I managed to get a few days off over half term. The Beautiful Armenian and I went out to the countryside and enjoyed the wonderful weather. We shifted a load of stuff round the house in my continuing efforts to tackle the European clutter mountain. And we drove up to London for a couple of days to see the Very Precious Daughter and specifically (just so that we didn’t let our anxiety levels drop) to let the Small Boy Wonder stay the night with her at the new student house.
Whenever we go to London, I get all responsible and suggest that we should make the effort to experience something new and vaguely cultural in one of the world’s great cities. Earlier in the week I mentioned to the SBW that we could go to Camden Lock while we waited for the Very Precious one to finish her lectures on Friday afternoon. “It’s sh*t,” he said. Remarkable insight, I thought, seeing as he’s never been anywhere near it. But apparently he had this on good authority from a friend who had BBM’d him live from the place when dragged there by similarly hopeless parents earlier in the year.
Undeterred, and not being in receipt of any better suggestions, I announced when we were getting near the hotel that it looked like the Cabinet War Rooms had got the vote. At least, that’s what I thought I said. But judging from the strength of the reaction that emanated from the back seat, the noise of the road must have distorted it so that it came across as something like: “We’re going to spend the whole weekend looking at porcelain in the Victoria and Albert, you’re not going to stay with your sister and her very cool friends, we’ve cancelled Christmas and your birthday, we’ve arranged for all your GCSE’s to be brought forward to next week, and we’re taking your Blackberry away just because we feel like it.”
Camden Lock turned out to be much better than its “sh*t” classification in the Provincial Teenagers Guide to London. And we had a lovely walk to it across Regents Park and along the canal.
We then met the VPD, her boyfriend and another of her friends (who is very dear to us) for an enjoyable meal, before leaving the Small Boy Wonder, and a much repeated list of what was and (longer section of the list) wasn’t acceptable, in their care. We were fairly sure that their parting words were that he was going to be taken to his first house party.
Meanwhile we were to enjoy our first experience of a Premier Inn. It turned out to be perfectly acceptable, although I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t see Lenny Henry. They offer a good night’s sleep guarantee – your money back if this isn’t what they deliver. I slept very well; the Beautiful Armenian less so. However, we decided that it would be stretching the terms of the offer if we had to explain when asking for our refund that this was because she was lying awake wondering just how much damage a group of lovable but fun-and (more specifically) alcohol- worshiping students could do to a fourteen year old boy.