06 You’ve Got a FriendDay 12
Alfie stayed with us overnight which was a very pleasant way to start the day. I looked after the little man while the lady of the house ran his bath for him. He smiled when he saw me and I realised it had been a few weeks since we had had a day together adventuring. I had already planned today’s adventure thanks to two of Alfie’s friends Joseph and Nathan Jones. Apparently they get tweeted by Techniquest – I am sure it’s not as painful as it sounds! – and they let me know that Techniquest runs Toddler Days once a month.
When I checked the Website this is what I read!
Toddler Day – At the Zoo
Friday 11 January 2013
Once a month during term-time pre-school children have their run of the exhibits with activities
on a special theme.
There’ll be drawing and colouring and something to make to take home.
Admission costs just £4.60 for adults, who can enjoy a free cup of tea or
coffee in the café.
Techniquest is buggy-friendly, with nappy-changing facilities, lockers and a cafe that warms children’s food
Well, I was hooked…toddler day, free tea or coffee, nappy changing facilities… it offered the lot. I have an almost toddler, I love free tea and coffee.. Day sorted!
It was a glorious morning, crisp and clear with a beautiful blue sky – I am amazed at how many Adventure days have clear blue skies. The lady of the house insisted on bringing Alfie with her to work to do a bit of showing off! I was not amused. I was looking a mess; unwashed, unshaven and breath smelling like Gandhi’s flip flops meant either would either breakdown and have to walk home or meet someone I knew. I dropped her off at the door of her office and went to turn the car around. When I returned my worst fears materialised… Jeff Lacey was waiting outside. He wanted to thank me for speaking in his Home Group on Wednesday. Very embarrassing!
Note to self…. Get a wash and brush up before doing the taxi run on a Friday morning!!
I decided that we would make an early start so Alfie missed his morning sleep. I had been listening recently to the story of an adventurer who is sailing around the world and he was asked how he sleeps. He answered that he sleeps off and on during the day but only in stretches of up to forty minutes. Alfie is beginning to become a great adventurer so I guessed he could miss one small nap!
We headed at first for Penarth and breakfast at Hampton’s. The lady of the house and I had been there the week before and I fancied a return visit for breakfast. Hampton’s is a little jewel in Penarth. It is a kind of posh gift shop with a café upstairs called The Blue Pelican, it’s a really cool place. We parked the buggy, and booked a table for two. I had scrambled eggs on toast and I ordered a kids breakfast for the kid!
We had a great time, relaxed, quiet and just a bit classy. As he does every week, Alfie charmed all the other customers in the place with his smile and cheery nature. He was totally fascinated by a giant polar bear, high on a top shelf.
I was tempted to buy it but thought a house extension might be too high a price to pay in addition to the shop price!!
Next we headed for Cardiff Bay and Toddlers’ Day at Techniquest. Alfie sang most of the way down. We parked outside The Cole Exchange, that fabulous old building in The Bay and as I lifted Alfie out of the car, I noticed the singing had stopped and he had fallen asleep. I guessed like all great adventurers this was his forty minutes!! I lifted him into the buggy and he still did not stir, so I amended the itinerary for the day and headed for Starbucks via Tesco to buy a newspaper. The next forty-five minutes was wonderful. I ordered my usual – tall, extra hot, skinny, single shot latte – and as an added bonus, I had a few pounds left on my Starbucks card, so it felt like a free drink. I took it outside, tucked the blanket snugly around Alfie, turned him away from the sun, zipped up my gillet and sat reading my paper in the warm, clear January sunshine and as I was enjoying my coffee, I cast a thought to all my ex colleagues who were in school sweating over their forthcoming inspection.
The boy slept for ages and I eventually strolled down to Techniquest and booked in with him still sleeping. I received my security wristband and free cup of tea voucher and headed in. The place was very busy, full of pretty young mums with their over excited offspring all red faced and sweaty. I sat quietly amid the mayhem and waited for Alfie to join me. We sat near the buggy park. There must have been more than fifty buggies all parked higgledy-piggledy behind a barrier, with bags coats and numerous other things hanging from every available handle. I looked around for some male company; there were one to two dads and grandfathers so I was not completely alone. I had a few smiles from some young mums as they came to the buggy park to retrieve some important item, all smiled at me and all said they wished their offspring would have a sleep. I smiled back, desperately wishing Alfie would wake up. Thankfully none of them had come back to breastfeed their little one!
Techniquest’s mission is to engage people with science and to motivate them to learn more. It offers interactive experiences that are accessible to all. It was founded in 1985, by Professor John Beetlestone and his colleagues from Cardiff University; its first site was the gas showroom opposite Cardiff Castle (now Burger King). In 1988 it moved to a pre-fabricated industrial building in Cardiff Bay, with 100 exhibits; it was here that it launched its education programmes for schools. In 1995 it moved to its current site, the UK’s first purpose-built science centre, in Cardiff Bay. The building was formerly a heavy engineering plant; Techniquest was designed around the framework of the original building. It’s a large hall full of fascinating scientific things.
Alfie was woken by the screams, shrieks and laughter of the other kids and when he was settled, we set off. For the next hour or so we enjoyed all manner of fun together. He had has his face painted, I half fancied having a big spider put on my face but, even though it would have been great fun, I chickened out, I must be getting old and boring! We played in the water, built big Lego towers, tried building ball pyramids, pushed buttons, watched balloons being launched and a hundred other things. Marvellous times!
We then decided to invite Millie, Alfie’s cousin down. A quick phone call and she was on her way. Alfie was thrilled. Millie is a beautiful little angel with striking blue-eyes, who has been sent to our family. We had such fun! Millie loved all the exhibits and enjoyed the water especially but got herself soaked at the same time. I am sure they loved each other’s company, it was so good to see them playing happily together.
They played on a giant piano, which was built into the floor and played tunes as they walked (or crawled) over them. They loved the ‘Infinity” mirror room which I also loved. It looked like I was in a room with a hundred Alfies and Millies.
They also amazed me with a magic trick by appearing to climb up though a table, Great stuff.
Sadly all good adventures have to come to an end. Millie’s mum had to go and collect Mia from school and I had to think about heading back home.On her way out Millie joined the painted faces group, she looked so cute!
Alfie sang all the way home, I didn’t recognise the tune or the words but I did recognise a happy little boy who appears to enjoy going out with an ageing, tubby little fellow he calls grampy.