F&G have a special talent, quite likely shared by all children, of brilliantly choosing THE worst moment possible to ask for one more thing/food/snack/drink/attention/whatever. They exhibit this ability at least three or four times daily, but occasionally they totally outdo themselves by picking the worst moment, in the longest, most stressful of days.
Yesterday was a perfect example, if you can bear with me, I'll give you a quick summary:
We had an early and rather rushed start, we drove the last hour to Strasbourg and managed to squeeze in an Ikea visit for some meatballs/wifi/work/boxes/hooks, accompanied by the usual stress of paying and leaving. Not sure why we're always stressed when we leave Ikea considering how often we've been there on this trip, but we are. No matter how short a visit and how chilled things are over lunch. Perhaps we pick up the stress of the other shoppers?!?
Following Ikea we then spent a frustrating hour or so trying to manoeuvre the bus around Strasbourg looking for the most central place to park for the night. In the end we gave up and settled on the car park of the youth hostel on the edge of town. I'd expected the hostel to have good transport links into town so we could run in and enjoy the xmas market, but apparently not! So back in the bus and off we went into town to park near a tram stop.
I thought we'd negotiated the tram rather well, apart from going one stop too far, but it turned out I'd taken the slightly wrong line. While the results appeared innocuous (we walked back to the previous stop without issue), in fact it completely threw by mental orientation of the city for the rest of the night. I hate being lost/disorientated, and usually I have an extremely good grasp of where I am, even in new places. Particularly if I have access to maps on my phone - did I mention I'd blown my data usage for the month a couple of days ago? Oh yes! no maps unless I borrow Ali's phone.
So finally we're in Strasbourg, take a breath Ian. Lets go and have a look around and have some Christmas fun - many of you will know how much I like xmas.
We arrive at a bridge to enter the heart of the town and it seems like every policeman in France and a decent chunk of the army are on patrol or searching bags before letting you progress. As Ali put it; in some ways you feel safer with the army around you, but at the same time it's worrying that they're required. Turns out Xmas markets are a potential target for ISIS inspired plots this year and one was foiled with nine suspects arrested in Strasbourg over the last couple of days!
Security passed, into town we head, Strasbourg is a beautiful city, the cathedral is stunning and the little France area is fantastic. At Christmas they go ALL OUT! There are seven or eight markets, everywhere is decorated it's pretty impressive. If Ali and I were there as a couple we'd have had lovely time walking around, unfortunately we had company. F&G did nothing too out of the ordinary for them really (crazy scooting, zooming ahead, swinging scooters around their heads, refusing to scoot, wanting to scoot, wanting to be pulled, stopping randomly in front of us, cutting people up, handles needing adjusting, blocking entire streets, falling over doing tricks, etc...) it's just that this town was rammed full of people - stressful!!
Meanwhile D, due to an out of routine day had barely napped and missed her normal dinner. By fiveish, she'd had enough, and more importantly had had enough of the buggy. I spent what felt like the last hour in town carrying her, Ali's phone in hand trying to guide us back to the tram stop. Arghhhhh!!!!!
After some panicked checking and rechecking that we were catching the right tram, in the right direction, I finally realised what went wrong on our earlier tram journey and the disorientation started to lift at last. We got off, and having left everything late we went to buy dinner from the shops. Apart from a massive queue, and the kids trying to engage Ali and I in a discussion on the merits of buying some sweets, the worst that happened was being accused of shop lifting. I denied it and thankfully they didn't push it (not guilty by the way).
Time to go back to the bus! Take a call from the US, Then drive to the youth hostel, feed D set the bus up for dinner, cook dinner for F&G, then for us, eat, call London, clear up, convince kids to get in pyjamas/brush teeth/toilet, make bed for F&G and do the bedtime routine.
AT LAST I get myself ready for bed, get in b.....
Daaaaaad can I have a drink of water? Me too?
Scream just about bottled up, all that escapes is a very large sigh.
I get a cup fill it, hand it to G. I get it back, walk over to F and hand it over and in ssssssllllloooowww motion it drops to the floor spilling its contents everywhere!
The scream/roar/daddy tantrum was finally released...