The plane journey goes relatively smoothly. Only one tantrum from T on the plane and a few flings on the floor on the long trek from the plane to passport control, one glass of tomato juice spilled all over T and ranch dressing down my leg. Could be worse. No? The entertainment system fails miserably and after a 20 minute reboot and then settling the kids, I don’t get to see the movie I’d promised myself after all. I’ve now seen the first 50 minutes of Invicta. Very frustrating. Amazing movie, must get to see the end of it v soon!
Virgin Atlantic’s gluten free dinner gets the thumbs up. C has grilled chicken breast on a bed of rice with a side of vegetables, some salad, a rice cake and a bowl of fresh fruit. I have ‘dinner envy’, as I chow through some bland chicken korma and turn my nose up at a weird looking pudding. T has the kids meal and loves it, but it is a gluten lovers delight. Breakfast isn’t quite such a roaring success. Luckily c sleeps until landing and doesn’t realize that he missed out on the only gluten free option of 6 little pieces of fruit.
Emotions run high as we drive through London in a black cab. So many memories. So much familiarity. It’s great to get to our final destination. My dad’s flat is in a perfect location and once we’ve navigated the stairs with our luggage, it feels good to be here. We have a wander around the local shops in the afternoon. French Connection – Ooo. Space NK – Ahhh and succumb to nothing but two big tubs of frozen yoghurt with berries that we eat outside at a café while we watch the world go by. We note a lot of people with cigarettes – much to C’s dismay and I pick up on the ‘banter’. How I’ve missed banter!
Later that evening, the banter truly does arrive! My friends have just flown in from Dublin and they appear across the road from the flat, waving up at us as we eat dinner. I see my 9 month old god daughter for the first time. Such a delight.
The next day we ‘do London’ with a crew of good and truly missed friends. We negotiate the tube and tick off changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, dip the boys weary hot toes in the fountain at Trafalgar square and head over the Thames to the manmade beach at the Greek Festival near Gabriels Wharf. Funny – didn’t really see ourselves sitting on a beach in London. Oh – and there’s a drink or two in the pub along the way. By that evening, the kids are talking about ‘the Pub’ as if they’ve been going to pubs every day for their entire lives.
I realize that there really is no need to stress about the g-freeness of this part of the trip. My dad has stocked up the cupboards with delicious gluten free bread, pasta, cornflakes, cookies and lots of fresh fruit and veg. While out, it dawns on me that baked potatoes are the perfect gluten free lunch, and there’s never far to go to find a baked potato in Central London.
As we go to sleep we talk about our favorite part of the day. T’s is going on the Tube. C isn’t sure as there were so many cool parts of the day and for me it was catching up with my friends. We fall asleep quickly, prepared for another 1am breakfast at the kitchen table.