I stopped posting the weather on Queenies Daily Snippets for a week while Jim and I were in the UK for our daughter’s 40th birthday. We gave up buying presents for Christmas and birthdays a few years ago and instead take them on holiday. They seem to like this as they can get to places they couldn’t easily afford themselves and as OH and I are quite intrepid travellers they enjoy wandering off the beaten track with us which they probably wouldn’t do on their own.
Ours and thankfully their philosophy is you can’t take it with you, and they would rather enjoy whatever we have while we are all together as it has provided us with some wonderful memories. This time however the treat was that we would get the tickets for the Harry Potter Tour.
We arrived at Gatwick on Tuesday evening and Kate came to collect us. She had terrible difficulty getting out of the car park as her power steering had ‘gone’ but she finally succeeded and we made it home in one piece. The following day, her birthday, we went shopping and ended up at a garage because the car was so bad, however after a bit of TLC from Manuel (yeah a Spanish mechanic she uses) we went for one of the best curries I have ever tasted. Although the restaurant used to be a country pub it now has no alcohol license but you can to take your own which really reduces the bill. We were also eating early as Tilly had exams the following morning but while we were there it did get busy with customers.
The following day Kate and I looked at cars and for a laugh had a couple of test drives. Their Fiesta is almost 10 years old and has had plenty of prangs along the way and is now costing money. I got the idea of roughly how much a decent newish car would cost but didn’t mention it except to OH.
Friday and we were off to the Harry Potter Studios. Jim and I hired a car for the day but we were able to keep it free for the weekend as the office was closed. When we collected it a little Fiat 500 it looked very trendy with its two tone white and grey leather interior and we thought we had a bargain but it was HORRIBLE to drive and we ended up calling it a skateboard and returning it to the secure pound rather keep it. It had a mind of its own and kept drifting off to the left.
So back to Harry Potter. I wasn´t sure what to expect but it was a glorious day. I assume young children would get bored because there is so much detail to discover in how the films were made, but as adults we were thoroughly immersed and will no doubt be watching the films again. Some of us for the first time (as I’ve never been a big fan until now). The birthday girl elbowed her way to the front when invited to open the great doors to the Hall, not the least bit embarrassed as she shared this pleasure with a 5 year old.
I refused to buy her a Hogwarts Sorting Hat but snuck in a Hermione Granger wand, thought it would go well with the ‘fairy dust’ her boss had bought her along with the bottle of Moet. She is also as we used to say, her mother’s daughter and like her mother makes endless lists, so she also got a Gryffindor notebook. The merchandise in my opinion was extremely expensive but you are only 40 once however if you are on a budget I would suggest you don’t stop for a coffee and a cake (silly prices) but take a picnic and enjoy it halfway through the tour or in the huge car park.
Saturday dawned and Kate was in surgery all day so Jim and I put our plan together. We made a shortlist of cars we thought she would like and that we could afford and tried to not mention it during the evening while everyone was home. It was hard as we were both a bit excited! Wonder who she gets being a big kid from? Anyway Sunday morning arrives, Ashley is given a list of really exciting jobs like creosoting the new fence panels to be getting on with while we just ‘nip to the shops’.
We headed to Slough where there are several car trade lots and gave her the choice of 4 makes and models, the Chevrolet Spark, there were 3 to choose from but all black. The Peugeot 107 several including an automatic and a pretty blue one. The brand new Dacia Ambiance (bit of an unknown quantity) and the Hyundai i10. She had driven them all except the Hyundai on our girls day out so went for a test drive and loved it. It was only at this point when we started talking about how quickly it could be turned around and be hers that the tears started to flow. She really had no idea what we were up to, because she is used to her parents doing daft things just to fill a few hours.
Faster than a speeding bullet, the money travelled from Spain to the UK bank account and she collected her new car on Tuesday afternoon after dropping us back at the airport. It was a great trip even if it did turn out slightly unpredictable but hey we have always been impulsive so why should things suddenly change just because we are old! And what is the point of hanging on to your money until you are ‘pushing up daisies’ when your family can make the most of it when it is needed.