London – Day 11 – July 20, 2019
Another early morning fire alarm! Didn’t faze the boys though, so that’s good.
We woke Zane up with the traditional singing of the birthday song. Breakfast at Gregg’s per his request. He asked for a different type of pastry and I was impressed that he was branching out, he took a bite, though, and wasn’t sure. I told him to try a bit more and he did, turns out he really liked it and that’s what he ordered the rest of the time we are there!
When we got to King’s Cross Station where we were meeting the NZ Blacketts, Jude gave Zane his birthday present which was a coupon book. There were coupons for hugs, kindness, winning an argument and an interest-free loan. If that’s not brotherly love, I don’t know what is! (Later in the day Jude changed the interest-free loan to some actual money).
Met up with the NZ Blacketts for a look at Platform 9 ¾ and the Harry Potter Store. Zane hasn’t read the books or seen the movies yet, but he’s played the Lego Video Game so he was quite keen to check it out. You can get your photo taken at the Platform 9 ¾ cart in the wall thing, but it was an hour long wait and he wasn’t quite that keen to do it. We explored the shop though which was crowded, but fun to see all the HP stuff. Zane spotted something that he really wanted, but it was quite expensive. Colin quickly looked online and found that we could get it elsewhere for half the price.
Then we were off to Novelty Automation which was a collection of quirky home-made mechanical arcade machines that included an Alien Probe, i-Zombie, Instant Eclipse, Instant Weight Loss, A Micro Holiday, Pet or Meat and many others. We spent quite a bit of time here trying all the machines and everyone getting a turn to do different machines, thanks to the NZ Blacketts buying lots of tokens. Zane did the Auto Frisk and Alien Probe and both times got a bit of a surprise! They were a bit over-familiar!
We carried on the International Magic Shop. It’s a small store front and for most of the time we were there, we were the only customers. The shop keepers spent a lot of time with us showing us different tricks and when we finally made our decisions on what to buy, they took the time to explain the tricks and show the kids how to do them. It’s amazing and I have to say, a little disappointing to learn some of the secrets – there are often no secret trap doors or “magic”, it often is just slight of hand or cleverly disguised tricks. That’s not to say it’s not really, really cool, but when you’ve been blown away by a trick and then discover it’s simple secrets, it’s an odd feeling. Nonetheless, this was a very cool stop and we love all the tricks we got.
Then we were on the bus to Leicster Square. We got to ride one of the newer double decker buses that is made to look like one of the old buses. Zane had chosen MOD Pizza for his birthday meal. It did not disappoint and we really enjoyed our meal. The NZ Blacketts gave Zane a new game called Saboteur for his birthday.
After lunch we headed to Covent Garden to have a look around. They have a great market and the boys saw some cool clocks including a Fibonacci clock that was really interesting. We didn’t spend much time here and carried on to a couple of spots that I had read about on Pinterest in the Covent Garden area. The first one was Seven Dials which is basically a little roundabout with a spire in the middle of it and seven streets coming off of it. It was noteworthy, but not worth spending much time there. Then it was on to Neal’s Yard. This turned out to be a really sweet little spot, a courtyard surrounded by brightly painted shops. It was nice to sit down and enjoy a few quiet moments and then plan the rest of the day. Spotted a Blue Plaque and discovered that Monty Python had their production offices here from 1976-1987.
There are Blue Plaques and other historical markers all over London – keep your eyes open and you never know what you might discover.
We headed to Whitechapel and I went to the supermarket while everyone else headed to Weaver’s Field so the kids could run around and play. I bought a Flake cake which Zane had seen earlier in the week and requested for his birthday cake. I also got some soda including some Dandelion and Burdock and some plastic champagne flutes.
We laid out the birthday treats, sang Happy Birthday, and toasted Zane on his 10th birthday. It was lovely to have some quiet time to chat and do some catching up.
Then it was back to Stratford and a cheeky stop at Argos (basically Amazon, but they have the things in store) to buy Zane’s birthday present. Spent a bit of time looking in the Lego store as well.
Back at the hotel, after much ceremony, we gave Zane his Harry Potter Flying Snitch and he was thrilled. The boys practiced their magic tricks and then we played a game of The Saboteur.
Happy Birthday Zane!