London · To Move · United Kingdom

Watching Greco Roman Wrestling: It Requires a Level of Maturity I Don’t Posess

Greco-Roman Wrestling was my favourite event we watched at the London Excel Centre.  We saw Fencing a few days earlier which was a great experience especially with it being a sport Master 11 and Master 8 both do and have an interest in.  Watching Fencing was great but I’m not a classy kinda gal so the Wrestling won me over.  Give me sweaty, muscle-bound men wrestling each other to determine who’s the buffest over delicate, lean (and very talented) fencers any day!

Before watching this at the Olympics I had never seen Greco-Roman Wrestling live or on t.v so it was a whole new experience for me.  We worked the rules out as we went along and by the end of the afternoon I think we had most of the rules down.

Each match was quick and action packed and with all three weight ranges competing at the same time there was something for every one to see no matter how nose-bleed worthy your seats were (hello me!  we got cheap kids tickets to this event, paying a pound for every year old they were (£11, £8 and £6) so we were the third row from the back).

Greco Roman Wrestling Olympics London 2012

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London · Move Over · The Kidlets · To Move

The Moaning

…and not of the sexy variety.  Moaning about the weather is part of being British and I’ve embraced it whole heartedly.  Ordinarily my complaints about the weather are different to everyone else’s but I think everyone’s cool with that.  I’m a gloomy weirdo who’s fond of the rain, cool weather (10-15 degrees is my favourite!  5-10 degrees whilst sunny is even more glorious, but very rare) and I even adore the snow and ice now that I don’t have to drive in it.

Anywho!  The moaning I’m referring to is over the 2012 London Olympics.  I know there have been big issues over the past 12 or so months (eg. the ticketing and more recently the private security company hired for the games messing up) but all in all I think the Olympics are something to be hugely proud of.  I’m crazy excited about not only living in this wonderful city whilst the games are on but also to be seeing 3 events (albeit not very exiting ones, but hey! we took what we could get).  It makes me want to puff my chest up proud to be a Londoner!

I completely agree that the strain on London’s Transport System is going to be a pain in the behind.  Already travel has become more difficult and we’re still a few days out from the Opening Ceremony but considering the huge amount of tourists who have already started to pour into the city, is it really surprising?  So many times I’ve heard moaning about the Olympics being a huge waste of money and resources and a big disruption to everyone’s lives.  I just don’t get it!  Isn’t it an honour to hold such a huge event in the U.K?  Won’t it bring thousands of tourists who will spend money on accommodation, food, sight-seeing and more?  Isn’t it something to be proud of?  A huge achievement and the opportunity for the U.K to be in the limelight.  Sounds like a positive thing to me.

Yes the adding an Olympic lane business on London’s roads is a disaster just waiting to happen (have you heard that they are ditching some “bus lanes” and painting over them with the silly olympic lane logo? currrraaaazy town!) and I cringe to think about the chaos that is about to ensue.  In the end though those are all obstacles that everyone will work around and it might even be worthy of a giggle in years to come (maybe).  The whole planning process certainly hasn’t been perfect but in the end, we get to host a huge event that will have the worlds eyes looking at London and that’s got to be worth a bit of inconvenience.

Londoners already expect travelling to get a little annoying in the summer time when we’re inundated with tourists.  As a foreigner who was once one of those tourists most of the time they make me smile.  I love seeing them wide-eyed taking in the sights with their map in one hand and camera in the other.  It’s refreshing seeing the little things I take for granted through a visitors eyes.  A little nudge reminding me to appreciate all that London has to offer.

I happily take people’s photo for them when asked and I even kinda love it when someone asks me for directions and I know the way (for the record I’m atrocious with directions but boy do I try!  I can picture it in my head but it comes out of my mouth a bit gobble-dee-gook and I’m sure half the time they smile, nod and ask the next person they see).

Yes certain things annoy the heck out of me (Please, for the love of all things stripey, Stand on the Right when travelling down the escalators!) but all in all it’s part of living in a big city and I’m okay with that.  If anything it makes me feel proud to live here because other people appreciate all those things that drew me to London.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times I curse tourist season. Last week with all the kids in tow I had two run in’s with the crowds whilst just trying to go about our normal routine.  The first time was on the way to the Dentist.  I should have seen that one coming since we had to go via Westminster but the groups of tourists gawking at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament blocking the walk way were frustrating all the same.  The second time was at Baker Street Station on our way to Fencing lessons, the groups mulling about waiting to go into Madame Tussaud’s made my head feel like it was going to explode.  I was a flustered sweaty mess by the time we got to our destination!  I’ve had to accept that sometimes I just have to be rude and loudly excuse myself whilst pushing through groups of people.  It makes me feel a bit mean and rude, but It’s part of living here and one day I imagine these moments will make for fond memories.

Yes, things will be a bit more hectic and over run in the next few months but I’m trying to look on the bright side.  I don’t even like watching sports, or playing them for that matter (unless there’s a who-can-sit-on-their-bottom-the-longest-without-it-going-numb Olympic event?) but hosting the Olympics and showing off this great city to the world feels awesome!

London · Move Over · United Kingdom

Death Stares From Your Children…

…happen when you lump them in a large crowd beside the Thames and then break the news to them that we’ll be waiting 2 hours.  A tedious 2 hour wait for the chance to see the Queen and the Royal Family heading down the Thames in the flotilla celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!

The boats in front of us were filled with lucky people (slightly richer people?) who had paid for a much better view.  We were happy with our free view amongst the crowd.  Sure I hate crowds almost as much as seeing the number on the scale go up instead of down but the atmosphere was kinda fun.  Crazy peeps dressed in Red, White and Blue donning flags and funny masks of the royal family whilst boozing it up in the rain.  How much more British can you get?

All in all it was a great experience.  Yes we would have seen more in front of our t.v screen but it felt like we were part of something standing out in the rain with thousands of other eager onlookers!

There was however one down side and it came in the form of a middle-aged woman.  Skip this next bit if you like, it’s purely a bit of after-the-fact venting!

First, take note of the woman behind Master 11 with her feet shoved right in between his feet (brown shoes, grey and pink striped pants) and her raised knee (I didn’t notice this at the time).

…now take a look at how much space she had behind her to “take a step back”.  The only thing behind her is an older gentlemen’s camera case (minus his camera).

…and let me tell you, in the crowds along the river bank yesterday she was one of the few who could move in any direction other than with the ebb and flow of the crowd.

This middle-aged woman continued to berate out kids for “leaning on her”.  On and on she went every 15 minutes making another snide remark at Master 11 and Master 8 telling them to, “stand on their own two feet” or “stop putting all your weight on me” or “stand up straight will you!”.

At first I gave her the benefit of the doubt and told them to stand up straight and lean on the wall.  I know my kids are used to leaning on me so it might have just been force of habit leaning on an adult behind them.

…as time wore on (we waited 2 hours) I started to notice that the kids space was getting smaller and smaller and the space between myself and her and Mitch and her (we switched places about an hour in so I was in front of him) was growing larger and larger…

I did mention loudly that the kids space was getting smaller and smaller to Mitch during one of her requests for them to, “stand up straight”.  I did however once again gently remind the kids to lean forward on the wall and not lean backwards.

When the flotilla had reached our part of the river and she had her camera out she had begun inching forward even further.  Then she made a big error in judgement and she complained to me, as though I would be on board ready to give my kids an earful right along with her.

As you can imagine after standing on my feet for 2 hours, trying to keep 3 kids from moaning too loudly, poking each other with their flags or wriggling terribly much my patience was hanging by a thread.

I took a deep breath not wanting to make a scene whilst trapped beside this woman with a large crowd all around us.  I gave her a stern talking to about her being welcome to take a step back instead of crowding my kids in further and further by the minute, Mitch jumped in with a few helpful tips, “we’re all squashed” and “if it’s not your cup of tea maybe watch on the telly next time?”.  I don’t think she got the response she was hoping for.

When faced with the likes of two grown adults she was too cowardly to continue and became all of a sudden very, very quiet.

We watched for a little while longer and then made our way out of the crowd for a pretty wet and sludgy, but gloriously un-crowded walk home.

I began to have a laugh with Master 11 about how unlucky he was to have had such a moaner behind him, and then he began to fill us in on the whole story.

Not only had this woman been nudging up closer and closer to the front but she had actually put her feet between his and begun kneeing him in the back and poking him with her knuckles.

Yes, you read that correctly!  A grown woman kneeing, poking and using her greater height and strength up against an 11-year old boy who was trying not to squash his 8-year-old brother.

I wish he had told me whilst it was happening or had cried out telling her to stop hurting him.  I saw him holding his ground and complaining he had to put his knee up on the wall in front of him to stop himself being shoved against the wall but I had no idea this vicious woman was childishly trying to over power him to make him move out the way.  Master 11 had just tried to stand his ground and protect his brother.

Master 8 and Master 11 then went on to explain how the whole drama had begun, not long after we arrived.  A different woman had been up against the wall at the front of the crowd and had decided to leave once the rain started to fall (can’t blame her).  She had seen our children (clearly at a disadvantage being too short to see) and had told them they could take her spot.  As this lovely woman moved out of her spot the horrid woman moved forward to take the empty spot.  Our kids got there first, after being told by the lovely woman that they could stand there they didn’t hesitate (they didn’t shove mind you, they were nearest to the spot and didn’t even consider that it was a race between them and another woman).  Clearly this horrid woman had felt herself robbed of a better viewpoint and from that moment on decided to try and muscle the kids out through silently using force.

I think perhaps she thought that if she demonized our kids for “leaning on her” that I would move my kids out of the way and let her take the spot she felt was rightfully her’s.  Or perhaps she thought they might cry and feel bad and leave of their own accord.  Maybe she’s so childish she didn’t know what her own motives were other than being steaming mad and needing to lash out at some one.

I was so disgusted once I heard this and was tempted to walk back and speak with her, if only to make it clear that I knew what she’d been doing and to tell her to grow the heck up. Unfortunately I don’t think it would have done any good and the crowd was pretty thick behind us.  I guess if you can make it to your 50’s without growing-up then a peeved mother giving you a piece of her mind probably isn’t going to make any difference.

I can’t believe I was so blind to what was actually happening to my kiddo’s.  If Mitch and I hadn’t been behind this woman holding off the rest of the crowd then she would have quite happily allowed our kids to be squashed right up against that wall.  All for a better view and a few photos?    You can see from our photos that I could barely see a thing (being quite short and with a man taller than I in front of me) but there’s no point being so vicious, especially when it’s directed at children.

…Vent Over!

There wasn’t a hope of us being able to see the Queen from this distance without some heavy duty binoculars but just knowing she was just over there and we were all cheering and celebrating together was enough for me.

Happy Snaps Diamond Jubilee Flotilla Tower Bridge

How have you celebrated the Diamond Jubilee long weekend (even with the frequent down-pours and slightly muddy surroundings)?

London · Move Over · The Kidlets

Empty Boxes : You Never Outgrow Them

Most parents have experienced buying their baby or toddler an age appropriate and rigorously researched gift only to have their little one spend the next 3 hours playing with the wrapping paper and/or box.


We finally got a new fridge (oh how I love cold milk and yoghurt!), but our 6, 8 and (recently turned) 11-year-old kids were much more interested in the giant box it came in!

From morning until late in the evening the box got a good work out and we ended the night with a long nerf battle (the box was used for cover).  Needless to say they passed out within moments of their heads hitting the pillow that night!