Rain Room – 19/01/13

rainroomYesterday was a day when lots of straightforward things went wrong. Today was a day when complicated things went right. That’s a nice change. Let’s not dwell on the hours it’s taken me to get Eva to sleep, and the fact that she’s asleep on me now. Details.

I woke up feeling a little better. And laughing at Reuben as he encountered the stairgate that had inexplicably moved from his room to our room overnight. “I can’t get in!” were the first words I heard this morning. And something – I don’t know what – made me get up and let him in. “I can’t see!” That’s cause it’s dark Roo, use your owl eyes. Boy makes circles around his eyes with his fingers “I can’t see wiv my owl eyes”. That’s too bad.

All this kerfuffle meant I was awake and even a little perky after two sneaky naps yesterday. So, I planned a complicated plan. I’d been wanting to visit the Rain Room at the Barbican for a long time and had even had one half-arsed attempt before. Today would be the day we would actually go. The snow would put off the weak-hearted and we, with our two small children, would venture out and dagnammit, we would stand in that rain and not get wet. And we would re-co-opt H’s mama into coming with us, with H and H’s dada.

It all sounds, frankly, unlikely to happen doesn’t it? Given the snow, and Reuben’s lack of co-operation with any of Mummy’s crazy plans. So I was as surprised as you are now to find us all assembled at the tube at 10:30 am. I had not only an awake husband and dressed children, but also a  full change of clothes for each of us (website says “you may get wet”), a picnic brunch & lunch and for the first time ever snack boxes for both Roo and Eva. I was so excited packing two snack boxes instead of one – it made me feel like we have two kids, rather than one kid and a blob. Eva’s new snack box has an owl on it, whoch I feel her Aunt would approve of:

IMG-20130119-02293We got to the Barbican shortly before 11 and it turned out that yes, other people did leave the house in the snow. The queue looked a bit like this:

IMG-20130119-02259The estimated queue time of two hours didn’t seem like an exaggeration after all. But we had strategies in place, and H’s mama asserted that the queuing was “all part of the experience”. So we piled our stuff onto the buggy and took our places. Nathan, Roo and I ate our pastries, while Eva looked jealously on (no flaky pastry in the sling Eva…it’s messy enough when I’m eating!). Then Roo spotted a person of roughly his size just behind us in the queue and ran off to chase him and jump on him. The small person was also chasing and jumping on Roo…it wasn’t an unprovoked attack. H’s dada went to get coffees and Nathan took Roo off for a runaround. H’s mama and I rocked our babies to try and get them to sleep.

About ten minutes had passed by this point.

And then the unbelievable happened. As we were rocking the babies and H was yowling about her sore gums, an official BarbicanLady came up to us. She started explaining how because the babies were so young and so small we shouldn’t be queuing with them and….we were bracing ourselves to hear “we can’t let you in with them”…and instead we heard “so come to the front of the queue.”

Wowzers! Thank you BarbicanLady! And thank you H for the yowling!

We called our respective husbands back. Turns out that coffees were one thing we actually couldn’t take in (buggy laden with stuff had to go in as couldn’t be left) but the very nice curators let us leave them on a shelf just inside, helped us with the buggy down in the lift and…we were in the rain room! Hooray!

IMG-20130119-02263It was pretty cool. You walk slowly through the rain and it parts around you. Roo was a little freaked out (he doesn’t like showers) but had got the idea by the end and was begging to go back in. I think the babies liked it. Unsurprisingly for a dark room with one bright light and lots of water I failed to get a good picture on CrapBerry. Everyone has a kinda golden glow like this:

IMG-20130119-02279What an angelboy! It was definitely an interesting experience, but I don’t know how I’d feel if I’d queued for two hours for it. H’s mama enjoyed it, and may or may not have been caught doing some kind of fascist salute in praise of it. H’s dada ignored the advice to walk slowly and ended up getting wet. He described the experience as “underwhelming”. Nathan described it as “like having an umbrella”.

Amazing reviews, hey? I’d say it’s worth checking out, but not the most incredible thing that has ever happened in our lives. But getting let in early was pretty incredible. Thank you so much again, BarbicanLady.

With that excitement over, it was “Octonauts at ease till our next adventure”. Which meant feasting on our picnic lunch in that nice public space they have there, spreading out the Didymos Eva so the babies could play, scouring the shop for something Roo could buy for exactly one pound and taking photos of snowy fountains.

IMG-20130119-02284But Roo, as ever, was keen to go onto the next adventure. Which for us meant getting to Islington to watch Monsters Inc 3D. Once we’d said goodbye to the Hs we had approximately 35 minutes to get there, and Nathan’s phone reckoned a 33 minute walk. I walk slowly, so again this seemed unlikely to work. We agreed to set off in the right kind of direction and pick up a handy bus when we could.

We set off, but we did not find a handy bus of any description. We did find some street art:

IMG-20130119-02290And we did get there just after the film had started (but were still let in), which was again amazing. Apparently I CAN walk 1.6 miles in 40ish minutes, carrying a baby on my front, rucksack full of surplus spare clothes on my back and pushing a buggy through the snow. I am a bit empowered when I feel like it.

(In case you’re wondering what Nathan was doing, he was navigating. And it takes both hands to hold his new phone if he’s to avoid further accidents).

The great thing was that both children fell asleep on the way (Eva in the sling, Roo in the buggy) and we could take the buggy right into the screen with us and park it next to our seats. So for the first half of the movie, it was almost like a date. An eye-wateringly expensive date. Ah well, we don’t have many dates at the moment so it’s OK to pay for one. And as for what I thought of the film? Keep an eye out here for my review.

roo vueSo a nice day and a nice reminder that sometimes things go right. Once more, hooray!

Rain Room official website

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8 Responses to Rain Room – 19/01/13

  1. I’m envious. I’ve wanted to give the rain room a try for ages. Don’t fancy the 2 hour wait, though….I’m not sure everyone would be as lucky as you were with the queue-jump!

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