Fifth of November

‘Remember remember the fifth day of November’ and so the poem goes. Guy Fawkes and his companions plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5 1605. It didn’t materialise, they were caught and to commemorate this every year on the fifth of November we have a ‘fireworks night’. As it corresponds closely with Diwali, we have a week of fire works going on in most parts of the capital.

I had forgotten about this till our Afghani driver reminded me about it. The traffic was heavy and we got chatting. A young man, looking twice his age, who left behind his parents and siblings and fled a war torn country looking for peace and employment 12 years ago. He hasn’t gone back since then and was hoping to go this year, but after another deadly attack in Afghanistan decided that he didn’t want to risk his and his families lives.

After we got settled into the hotel, we walked to the Natural History Museum which was located 1/3 mile from the hotel. The security guy at the entrance told us that when we came back for the reception we should take another side entrance and that it would be easier with the baby and pushchair.

When we returned we found out that the back entrance was not exactly a guest entrance site. The security, although initially reluctant, let us in after speaking to their supervisor and we were given a special escort to the reception hall, through the back routes.

At the entrance a harpist was playing. Soon we were plied with all kinds of delicacies and drinks. As the crowds got bigger and the noise got louder, Lakshmi started getting upset despite having headphones on. I took her out of the noisy area to where the harpist was playing and she settled down.

Soon it was time to go in to the Hintz hall, where the main event was taking place. As you enter the museum there is a life size replica of a diplodocus dinosaur. A couple of hours ago we were in the exact same spot walking around this skeleton and taking photos, but now the area was transformed. The lights were dimmed and tables were arranged around the dinosaur skeleton in a way as if we were having some sort of twilight picnic during the Jurassic years.

The food was great, and so were the speeches. Lakshmi slept for a very short while, during which time I managed to get some food in. It was too much to expect from the little one, so I brought her back to our hotel room to sleep and let her mum enjoy her evening with her friends.

Earlier in the evening as we were going around the museum, we stopped outside the Charles Darwin centre to take a photo of the little one with the centre logo in the background. A photo for her to see when she grows older, the first time she visited her ancestor’s centre. According to Huw’s grandad, a retired School headteacher who also taught at Eton, Charles Darwin is their great great ( I don’t know how many greats) uncle. They haven’t checked their family tree to find out if it is true, so it is still hearsay. So one day she can trace her family history to see if she has any famous genes in her.

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