A Mothers Ramblings: The Family Fun Elephant Parade!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The Family Fun Elephant Parade!

Every once in a while I get a notion in my head about something that we could do as a family. Something that is fun, something that will involve exercise and family bonding and most importantly will be exciting.

Luckily when these notions come over me, Daddy is able to reign me back in and make my ideas more do-able or more suitable for the time that we have available to us. It has happened in the past and it is bound to happen again in the future.

When I was in London last week for the Huggies Mums meet up, I noticed a lot of elephants dotted around. I vaguely remembered that these were being auctioned (after having been decorated by famous people and artists) because of the problems that Asian elephants face with habitat being lost and this will lead to us losing wild Asian Elephants.

My great idea for the weekend was that as a family we walked round London finding all the elephants and photographing them. Daddy suggested that maybe we should only try and find the elephants in one area on this trip to London, and that we could go back over the next few weeks to spot the rest.

The plan was that on Sunday morning we would arrive in London at 8am. However we then realised that even at 8am London wasn't going to be a particularly nice place to be, what with the heat wave and everything. Our plans changed so that we wouldn't arrive in London until 6pm, time for the heat to disparate and we would find the elephants in Westfield shopping centre (four of them) and then the ones that were around Hyde Park.

As you can see, we found elephants...

Somehow we missed one at Westfield Shopping Centre and so we will have to go back (Shame!) to find it! It was only when we actually got to the shopping centre that we told Top Ender what we were doing, and she loved that we were going on an Elephant Parade!

We caught the tube from White City (which is just a couple of minutes away from Westfield shopping centre if you don't know) and walked past the wall of the BBC where the Blue Peter Garden is, and past a van which is from Prank Patrol. Daddy and I also pretended that we saw Kate Adie and remembered when Daddy won the £25,000* top prize on the pilot of "Dial M for Money" hosted by Phillip Schofield.

When we got off the tube at Marble Arch we were greeted with a very large crowd of people. For some reason I had made the Tourist mistake of expecting London to be like Milton Keynes, ie devoid of people when the shops had shut. The second mistake that we made was expecting London to have followed the normal rules and cooled down now that it was the evening. Undeterred we crossed the busy roads to find our next elephants.

Luckily, Daddy was once a Scout and so was prepared for the sun that was still out and slapped the suncream on us all whilst we played with the elephants and listened in on some fantastic conversations going on around us!

Crossing the road in to Hyde Park was a revelation for me. I could see what appeared to be hundreds of people standing around, we ignored them and took the photos of what we had came to London for. Although Top Ender was a little more excited than normal as she was convinced that the building in the background of this photo was Doctor Who's TARDIS...

This is Bobby and was my favourite out of all the Elephants we saw on Sunday.

What I quickly realised was that we were in Speakers Corner and there were a lot of Speakers about on this sunny Sunday evening. It led to a lovely discussion with Top Ender about free speech and having different opinions on different subjects to others, and also why some people felt the need to bring a step ladder or big box to the park to explain their point of view.

Just to give you an idea of how many people were about!
A quick walk through the underpass to The Dorchester Hotel (which had lots of Paparazzi standing outside!) and we found our next two Elephants. I tired to delay us leaving the outside of the hotel in the hopes that someone famous would come out, but time was marching on and I knew that we had to keep on walking too.

Back into Hyde Park we marched and found two more friends outside the gates... well I already knew they were there having seen them on the Tuesday, but we let Top Ender find them by herself.

As you can see the second of the Elephants just outside Hyde Park was hollow and was great fun for looking in. This one was Daddy's favourite, and I must admit that I have a soft spot for it too! We then walked back up Hyde Park and I felt very continental as Daddy told me that it was nearly 9pm! It was so light and there were so many people about that it really did feel a lot earlier. We weren't the only people with young children out and about either!

We soon found the last "herd" for the day and peered through the fence at them.

Baby Boy and Top Ender were still going strong and Baby Boy was getting a lot of admiring glances from young women holding on to their semi naked muscular partners as he was smiling and chattering away to anyone within earshot!

We walked along The Serpentine and discussed everything we could think of, watched some people Salsa dancing and tried not to stare at the family having a picnic complete with what looked like bongs!

We eventually made it back to the Tube and back to where we had left our car at Westfield at around 10pm. It was a bit later than we had planned, but it had been a grand day out and nobody minded.

We are planning our other trips to London to see the rest of the Elephants over the next couple of weeks, if you would like to take part then your best resource would be the Elephant Parade Website at http://www.elephantparadelondon.org/ as it has a route map and almost everything you want to know. If you want to know anything that isn't on the website, then you can always try asking me!

*But as it was the pilot he actually went home with a much much much lesser prize.