Although, quite possibly, our bank balance is.
We love London. Whenever we go, each of us harbours little "If I lived in London" fantasies. However, part of the issue is that whenever we go, we don't really do real life, as such. We do going to as many museums and meeting up with as many wonderful friends as is humanly possible in the amount of time we have available. Which is more of a holiday than actual life, if we're honest. If we really lived in London, we'd have to do boring things like school, work, buying and eating actual food like vegetables from real shops, rather than eating tasty things with chips in lovely little restaurants. In essence, it would be real life. Real life, with better access to museums, shops and Costa coffee, but with a tiny, tiny, tiny flat in an "up and coming area" to replace our four-bedroom terrace in a not quite so built up area. So we'll continue to enjoy our visits, and day-dream, and then come home to real life. Which is not so bad really, even if you do have to travel on a bus for half an hour to get to the nearest Costa. A bus, incidentally, which comes every half an hour, rather than every six seconds. It took the kids a good few days not to panic when we "missed" a bus...
The other problem with London is, although the museums are often free, the stuff in the shops kind of isn't. Which is fine; if you don't buy it. I was doing very well on this score until we approached my nemesis - the bookshop at the Tate Modern. If you've never been to the bookshop at the Tate Modern, and have a similar prediliction for book-buying as me, then I strongly suggest that you NEVER go there. Unless you have a lot of spare time and disposable income. Never before have I heard the kids say "Mummy, we've had enough of the shop now, can we go in the art gallery?"
I bought two books in the end. What is Contemporary Art?A Children's Guide by Jacky Klein and Suzy Klein and From Mudhuts to Skyscrapers: Architecture for Children by Christine Paxmann. I bought them, ostensibly for the children, but mainly for me, because I don't really understand contemporary art or artchitecture. I often buy the kids a book first, and then move on to one designed for the beginning adult, because kids books are often more fun and tend to have better pictures. Once again, I bet my Dad is thrilled that he spent thousands on my education in a top academic institution.
Both look really good. A and I have looked at the contemporary art one together, and were thrilled to see that the Lucio Fontana picture that we saw in the gallery, and had explained to us by a very engaging and interesting speaker, was in the actual book! I think it may have been a little over A's head though, since after the talk she said "I don't really get why he did it though Mummy. He didn't really make a 3D "dreamscape", he just put a big rip in a canvas. It's not 3D, it's just broken." We also saw Snail by Matisse which is in The Usborne Introduction to Modern Art which we currently have out of the library. "Look, I've seen that; it's famous!" said C, who is, it is fair to say, as underwhelmed by modern art as he is by organised religion. Having said that, having grumped his way around the Tate Modern (apart from the hands-on bits), and (accidentally) nearly punched a hole in a (probably) priceless Picasso, later on that evening he said "I really liked that painting that looked like it was made of pieces of black material. It was so dark, it looked like evil." He then went back to whinging about when could we go and get a burger with his uncles like I said he could, because he's hungry, he hasn't had anything to eat since lunch, you're-so-unfair-Mummy-no-I-am-NOT-TIRED.