Half term is a funny time for me; being the only one in the house getting up and out the door, occasionally before the girls have even woken up, all in aid of being on the first possible train home to spend as much of the evening with them as I can. Add in the increasingly dark mornings and it feels like I’m leaving in the middle of the night. And I miss them. When we’re all getting up and out in the morning it doesn’t feel quite so hard to leave. Last week I was working, and then we were tidying but this week has been harder, even if (by virtue of a well planned Friday morning site visit) I’ve managed to be working from home a little more than usual.
So that was two lunches together but this half term we made it three. On the basis that we have done it twice, it is therefore (according to Kitty) a half term tradition that John brings the children up to Birmingham to meet me for lunch one day. We know this because she started asking “when” she was coming to my office, rather than “if”. And if you’re going to have a half term tradition, I can’t think of one I’ll more happily embrace.
They came up to say hi to some of my colleagues, mostly I suspect because once I came in to have a chat with my boss about my return to work post-Pip and he lent them his highlighters to colour with, which they did with gusto – all over themselves – and I suspect they’re hoping for a repeat performance. He was out, but my swivel chair was considered ample substitute.
Birmingham does pretty well for nice places to go for lunch, and you’ll have to trust me that transformation from Birmingham New Street to Grand Central means that the popular choice of “that place in the train station” actually is a lot nicer than it sounds.
Five Guys is sinfully delicious, a fatal blow to any healthy eating kick or bank balance, but if you’re going to do a half term treat you might as well do it properly. We had burgers and chips and strawberry milkshakes that are the right colour of palest pink, and I remembered exactly why I keep planning to bring in a cool bag, order a meal for all of us, and bring it home on the train for a treat. The only thing stopping me is that I’m certain I couldn’t make it home without tucking in first.
But for all the merits of the food, the fun was being together; stealing those treasured extra minutes out of my working day to spend with my very favourite people.
Pip, who is developing a train obsession to rival his love of hockey, arrived clutching a “test print” ticket (a present from the ticket office in Leamington) that he’d been clutching all the way from home and so excited to tell me that he’d been on a “train station”. He asks me every morning what colour train I’m catching so I asked him the same, and the answer came back: “It pink!”. Not unless Chiltern were trialling some new paint jobs it wasn’t – but perhaps he should put it in the suggestion box!
Kitty and Elma, both just as excited about going on the train, had apparently been playing I-spy almost all the way. Kitty’s was mostly based on what was out the window, but Elma’s clues were all “M”; she claims to have been able to see me from at least Solihull, which is remarkably impressive.
It was an hour (and perhaps a smidge but who’s counting) that flew past, and all too soon it was time to head back and leave them to go on to do some vital shopping at Cass Art, and I absolutely loved it.
Roll on next half term.
Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me for The Ordinary Moments