On Friday (27th) after work I braved the M6 which was apparently made of queue during the day, but fortunately the hour or so getting ready had made it late enough to avoid most of the traffic — and smallclanger and I stayed the night with my parents.
Mid-morning the next day I set out for Edinburgh, leaving him to play with Lego (the same Lego that I and my brothers used to play with back in the day, including train tracks and a motor). He actually preferred that to coming to Edinburgh, which was just as well as there was only one single bed in my accommodation. I took a bus into town, grabbed some food at Princes Mall and then walked down Dalry Road to find the venue for the first Eggplants gig.
I hung around for a bit after the performance and told Kenny that bopeepsheep was sorry she was unable to come this year. He suggested that she should text in a request and they should play it to her down the phone or some such communication device at the next concert. It was a silly idea, so we agreed to do it.
Next day I got a day ticket on the bus, pottered around a bit, booked a random 5-quid show in the afternoon (Alexis Dubus as it happens), went into Subway to find that they were out of half the ingredients, and bussed back to the St Brides Centre for the last night of Eggplants. They did not disappoint, and they duly cued in the mobile phone, which I just about managed to hold in a position where it didn't interfere with the audio equipment too much.
At some suitable time after the gig I made an escape to catch a bus back into the city centre for Showstopper! The improvised musical. Spent a long time queueing, but it was worth it. If you only go to one show at the Fringe (and for some reason have ruled out the Eggplants) then go and see this.
I then walked all the way back from Teviot Row to Leith and got back at about 1am. And after breakfast the next day, drove back to be reunited with smallclanger for an afternoon of… well, Lego.
We came back to Oxford on Tuesday, via Bicester Village where we bought some new school shoes, and (somewhat more unexpectedly) some trainers in a sort of burgundy colour which smallclanger would not be separated from once he had seen them.
On Wednesday we set out (via a doctor's appointment) for Cardiff and spent a while at the Doctor Who Exhibition.
We stayed overnight at a hotel whose management company is coincidentally called "Oxford Hotels and Inns" and then spent as much of the next day as was reasonably possible (after pausing to post some pictures on Facebook) at Techniquest science discovery centre.
When that closed we had a quick explore of the surrounding area until our parking ticket expired, then we made our way back to the M4, which was mostly reasonable though a little congested at times. We stopped at a service station for a burger (and a caramel fudge Fusion). Some time later there was an almighty bump as I ran over something unseen in the road. Or did I? I hoped it wasn't that something had fallen off the car, but it still seemed to be driving OK, so. Or was it? I pulled over and discovered the nearside rear tyre completely flat and with a big hole in the side (and stinking of burnt rubber). I successfully changed it, but it was irritating because that was the newest tyre on the car, only a year old because last year the tyre that it replaced had had a nail buried in the side wall (and in turn I seem to remember having the rear tyres changed only a year before that because they had been required for the MOT). So it was something after 10pm when we got back to Oxford.
Not content with that, we set out on Friday morning for Legoland Windsor. It was quite crowded and we didn't get there at opening time, so the first thing we did was queue 40 minutes for Boating School. We followed that with Driving School and Boating School, and then a late lunch. Smallclanger had decided to complete the set with Fire Academy, but after lunch spent half an hour being awkward about going to the toilet, so after that he changed his mind and decided to play on the taxi and police car that are there in Lego City instead. After which he decided to go back to the Beginning on the Hill Train and go on Rocket Racers. I'm never quite sure why he wants to do that since he insists he's not good enough to drive and so he deliberately declines to touch any of the controls in order to let the computer do all the driving for him. It came fourth (out of eight) on his behalf. He then spent half an hour or so playing in the model 747 which they have there, before doing Rocket Racers again (which surprised me as it was by then after the official closing time of the park). Then it was time to come home. I tossed a coin and came back the A34 way rather than the M40 way, which seemed to be working until we got to Abingdon and ended up in stationary traffic. But we arrived eventually, just in time for smallclanger to have quiche for tea with his Mum.
And that's what we did on our week away. (Unfortunately, what the garden did on our week away is drown three of my pot plants and drop all the peaches off the peach tree. But you can't have everything…)