The big day when we go back to the UK on the magic red carpet for a few weeks is fast approaching. I think my brother is more excited about it than anyone else and he has dubbed it T-Day. Every time I talk to him it tells me it is T-Day minus 25 days, or whatever it is.
We went back last November to introduce Thomas to my family and friends, but we are going back again now to take advantage of the fact that Thomas flies (almost) for free until he is 2. Here are some of the things I am looking forward to, and some that I am also dreading.
Friends and family
It goes without saying that the best thing is going to be seeing my folks and my old friends again. It is one thing keeping in touch on Facebook or talking on Skype, but an altogether different thing seeing people face to face. This time around we will hopefully have a few friends come to visit us in Birmingham as well as making it down to London for a couple of days to meet up with various people.
My family is all originally from Ireland and so we are going to be spending a few days in Athenry, Galway this year. It is ages since I was last in Ireland and I am really looking forward to it. My wife was once there when she was about 10 so she is very excited as well. It is going to be brilliant for Thomas as the place we are staying at is also a working farm and so there are lots of cows, sheep, ducks and what have you. If the weather is anything near decent he might well go berserk, but that is ok as there is loads of space for him to go berserk in.
The last couple of times we have been to the UK the weather has been abysmal. My memories of going to Ireland as a kid are of rain, rain and more rain. I remember going into Galway once and it was sunny but we didn’t know what to do as we only had wellies and jumpers, no t-shirts or shorts.
I am just hoping that it doesn’t rain too much. it can be as cold as it likes, if it isn’t raining Thomas can get out in the garden and help granddad dig up some worms. We can also go off and visit parks and go for walks. I have every part of my body crossed for this.
Although the quality of the beer is improving in Brazil, it still has nothing compared to a good pint in a pub. This is perhaps one of the things that I most miss about Britain.
British food has a terrible reputation, but it is totally undeserved. I have a list of things I want to have, including a Balti, a big bag of chips, a visit to Nathaniel’s in Mosley, lunch and beer at The Peacock, a proper breakfast, whatever gems my brother has discovered in the last months and, of course, my mother’s delightful fare.
We went back to the UK last year for a few weeks, so the flight out there doesn’t really hold any fears for me. It is a night flight and we have loads of tricks to entertain him for the 11 hours if he doesn’t sleep all the time. The problem is coming home. My wife can only be away for 2 weeks as she has to teach at university so, when we booked the flight, I thought it would be a great idea if I stayed on an extra week or so. I mean, if you are going to be going all that way and you don’t have to be back for work then why not; it would at last make the grandparents happy. As we get closer to the dat I am beginning to have serious concerns about coming back on my own with a nearly 2 year old but who finds it very difficult to sit down for more that 2 minutes at the best of times. It will be bad for me and for Thomas. It will be even worse for whoever has to sit next to us.
The last time we were in the UK Thomas was only just starting to experiment with different words and sounds. He still managed to pick up some words though, including my brother’s name which he still uses for any white van that he sees. I am hoping that this time he will pick up even more vocabulary while he is exposed to English 24 hours a day.
Did I mention that I am coming back on the plane alone with Thomas? Just think of the beer!
Anyone got any handy hints for flying long haul with a toddler?
Fly with Babies, Toddlers and Kids – Deliciousbaby.com
10 Tips for Flying Alone with Kids – Aintnomomjeans.com