I didn’t have anything planned for Halloween. It was a bit of an odd day for us this year. The kids were coming to stay for the weekend, but as they were going to a party first they didn’t want Trev to pick them up til 8. This means they missed answering the door to the dressed up kids and handing out sweets. It also meant that I’d be home trying to bath Iris and get her to bed when the door was knocking. In the end Iris got us up incredibly early and the library cancelled the ‘songs and stories’ baby session I had planned to take her to, so we were left with a whole day and absolutely nothing to do.
So we went to Bristol. On the train. Just me and Iris.
This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I miss that river city, I really do. I promised myself and my bump when I was pregnant that we’d be back there all the time, that Iris would see where mummy came from. I want Bristol to be part of her life. Obviously getting a train (two, actually) that far with a 4 month old baby is quite a big deal and I must admit I was worried.
I needn’t have been.
As you can see from this very blurry selfie, Iris loved the train! For a while anyway, and then she got a bit grumpy. Luckily once we switched to the second train I had more room to get her out of the sling. She spent the journey trying to steal somebody’s phone and lick another person’s handbag. I also fed her, right there on the train. And nobody even seemed to notice.
Two and a half hours later, we reached Bristol!
I didn’t tell anybody we were coming. That’s kind of the point. I wasn’t sure we’d make it and didn’t want the pressure of meeting somebody. It was a practice run. This does mean that on arrival (once I’d shown Iris the exact spot at Temple Meads Station that I’d seen her daddy for the first time ever) I wasn’t entirely sure what to do. So we walked for a while, and looked at the water and the traffic and the fallen leaves. Iris seemed to like the bustling and the people walking by.
Then it clicked. We’d visit Bristol Aquarium! I I used to work there, back when it first opened, and thought that it’d be nice for Iris and a trip down memory lane for me. I wanted a cuppa anyway, and Iris needed a nappy change, so it made sense. After a quick drink (both of us) and nappy change we were off inside to see the fish!
It was one hundred million degrees centigrade in there. Serious boiling. But there was a bit of a heat wave going on outside, and the canopy roof of parts of the aquarium meant it felt a bit like an oven. Iris didn’t want to go in the sling, and we’d removed layers of autumn clothing. I had more than I could carry which made it all a bit annoying.
We enjoyed it though. I’m not sure how much Iris actually noticed the fish. She seemed to prefer trying to lick the glass. Apologies for the poor pictures (wow, I say that a lot) but it’s mainly dark in there and flash photography is banned. I was surprised that it didn’t seem that busy for half term. I guess it’s not that Halloweeny.
It’s changed a fair bit since the days I wandered around trying not to do any work and nursing a hangover (I don’t remember doing much else) and they’ve clearly thrown some money at it. It’s looking great! I still absolutely adore the way you can usually get pretty close to the octopus and have a good look at his suckers!
With nobody else to take our picture, we took a lot of selfies!
It just got too hot pretty quickly so we didn’t last long. With so much to carry too, I had to go and find another bag and a cold drink. One shopping bag and fizzy pop purchase later, and Iris back in the sling, we were ready for something else. Actually, it was about time Iris napped and it was starting to show. She’s terribly cranky when she’s tired! We had hoped to meet a friend for lunch, but he’d been delayed by his sleeping toddler and that fell through. So what next?
Another old workplace of course! So we hopped on a bus to the nursery I worked at before I left last September, to go and work in another one nearer my mum’s house because that’s where I was living. I shouldn’t have left. Two weeks into my new job I got pregnant. Soon after that I was signed off sick, and lying around missing my old work buddies terribly. Iris slept on the way up there but soon woke up, still moody. Now they probably all think I have the world’s grumpiest baby. I don’t. I promise. I was nervous to go back to this old workplace, and I found it quite an emotional visit. Seeing babies in daycare and imagining leaving Iris to go to work didn’t help. Just the thought of it made me teary. We’re definitely not ready for that!
After an hour of chatting and catching up with all of the news, we were ready for home. Only home was a long long way away. Thankfully after being awake almost all day long, Iris nodded off quickly and slept. She slept on one bus and two trains and all the way back to Pontypridd. This is where she woke up, hungry and grumpy, while we were waiting for another bus to take us home. It was cold and dark, and the cafés were closed. I had no choice. I fed Iris in the sling, standing in a bus station. I’m pretty sure nobody could tell, and I’m so glad I did it! She nursed all of the way home!
So it turns out that although train travel with a baby definitely has it’s challenges, it isn’t impossible. Surely it’ll get easier as she gets older too, right? This trip has opened Bristol (and a million other places) up for the two of us when we’re fed up with home and Trev is working. Hurrah!