B-Team News 20 Feb – 26 Feb 2023

I love driving and road trips but I am still getting accustomed to driving in the UK again after 6 years away. Thank god for navigation in cars, but figuring out which lane to be in is a little stressful at times. We took a drive out to Kent to visit Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn. The little roads in the country have no pullover space whatsoever, a 60mph speed limit, they are really a single lane road pretending to be two lanes, plus there are way too many big trucks driving along it for my comfort. It was disconcerting. Somehow, we made it to the castle with only a small amount of contact between the twiggy branches of brush and my passenger side door.

Speaking of driving in London. Make one wrong turn (because you end up in the wrong lane) and you are giving your guests a tour of Tower Bridge and Southwark. Not a big deal, you meant to do that, right? The fee involved for the “congestion zone” mishap is £15. I suppose it’s cheaper than hiring a tour guide. “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament…”

On the topic of fees, Heathrow Airport charges you to drive in and drop off or pick up a passenger. Whoa! I have never seen an airport do this. I believe they are trying to discourage the use of cars and suggest everyone take public transport. We forgot to pay the £5 pick up charge when collecting my family from the airport. We are now expecting a £40 charge in the mail. Like the congestion charge, you have to go in to their website and pay when you go home. I forgot to do this, what can I say? haha! After having gone through this, I have learnt that it can be paid in advance of going. Will remember this for the future.

My year 8 daughter had her first parent teacher conferences this week at school. A couple of weeks ago my year 11 daughter had hers. For the year 11’s, the teachers basically didn’t even make eye contact with us parents. We were observers of their criticism and/or praise for her. With the year 8’s, we were actually able to participate. It was nice to meet the teachers in person and hear their thoughts. We know our kids, so most of what we heard was to be expected. I found it a pleasant experience to be surprised by some of their comments on participation and academic achievement. My year 8 doesn’t share too much and definitely has to be reminded to do any homework, so a little praise was well received. I also found it amusing that the most critical of teachers (in a nice way) was digital technology (art) and Religious Education. Two subjects I almost didn’t book an interview with because in my opinion, who cares.

12 hours before illness

Our dog is sick. I have no idea why, some tummy bug. Dogs are severely dumb. They eat anything off the ground and stick their noses way too close to things they shouldn’t. They get sick, recover, and then do it again. There is no learning, no memory. So now he has a stomach issue for going on three days. Sigh. We have cleaned up more nastiness in three days than we have since we’ve had babes in diapers.

Sunny (and rainy) walk along the Regent’s Canal with Hubster led to a spontaneous lunch at Chingon Mexican restaurant in Kensal Rise. A very cute restaurant with yummy tacos and traditional Mexican fare. We were cheap dates and shared a starter and two mains for under £25, it was great!

My youngest had a friend sleep over on Saturday night. We were introduced to a fun and new (for us) boardgame called Articulate. You work in teams to describe a clue word to your partner in order for them to guess what it is. The more clues you get through, before the timer runs out, the better. It’s fast paced and really fun. Sunday morning found us strolling Camden Market looking at sweeties and cheap jewellery before we ended up in an “old time” photo studio. The girls had an absolute blast in their fancy dress. The photographer took about 50 different photos of the girls in varying poses with an assortment of props. The hardest part was choosing the photo. Of course, that’s where the get you because you pay per photo printed. It was good fun though.

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