Two days with my special young friend Joshua

In the last few months, Vee and I have hosted stays from a  number of youngsters. We’ve had our granddaughter Catrin (three and three-quarters) – see account here; we’ve had Vee’s great niece Yasmin (8) and great nephew Lucas (almost 6) – see account here; and this week – half term in the south of England – we looked after Joshua (seven and a half ) for a couple of days and nights.

Vee and I have known Joshua’s Chinese parents for almost a decade and half and we are as close as family. Indeed, a few years ago, all five of us went to China for three weeks together  – see account here.

Joshua & Roger ready to hit London town
Joshua is very, very keen on Lego, so I began his time with us by taking him to the exhibition in the east end of London called “The Art Of The Brick”. This comprises over 85 remarkable art sculptures created from more than a million Lego bricks by the American artist Nathan Sawaya. Then we went to “Hamleys” on Regent Street, which is billed as the finest toy shop in the world, where we bought a Lego construction kit. It was of some kind of space fighter and, although it was categorised as for kids of 8-14, Joshua had no problem making it up. Finally that day we returned to Harrow and went to see a movie in 3D called “The Book Of Life” which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Joshua with his Lego purchase
Next day, Joshua & I headed back in central London to visit the London Aquarium. I have been here many times, including with Catrin and with Yasmin & Lucas, but it was Joshua’s first time there. He loved it and we spent an hour and a half there. He got to touch a star fish and see sharks and penguins. After lunch at a Turkish restaurant, we took a black cab east along the River Thames to view some famous London sights: “HMS Belfast”, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London.  At the Tower, we saw the wonderful and moving commemoration of the 888,246 British servicemen and women who died in the First World War. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” after a poem written by an unknown soldier, this is a collaboration between ceramic artist Paul Cummins and set designer Tom Piper with one poppy representing each fallen hero.

“Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”
When Joshua’s mother came to collect him, she asked: “Have you been helping Vee around the house?” “No”‘ he replied; “I’ve been too busy having fun.” So I enquired of him: “How much fun have you had on a scale of 1 to 10?” “Ten”, he responded.

Joshua was a joy to have with us – so well-behaved and no trouble at all. We are so blessed to have such little ones in our lives to keep us young at heart.


  • Alex

    Thank you so much Roger and Vee for looking after him for us plus for expanding his views and knowledges.

    Truly appreciated it.

    Lots of Love!

  • Michael Grace

    Oh, the pleasures of being 7-1/2 again and visiting the Darlington household.


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