Saturday was one of those days where everything seems to go right. It had threatened to be difficult, what with The Mister having to work all day at the National Engineering and Construction Recruitment Exhibition at the NEC, Big Grin under the weather and on antibiotics, and me usually using Saturdays to nap and catch up on sleep but obviously not able to if The Mister was out. But Big Grin was loads better, and last thing Friday night I bought a Groupon deal that saw me, Little Feet and Big Grin heading to the NEC for the Good Food Show, at a fraction of the ticket price.
First thing, the girls had their usual dancing lessons, which as I haven't got round to learning to drive yet, is handily within walking distance. Then we headed back home for a snack, which they ate while I sorted the washing, then back out for the 20 minute walk to the train station. I have not been on a train from Coventry towards Brum on a Saturday for a very long time and hadn't bargained for the crowds. I then prepared the girls for standing on the 20 minute journey, but no, we got two seats between the three of us, which still just about does.
We arrived at Birmingham International station and headed for Subway and a quick lunch, before heading into the NEC. Very excitedly we had to use two long travelators to reach our destination, which the girls thought wonderful. Alongside us and in front was a cleaner, pushing a huge trolley of rubbish. I joked that we were going so fast we'd catch the cleaner up. He must have heard as he looked at us then sped up. What ensued was a good-natured race between us and him, with him gallantly slowing down when we got stuck behind a crowd, and us running round groups of people to get in front again. We reached the end ahead of him, with him saying, "You won!" What a good sport, and such a highlight of the day.
We knew that The Mister was in hall 11, and wondered if we could go and see him. It was a free exhibition, but when we arrived you had to register. Knowing full well I had no intention of making use of the show - engineering and construction not being my forte - I sidled up to one of the men on the door and asked if we could pop in to see their Dad, pointing to the two cuties in matching pink coats that I had holding on to each hand. We were referred to a much younger guy, who ushered us over to someone else, when a lovely lady piped up, "Yes of course, no problem." When I asked where we might find The Mister's company's stand, she escorted us there, only to find he wasn't there. When I mentioned that he might have gone to have some lunch she then escorted us - chatting all the way - to the exhibitors' dining room, where we came across a rather surprised Mister! What a lovely lady. The Mister couldn't quite believe we'd blagged our way in without registering, but I did point out I had two rather cute kids with me to pave the way.
After saying goodbye to him, we headed for the Good Food Show. I was rather keen to make use of the cloakroom facilities, as my huge winter coat and the girls' puffy pink coats are rather a handful to carry around, especially in a crowded exhibition when you're trying to keep track of two kids and you can't hold their hands as they're full of coats. First one - full. We were arriving rather late in the day. Second one - full for coats, luggage only. I approached the desk and could see the two men getting ready to turn me away, when I said, "If I stick these coats in bags, would you take them?" They grinned and said of course they would. I struggled with the two pink coats to stuff them into my rucksack, then they very kindly said they'd just hang my coat up for me, to save any more struggling. And it only cost me the price of checking in two items instead of three. Very pleased with that.
Then we entered the show. The girls had never been to anything like it, and initially both really enjoyed tasting things and looking at all the stalls. They managed to get loads of free stuff like stickers and sweets that I on my own obviously wouldn't have been given. We bumped into people from church, and there was generally a very pleasant atmosphere. At one stall the guy was selling all kinds of homeware goods, and was shouting out in market fashion. I haggled on something I wanted to buy two of, and quick as a flash he agreed and had a sale. Something else that makes me very happy - successful haggling!
We were sitting on the floor, Little Feet and Big Grin eating a sample of something or other, when a man called down to them, "Enjoying yourselves down there ladies?!" Little Feet asked, "Who was that Mummy?" I replied, "I think it's someone famous, off the telly." Blank - from them. They were not impressed. Not only do we not have a television, but it seems that the whole concept of fame has so far passed them by. What a lovely innocent way to be. I'm sure it won't be long before they are lured by the glitter of fame and fortune, but on Saturday, it was a touching reminder that we are all just people, after all. (It was Gregg Wallace, from MasterChef, by the way. I looked him up.)
Big Grin was by now rather fed up and fractious, but as The Mister had finished his show early, he took her home on the train while Little Feet and I stayed a while longer. Since she started school a year and a bit ago, I hardly ever get time with her on my own, but get loads of one-on-one time with Big Grin, so that was a bonus. We went round tasting a few more treats then headed back along the travelators to the station, where we walked straight on to a train. Although we didn't get seats, we did find a spot with plenty of room for Little Feet to sit on the floor, and then The Mister and Big Grin picked us up from Cov station in the car, so we didn't have to do the last walk home. Just as well as Little Feet had been suspiciously quiet for a while. Sure enough, that night she started with a high temperature and a cough and is off school today, but still it didn't diminish what was a lovely day.