Sandwiches and Sturdy Backpacks

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A personal piece about a day trip in London with the kids, where everything that could go wrong - did go wrong (but in a funny way!)

Sandwiches and Sturdy Backpacks.


I’m usually quite organised when it comes to days out with the children, but for some reason, the last trip we did, didn’t quite go to plan…

London is definitely our top day out destination, we’ve been countless times and never seen the same thing twice. A friend suggested Monument (designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London) for our next escapade. Lovely I thought, cheap day out, not too far to travel - perfect.

I done a little research - i.e. ’Googled’ it, before we set off - nearest station, opening times, entry fee etc. But here’s where it started to go a bit iffy. My eleven year old daughter starts panicking that I haven’t got ‘enough hands’ (I have three children), what if I let one of them fall into ‘The Gap’, or they get lost, or Monument falls over? I do my best to reassure her and remind her of the other occasions when I’ve bought everyone home intact, or the fact I’ve been on many a school trip and haven’t lost any small people despite my lack of hands. So this placates her - for a while.

As I mentioned before I consider myself to be one of life’s organised and practical people (no not boring and dull) and I make us a picnic the night before ready to be loaded into my sturdy backpack the next day.. However, the putting of said picnic into sturdy backpack failed to happen - I have no idea why not and I didn’t notice until we were settled on a westbound central line train (having avoided falling into ‘The Gap’). “Oh fiddlesticks!” I say out loud, muttering under my breath something a little less benign. “Yes!” say the kids, now we can have burgers instead. “I don’t think so!, I’m not made of money you know, rant, rant, rant, we’ll just have to find a supermarket when we get there”.

So find a supermarket we did and sturdy backpack stocked up, we head to Monument only to discover a 30 deep queue. Ok not to worry I say jovially in a sing song voice, lets find somewhere to eat, it may only have been 10:45 - but the sturdy backpack is bloomin' heavy!

It was a pretty chilly day, so we walked about for a while looking for a suitable picnic location. The children kept pointing out various coffee shops asking why we couldn’t go in, and while I agreed they did look warm and cosy, I didn’t think the management would appreciate us rocking up with our supermarket stash. Anyway, we eventually settled for a cold shady bench by the Thames, job done. Now we needed the toilet! Nope, not happening. No public toilets anywhere.

Again, with my reluctance to use an establishments facilities without actually purchasing anything, I avoid the array of coffee shops and bars until desperation set in and we queue (this will become a theme) for ten minutes to use a Starbucks one lav.

By now we are quite a distance from our actual destination. So we head back whilst I keep an eye out for a cash point (the last of my cash went on emergency sandwiches). Unlike toilets, there is an abundance of cash points but each one had a queue (see the theme?) of about eight people. So me being me, I decide to keep walking until I find one that doesn’t have a long line of business bod’s on their lunch breaks. Of course being the type of day that it is, I don’t find a money machine by the time we get back to Monument. We join the queue (there it is again) with everything crossed hoping they take cards. You can tell what happens next can’t you? That’s right - we get to the front only to be told “cash only” I actually responded like an 11 year old boy “oh maaann!” Taking pity on us, the kind lady let me whizz off to get cash and then jump the line, whilst I, very British-ly apologised profusely to those behind.

So how many blips was that? Surely nothing else could go wrong. Amazingly Monument didn’t fall down and none of my party fell overboard, so middle child was happy, and the views were pretty special (probably not as good as the Shard – but, hey, we’re low key).

After the energetic day we’d had, I thought it was time to warm up and have a coffee/hot chocolate in one of said coffee shops, now with a legitimate reason for being there, before heading home.

Once back on ‘home soil’, my husband rings to say he’s about five minutes away, he’ll come and pick us up from the station - lovely I say that’ll be more comfortable then standing under someone’s armpit on the bus. Alas, four buses later and we’re still standing there, it seems he underestimated the traffic! Oh well, he meant well.


I’m not sure how to describe the day my children and I endured today; eventful? Yes. Long? Very. Would I do it again? Absolutely, but next time I’ll remember the sandwiches.

Submitted: February 02, 2016

© Copyright 2021 Nicola Macbeth. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Kudos! I laughed, I cried, I ate cheetos. I loved this story and could really relate to the frustrations and fears, the rewards notwithstanding! Life is like a box of chocolates they say, but with Moms like you they are sure to be sweet no matter what you get handed.

Tue, February 2nd, 2016 11:51pm


Thank you for the kind words Glinda, believe me - I have plenty of family escapade tales to tell!

Wed, February 3rd, 2016 6:03am

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