than Edinburgh at festival time. Now, I may be a little biased as I had a Scottish grandfather and lived in this great city for about a year back in 2002. This would be the first time I had visited since then and to say I was excited was like saying Usain Bolt was an ok runner (did I just compare myself to Usain Bolt?). We were also looking forward to being in an English speaking country for the first time in 6 months. The kids were excited that they could talk to other kids. I explained that the accent is a little funny up here and they may not understand everything, I then gave them a slang lesson. Nae bother pal, I dinnae ken, aye. They were as prepared as they could be, even though Evie still objected to being called a wee lassie. Ez was super excited that she could finally read all the ingredients at a supermarket. No longer would I be able to get away with pretending I didn’t know what sugar was in a certain language, caught out like Sum Yung Sook* on Border Patrol.
*not his real name
We would have a few action packed days in the Scottish Capital.
We went to some great festival shows for kids: –
- A weird Korean flying-elephant-in-a-bathtub stage show, (Piper was mesmerised and loved it); Mary Poppins; a Scottish Ceilidh workshop; and Bedtime Stories – a fantastic performance where we actually watched from a big family bed (I may or may not have fallen asleep). We also went to a bit of a crazy Frozen spinoff called Defrosted. Evie laughed her head off. Piper was mesmerised and loved it. During the show one of the performers got a few kids up on stage to sing Let It Go. She would go between each child to get them to sing a line or so into the microphone. I think Piper was as nervous as a pregnant Nun and when the microphone was put in front of her instead of belting out “the cold never bothered me anyway” just inserted a “hi, I’m Piper” with a big grin on her face.
Piper and Evie – How was I meant to know. On Australian Idol everyone introduces themselves first. I don’t see what the big deal is.
We also spent hours around the city visiting their awesome free museums and watching street performers, singers, acrobats and magicians. Piper would always manage to duck through the crowd to be front and centre. More often than not she would be the magician’s helper (and the but of a couple of their jokes).
The kids also had their first real introduction to a good old British pub. We had a couple pub lunches and dinner and never have I been prouder than when Piper responded to my suggestion that we should get dinner with “ok, where is the nearest pub?”
The weather was ordinary but that made the pub an even better option.
From here it was a 4 hour train journey down to London (which took 7 ½ hours due to an accident!) to stay with our generous friends the Goodmans in Paddington (they gave up 1/2 their house to Hurricane Masso, also known as Evie). Here we took London by storm.
- We checked out the parks – Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Kew Gardens, Park Ji Sung (football joke)
- Played tourists and checked out the Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, and plenty of red double decker buses.
- Went to the first football game as a family. Championship QPR vs Preston (only the best for my girls). Piper cheered on her team, Evie spent a lot of the game wrapping her Barbie in a QPR magazine. I also went to another game (Arsenal vs Liverpool, 4-3, great game at The Emirates Stadium).
Piper and Evie – Who are ya, who are ya, who are ya. Quick question though. Dad got to see Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool. We got QPR vs Preston? Doesn’t love us much hey!
- We visited the Tower of London and chatted up some Beefeaters (very friendly) and some palace guards (not quite as friendly). We saw the Crown Jewels while we were there and the kids were quite impressed. Evie now wants her own crown just like Lizzy.
- Saw Allan and Steve (The Meerkats) and friends at the London Zoo. We went the local’s way by catching the canal boat to Little Venice (yes, who knew).
- Came 7th (out of 7) in a pub quiz. I’d like to blame my former work mate Lauren and Jess for our poor showing but to be honest it was more Ez.
Piper and Evie – WTF? They went out without us. They didn’t tell us that. There will be a mutiny!
- Visited Brick Lane markets, Borough Markets, Old Spitafields Market and ate our way through plenty of delicious treats (just for something different). Also tried to sample a few beers around London with our host and holidaying mates from work.
We also spent a few nights right down south in Cornwall, where we stayed in a real life authentic Mongolian Yurt (except we weren’t in Mongolia). It was a pretty cool, with a camp stove outside to cook dinners, a campfire to keep warm and toast marshmallows and a compost toilet to toilet in.
We went fruit picking – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, dangleberries – it was fun, the berries were amazing and the kids loved it.
Piper and Evie – I’ll tell you what we love. We love when you go to the shops and bring us back some food. Not having to go pick it ourselves. We are not cavemen.
From here we explored the best of England’s beaches (give me an Aussie beach anyway). It was quite funny when we first rocked up to the beach. From a distance I could see a lot of swimmers wearing full length black swimsuits. I thought there were a lot of people were burkinis (it’s been a pretty hot topic in Europe of late). On closer inspection they weren’t burkinis, they were full length steamer wetsuits. Even in summer the water is so cold that wetsuits are necessary.
Piper and Evie – Why would anyone possibly think a big tent looking up to the stars to England is a good idea. Note to mum and dad. The only stars we’re interested in is 5 stars baby.
We travelled back to London via a quick overnight pub in Somerset for a couple more nights before boarding the plane for the 3rd and final leg in our round the world adventure. I’m writing this post, sitting in Brooklyn, New York, the start of our USA and Central American journey. More about that next time.