When my children were growing up we went to England for some of their long Italian summer holidays. My father would often say, 'Today we're going to have lots of fun without spending any money, maybe just an ice-cream if we find a shop.' Off we'd go with a picnic rug ,a ball, tea in a flask and sandwiches. There was a lovely big field near a village not far from our house. A stream ran by the side, ideal for paddling. There was a cricket pitch and lots of space to run around and a little shop that sells ice-creams.As they got older my sons would take their guitars and make all the noise they wanted. Once when we were there we met a whole extended family sitting on the grass celebrating their grandfather's birthday. They had come from far and wide to be together. They ranged from two months to eighty-nine and we all joined in. That field is till there with the village shop and the pub round the corner if the weather changes.
A dear friend of mine who knows London well taught me how to take the children to London for the day on a budget. You start of buying a picnic lunch at Marble Arch and go to Hyde Park, which is like being in the countryside. You can go to the Portrait gallery in the Strand for free and give them a history lesson looking at all the famous faces, and that's just the start..
|Everything ready for an aperitif for two|
|Norman Rockwell's illustration could easily be a grandfather holding his granddaughter|
|Another Norman Rockwell illustration, teaching life's lessons|
|Time to relax and have a chat|