This morning Tammy and my Mom took off for Liverpool. When we were
looking at our trip over here, and when my Mom would come over, we found
out there is a Beatle’s Festival in Liverpool this week. They took an
early bus ride, followed by a very late overnight ride back to go see
it. Mazie and I had the whole day to ourselves!
I hadn’t done a great job of planning out our day, but it came together
We started our day at the London
Zoo. Zoo’s are always the old
standby for Dad’s Day with the Kids and I’m not too proud to use it. A
quick trip to the Transport for London
Journey Planner and I was able
to figure out the right bus connections to get us there, and that it
would take about an hour. They were right, an hour later we arrived at
The London Zoo is a cool destination if only for being the oldest zoo
in the world. According to
Wikipedia it opened on April 27, 1828.
Given this long heritage, I was a little curious how the zoo would shape
up. On our trip out west we stopped at the Woodland Park
Zoo in Seattle. The Woodland Park Zoo opened in
1899, again from
Wikipedia. London’s Zoo was already 71 years in the running at the time.
More impressive to me is that the Woodland Park Zoo owns the domain
zoo.org. I digress. The point is that the
Woodland Park Zoo was completely amazing and reset my expectation for
what a zoo could be. I was curious to see how London had adapted over
To say I was disappointed is too far, but I think London could really
use an infusion of investment into the London Zoo. It is massively
improved from the days of gorillas in cement cubes, but it didn’t strike
me as leading in its approach to animal habitats. The London Zoo did
however send a strong conservation message and highlighted some key
roles they have played in zoological research over the years.
All of this was neither here nor there for Mazie of course. She had a
great time, and particularly adored the giraffes. They had three of them
and we watched them for nearly thirty minutes. I asked her if she wanted
to name them and she suggested they were all named “Giraffe-y”. The “-y”
naming convention is a trend lately. We also made a special point to see
the lions and she really loved the butterfly tent. She found the large
birds pretty boring, although I didn’t. They have some pretty huge
vultures at the zoo.
We spent all morning there and ended the day with a run on the Zoo
Carousel. Mazie insisted on going, which was surprising and new. She
previously hasn’t been a big fan of them, but not today. She really
At the end of our zoo trip we debated taking the bus or train back to
the apartment for quiet time. I wanted to take the bus, Mazie insisted
on the train. Since it was her day I obliged and walked a mile to the
nearest tube station only to find that for a 5 hours slice of time, only
on Sundays, particularly right when we showed up, they don’t allow
inbound traffic there. So, another 10 minute walk to the next station
down the line and we headed back.
I tried to convince Mazie to take a good nap because we had a special
afternoon planned. We were going to High Tea at the Orangery!
When thinking about our special Dad-Daughter day in London I wanted to
do something that was local and a first. It hit me pretty quick that it
would be fun to go and have High Tea together. I had no idea what the
entailed as I had never done High Tea before 1. We had heard on a
tour the other day that if you “tea at the Ritz” men must wear a jacket
and tie. I have neither along, and that wouldn’t be fun for Mazie so I
started doing some searches.
I quickly found that High Tea is actually a pretty kid friendly thing at
the right places. I ran across a site that mentioned that the
at Kensington Palace offered
a special “Tea for Kids” and it was casual. Perfect!
After Mazie’s non-nap we took off for our first High Tea. I wasn’t real
sure how to get where we were going. The tube wasn’t close, and I wasn’t
wanting to negotiate the buses so Mazie and I flagged a black cab and
made our way to Kensington Palace. We found the Orangery straight on and
started our tea.
Mazie’s “Tea for Kids” was a good sized glass of apple juice (more on
that later) along with the typical High Tea cucumber and cream cheese
sandwich. She wouldn’t touch the sandwich, but loved the apple
juice. We substituted her orange sponge cake for a slice of chocolate
cake as well.
I had the traditional tea and really liked it. We had a great time
sitting and chatting about our tea party and how much fun we had had at
the zoo. The tea took just the right amount of time, and some coloring
kept Mazie content.
After tea we went into the gardens at Kensington Palace and looked
around, followed by some full on running in the park surrounding the
Too Much Sugar
It was time to head back home and Mazie and I discussed our mode of
transportation. She suggested that we get a cab again because “the guy
that worked there was nice”. I was eager to agree but that the £10 could
be easily saved if we just looked. We poked around and figured out it
was a short bus ride to Knightsbridge where we would be able to get the
Picadilly line back to Earl’s Court and be two blocks from the
While we were waiting for the bus Mazie informed me that her stomach
hurt. This is not normal. She doesn’t get upset stomachs as a normal
course of things. I asked her if it hurt a lot and she informed me it
At that point I ran through her food for the day and the lack of any
proper nutritional oversight became apparent. Cereal and fruit for
breakfast was the high point. A snack of mini-donuts followed by a
waffle with Nutella on the go at the zoo for lunch was not a good
choice. And then high tea with a huge glass of apple juice followed by
chocolate cake. Uh oh!
It didn’t seem like I had any options. We got on the bus and went a few
stops. She reported that her stomach still hurt a lot. I figured it was
maybe too much running around with a full stomach and was hopeful that
it would settle down. She was calmer than normal on the bus but seemed
okay. We made it off the bus and then walked two blocks to the
Knightsbridge tube station and headed down for the train.
She still wasn’t feeling good but I kept asking how she was doing and
she said it hurt but was getting better. Then it happened. On the
platform for the Picadilly train at Knightbridge, heading east, at about
6 p.m., she started puking up all that sugar.
One, two, three and finally four good size heaves of puke came up. Puke
was all over the floor, on her shoes, on her pants, on her shirt – on
my pants, on my shirt, a little on my camera. I had one single napkin
in my pocket that I used when she gave the first explosion and was
completely soaked and covered in puke by the fourth. The tube has no
bathrooms, no trash cans, no nothing.
So, I asked if she was done and we walked to the other side, down the
whole length of the platform, back over to the eastbound side on the
other end and boarded the next train. Both of us had a fair amount of
puke on us standing in this absolutely packed train full of nicely
dressed people heading to a concert at Earl’s Court.
But, hey, what are you going to do.
We got the rest of the way on the train with no more puking and Mazie
reported that she felt good now. I asked her several times if she still
wanted her dinner of frozen Macaroni and Cheese at home and she
confirmed that she did every time. She gobbled it down actually and I
think it settled her stomach a bit. The poor kid suffered through absent
minded meal planning but still had a grin.
We had a stellar day filled with fun at every corner. No temper tantrums
and things went really smooth. Plus we got to have our first High Tea.
What a great day!
1: There is some debate on this. I’m told by Alice Kim that I did
indeed have High Tea on a business trip to London around the year 2000.
I have no recollection of this.
TODO: Add photos.