Day Two with baby Catrin started at 8 am again, necessitating another 6 am alarm. When we left the flat about 10 am, it was another warm and sunny day and I decided that today we would stay on London’s South Bank which is always so vibrant in summer but especially so during this period of the Olympics and Paralympics.
We started at a branch of “EAT” where Catrin had a banana and smoothie. Then we worked our way through the throngs of tourists past the London Eye and towards the Houses of Parliament on the opposite side of the River Thames. Our destination was the Sea Life London Aquarium. Like the London Zoo, this is expensive (£20 for a daily entry) but there is less to see than the zoo, so I bought an annual ticket for £45 so that I can take Catrin back for shorter visits over the next 12 months.
Catrin loved it all, but especially the colourful tropical fish, the huge sharks, and the diving penguins and she took her turn stroking a star fish. In the shop, she chose a furry penguin cuddly toy that she made very clear she just had to have.
Afterwards we had our lunch outside on the terrace area of the Royal Festival Hall. When Catrin heard some music at 1 pm, we had to explore the source, a little further along the Riverside Terrace. It turned out to be a show called “The Garden”, a project which was part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. What thrilled Catrin was that four of the performers were on four-meter-high sway poles and she was mesmerised by these actors speaking, singing and doing acrobatic acts so far up the in the air, but holding her up for 20 minutes so that she could see the performance was hard work for granddad – she is so heavy (what do her parents feed her?).
I decided that it was time for Catrin to have a sleep and a change, so we headed back to her flat. In fact, she fell asleep before we got home, so I let her sleep in the buggy in the flat and changed her – a very smelly nappy – when she woke. Suitably refreshed (well, Catrin anyway), we set off again. Her dad had recommended some fountains at More London. On the way, we stopped at the cafe at Southwark Cathedral where for the first time I bought us an ice cream cornet. I wasn’t sure whether Catrin was supposed to eat ice cream but she absolutely adored it and I was allowed to eat only a few licks of ice cream and none of the cornet.
Now More London is a long way east of Catrin’s flat (almost as far as Tower Bridge) and there are some steep steps along the riverside walk (friendly people helped me with the buggy) and, once we reached More London, we found that the fountains were only operating on minimal power, but Catrin delighted in exploring the sources of water and paddling in a water trough that is supposed to be simply a design feature of the office location. She befriended other kids of different nationalities and stages of dress.
By the time we were back at the flat and Rich, it was around 6 pm so the little girl and I had been together another fun-filled 10 hours. As I moved to leave the flat, Catrin cried and I had to pull a funny face to stop her tears (what do you mean, my face is always funny?). My pedometer had clocked up another 24,000 steps – even harder work when one is pushing a buggy and sometimes carrying a baby girl as well. Boy, do I need a rest. But, wow, what a great time we had.
Catrin is becoming very expressive and developing a vocabulary (favourite words with me: “Eat. Eat. More. More.”). She has a delightfully impish sense of humour and is such a great joy to be with. She has always been such a happy and healthy baby and Rich & Emily are doing a wonderful job as parents. I am always ready to help out if I am free.
“Do you think I look cool in these glasses?
Will you take me on the London Eye one day?”
“Did you really work in Parliament once, granddad?.”
Maybe one day. I’ll go into politics like mummy and daddy.”
“Are the penguins inside the aquarium this big then?”
“They would be good with French fries.”
“I love my new penguin furry toy.”
“Sorry, granddad, but I want it all.”
“Explain to me again why Tower Bridge now
has three agitos instead of five rings.”
“This is fun – thanks for bringing me here.”
“If that kid can go topless, so can I.”