I have just realized that I have not said anything about this years holidays and - given my need for posting material- I thought this would be a good time to detail our adventures. We started off early as I needed to be in London on business at the end of June so we all went together and stayed in one of the office apartments just off Bishopsgate - actually a really good location as we were right next to Spitalfields and the now buzzing Hoxton/Eastern City area. The apartment was a little cramped and had bars on the window (so it will forever be known by V. as the prison) but was right next door to an excellent restaurant which did a terrific breakfast - the best sausages I think I have ever tasted. Whilst I was at work the kids and E explored London - including the Globe Theatre and the Monument. The proximity to the office did however cause a slightly embarrassing moment when I had popped out to Brick Lane to pick up a curry for the evening meal and bumped into a couple of colleagues out for a quiet drink - it would not have been so bad had I not been wearing my (pink) work shirt, blue shorts and some flip flops - looking like a refugee from some kind of preppie advertising agency. In any event, it proved to be a good base to get to the office and to explore London. We had intended to go to the Imperial War Museum at Elephant and Castle (in fact I did go there) but it was unfortunately closed so we went instead to the Sir John Soane Museum - a perennial favorite of mine but the first time the kids had been in and I think they were suitably impressed (if a little unnerved by the sepulchral light in the lower floors illuminating the ancient Egyptian artifacts).
In addition to the curry from Brick Lane (excellent), we also had a great crab meal at one of the restaurants in the old Spitalfields fruit market and it was also nice to be able to stroll among the shops and boutiques - it has certainly changed since I used to work at Liverpool Street over 15 years ago! As E. went shopping, I also took the kids to St Paul's Cathedral and persuaded them to accompany to the balcony all the way to the top despite the pouring rain - notwithstanding the overcast day (the only one we had) the views were great although I think A. was not that happy about how high we were. In all we had 5 days in London and on the Saturday afternoon (after St Paul's)we went down to Maidstone for a BBQ with C and D - the rest of the family I think we were a little surprised to see us and although it rained a good time was had by all (and since we were inside it was also a chance to catch up with some World Cup footy). We returned to the "Prison" that evening and on Sunday I returned to Dubai and E and the kids carried on down to the West Country to start their holiday proper. Stand by for Part 2.