It is no secret that I love being a housewife, but yesterday was one of those days when I was truly grateful to be one. My husband, G, was driving down to London for business, and offered my son, A, and I a ride. London was our home for five years and I always find it strange going back as a tourist. My relationship with London has always been a special one. When I was a child it was a place with mythical significance, a magical place I always wanted to go. My earliest books were about London and included rhymes about the “rosy cheeks of the little children”. When I finally visited London for the first time in 1985 I fell head over heels in love with it. A return visit in 1987 cemented my ardour, and when I immigrated to England in 1989 I determined that London was definitely the place to live. For five years I called it home.
Anyway, back to why I was so grateful to be a housewife yesterday. Because G had offered A and I a ride, we were able to go and be tourists for the day. Of course, there is an advantage to being a tourist that knows the underground like the back of her hand, with a son who has a pretty good handle on it as well. It was wonderful. If I had not been a housewife I would most likely not have been able to drop everything and just go. As it was, I did, and we had a fantastic day. There is nothing like being your own boss, able to do as you will. Okay, there are often restrictions, schedules and obligations, but when you are in charge and just a little bit organised, there is little that cannot be juggled to allow you a blissful day out.
Our first stop was the Victoria and Albert Museum, which, I’m ashamed to say, I had not visited since 1987. A had visited two years ago with school, and took great delight in showing me around the place. It was incredible. I particularly enjoyed the exhibits of fashion through the ages, and Princess Diana’s lovely dress with all the seed pearls on it took my breath away. The multi-coloured blown glass chandelier in the entry way wasn’t bad either! We then walked to Hyde Park and made our way to Kensington Palace. It was a long hot walk, but well worth it. This time, it was my turn to show A around. Things had changed a lot since my last visit though and there was so much more to see. It was absolutely super, if a bit mind-bendingly hot. The odd strategically placed fan did help matters, but I felt terribly sorry for the stewards who could not look forward to getting outside as soon as we could. The photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales by Mario Testino were incredible. I had seen them in Vogue when they were first published all those years ago, but seeing them framed and life-size was just amazing. Being allowed to walk through Princess Margaret’s apartments was a bit strange. They are almost empty and one had the feeling of perhaps being somewhere one ought not to be. It was almost as if she might walk back in at any moment and ask what on earth you were doing. It was a strange feeling, but it was really nice to be allowed to walk through them.
Of course, for A and I, a visit to London is rarely complete without a trip to Harrods for one of their most marvellous ice creams in the Georgian Restaurant. Harrods was (blissfully) air conditioned which was so welcome after our long walks. A spot of shopping and it was time to join G for dinner at Pizza Express. A super end to a lovely day.
I really am grateful for the flexibility that being a housewife allows me. I think it is this flexibility that we as 21st Century Housewives have to embrace. So often we allow ourselves to feel swamped by obligations and schedules. It is so easy to become rigid and trapped in a prison of our own making. This is silly. A little flexibility can go an awfully long way, and allows you to grab some fantastic experiences with both hands. There is a lot to be said for spontaneity and yesterday really taught me a lesson. When I found out today G was scheduled to be in London one day next week, I juggled our diaries round and A and I are going with him again. Another adventure awaits the 21st Century Housewife!