During Michelle’s second week with us, I was working so can’t give a lot of detail on what Michelle and Andre did, but I do know they went to the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, as well as the deer park behind Greenwich Hill (although didn’t see any deer apparently). She then left to join the others in Belgium. The following week we had Amelia – a girl who was in my Adventure Club (primary school youth group) group when she was in about grade 6 – visit us with her friend Erin en route to their European adventure. They stayed with us for two nights before continuing on their trip up north.
A week and a half later, Mum, Dad, Michelle and Christine finished their touring around continental Europe and returned to London for two nights to plan the UK leg of their trip. We decided that Andre and I would join them at their second destination – first they would head to Brighton for a night, then go on to Portsmouth. We would head straight to Portsmouth the same day they went to Brighton, in order to spend two nights there and see a bit of the town, and would meet up with them when they arrived.
On their second night back, Mum, Dad, Andre and I went to see Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap while Christine and Michelle saw Les Mis. The Mousetrap was a bit slow at times and a little predictable, but still entertaining. It is the longest-running theatre production in London (in the world, I think) and I must admit I don’t know how it has lasted this long. I had never heard of it until Mum suggested it when planning their trip, but upon reading about it after we saw it, I think a lot of its appeal is in the very fact that it is the longest-running play. Which makes you wonder if it really should still be going. The theatre was interesting though – very old – but we were in the back row of seats which were pretty uncomfortable. The back rests were extremely upright and there was very little leg space. Also, why do theatres only ever sell Pringles? I would prefer some good old Walkers or McCoys crisps.
The next day I went with Dad to pick up their hire car from the Thrifty in Greenwich. It took a lot longer than anticipated. First we couldn’t even find the business. Turns out we had walked straight past it – Dad was expecting to have to turn onto another road so was looking for street signs, while I was distracted by their neighbour which had enormous piles of fire-engine-red coppers logs out the front (apparently some kind of artwork). We ended up calling them and once we mentioned being just past the place with the fire-engine-red coppers logs they knew exactly where we were and directed us back towards them. But then they didn’t have a car ready for us anyway. The car we were meant to have hadn’t been returned on time. There was only one other car in their yard suitable for us and it took them forever to get it ready. They also required Mum and Dad’s return flight information which Dad didn’t have on him, so I called Mum at home and asked her to email it through to Thrifty. After what must have been close to an hour of phone calls and emails and waiting around, they finally had the car ‘ready’ but it wasn’t fuelled up yet. Instead of making us wait longer, we drove with them to the fuel station to fill up the car so we could take it straight from the fuel station, and a second car followed behind to take the driver back to Thrifty.
Finally we had the car and could head home. I only gave Dad one wrong direction (which, in my defence, was thanks to the fact the map on my phone had spun out weirdly and frozen, so I couldn’t even see the right part of the map and only realised once I looked up that we weren’t heading the right way), but that was easily fixed, and aside from some stop-start traffic for a while, got home easily enough. By the time we got home, the rest of them were pretty much packed ready to go.
Once they left, Andre and I were left to pack our own stuff and head off for Portsmouth! Fortunately two nights one and a half hours away is an easy trip to pack for. In about an hour and a half we were headed out the door ourselves towards Waterloo Station to catch the train to Portsmouth.