Yesterday, I took my girls to Birmingham to go shopping. Miss 14 has been asking me to take them for ages, but shopping is not really my thing. It takes at least three weeks of mental preparation before I can find the enthusiasm to take a special trip out for the purpose of wandering round shops. Poor deprived children of mine! They don’t get to go very often.
Anyway, after a couple of weeks of putting it off, and a background of guilt that Miss 14 at least is having an incredibly boring and uneventful summer holiday, we went. Miss 16 has had more to do – she was on the NCS scheme for four weeks, which has filled in most of the break nicely, but wanted to come out too, and spend some gift vouchers she had for her birthday. Master 9 did not want to be dragged out, was most indignant that I might plan something for him to do, and just wanted to stay at home on his computer writing his game, so that was where we left him, along with Mr PC, who hates shopping in equal measure.
We decided to take the train. I hate driving, so where there is convenient and affordable public transport, that is my preferred way to travel given that I can’t afford a chauffeur. The train has the added advantage of terminating right in the middle of a shopping centre. Up the escalators, and straight into John Lewis we went. This is where I made my first and most exciting purchase: 4mm circular knitting needles. I would have quite liked to rush straight home and cast on, but never mind, we had other things to do.
Top priority for Miss 14 was to try Bubble Tea at Mee-Cha. I had a sip and it is rather odd. The very wide straw is sufficient to pull the ‘bubbles’ into your mouth, little spheres of fruitiness which burst in your mouth. It wasn’t unpleasant, but not something I would go out searching for.
We had also planned for lunch at Wagamama. Miss 14 was enthusiastic, and Miss 16 had been persuaded she would like something, and as she has an interest in all things Japanese, decided to risk it. I have to admit, I had never been to Wagamama before. Whyever not? It was absolutely delicious. Miss 14 loved it. Miss 16 loved it (that counts as a miracle in our house – and she tried the kimchi!). And I loved it. I am going to have to get a bottle of teriyaki sauce now, and if Miss 16 ever says she doesn’t like anything, drown it in that.
Of course, the food was the most important part of the trip, but we did get some shopping done too! J’ai acheter un beret, leading Mr PC to comment once I got home that all I needed was a string of onions. I already own the stripy shirt. The girls bought some clothes, were disappointed by the sale in Next, but found several things they liked in New Look.
I was all shopped out by the time we had to get the train back. Having a two hour wait if we missed the train was quite an incentive, and we ended up rushing back to the station and getting on the train with a couple of minutes to spare.
I hope that by going a bit further afield with the girls they realise how easy it is, and if they ever decide they need to go to Birmingham they will be able to say, ‘Yes, I know how to do that!’ and go ahead and get themselves there and back. I wonder how many people now spend their entire childhood being ferried from one place to another by parents, and then have no idea how trains or buses work.
It is quite nice, after a day of shopping to sit comfortably on a train, being carried home, while you chat about your purchases. We must do it again sometime, perhaps in about a year when my enthusiasm has renewed itself!