• Entrance exams for two

    My little girl’s next set of exams were for two schools who shared the results.
    North London Collegiate (NLC) and Channing.
    My wife really likes NLC as it has the best reputation and gets the best academic results.
    I didn’t really like it because it’s really big and smells of elitism.
    In its defense though, all private schools are elitist and, being located in Edgware, it’s very convenient for my parents.
    Channing is smaller and seems nicer to me.
    Unfortunately it’s in Highgate but has no coach service.
    I suppose they think that they’re well covered by the tube and bus service.
    This is true but I’d worry for my little girl coming home on the bus after a late club in Winter.
    The exam was sat in NLC and was apparently ‘quite hard’.

  • Private Doctor: the return

    I met my eldest at the private hospital and we sat down together to hear the results of her tests.
    Her blood tests had come back clear and the scan showed no stones or abnormalities in the gall bladder.
    Slightly baffled but with an unlimited budget, the doctor scheduled more tests: An endoscopy and a barium monitoring?
    More radiation!
    My daughter’s boyfriend had walked her there and (bless him) had waited around for her to get out.
    I bought them a box of doughnuts (after my daughter pleaded) to share and headed back to the station.

  • Entrance exam: St Margaret's

    St Margaret’s is a little private school in Bushey.
    Quite far but with lovely grounds and old buildings.
    I chose it because it’s protective and nurturing but not that academic.
    I also wanted my daughter to apply for it, as I was confident that she could win a place.
    That said, my eleven-year-old daughter still had to sit three exams in English, mathematics and non-verbal reasoning over the course of the whole day.

  • Borrowing Mum’s car

    We have a simple mathematics problem in my household:
    Three children/three schools/one car.
    My Mum uncomplainingly lends me her car whenever I need it but it’s not an ideal situation.

  • London bridge private hospital

    Although looking a bit scruffy in jeans and jumper, I escorted my eldest to the fancy looking, old building, overlooking the Thames.
    The doorman greeted us in full uniformed regalia. He looked like he should be working in a fancy hotel.
    We were a bit early but that turned out to be lucky as we were directed first, to the finance department.
    After getting a slightly turned around, we got to the doctors office about five minutes ahead of schedule.
    We waited for a bit in the hallway until we saw the doctor arrive. He was a bit disheveled and wet haired (probably returning from a squash game).
    He emerged a few minutes later and invited us in.
    He was obviously a clever man and gave the impression of consideration despite being quite pompous.
    He queried the NHS conclusion though and ordered repeat tests.
    Why not, it was all money for him and the private hospital.
    More blood tests and CT scans.
    Then, after explaining to my eldest what he was looking for, he asked us to return for a few days later.
    The blood tests were immediate but my daughter had to return the next morning for the scans.
    When we left, she wasn’t happy.
    I could understand her position; she was exhausted and still in pain.
    Still nothing was going to be instant.
    Not even when it was ‘private’.
    My daughter’s flat mates had walked down to collect her, so I said my goodbyes and caught the train home.

  • Family doctors appointment

    After a lot of toing and froing, my wife decided to come to our eldest’s latest doctors appointment.
    Although this is a good thing, it is also a bit of a pain.
    The appointment was at 9am and our youngest two were at home for the holidays.
    This meant that I had to wake at 6am to walk dog in dark and then drive to collect my mother-in-law at 7.30am so she could watch over two of her grandchildren.
    Then my wife and I walked to the station and trained it up to town.
    Somehow we found ourselves running late though and, when we got out of the station near our eldest’s flat, she’d already left.
    I didn’t really know the way to her doctor’s surgery from there and got us a bit lost.
    My wife became angry with me and, in desperation, we ended up hailing a taxi to take us there.
    Although not speaking to each other, we just made it in time.
    My wife went in to see the doctor with our eldest while I waited outside.
    The doctor ‘thinks’ she needs her gall bladder removed but the NHS will drag its heels.
    Time to use the private medical insurance...

  • Post skate meal

    As our eldest couldn’t join us for the skating due to her defective feet, we drove up to her flat and collected her for lunch.
    She suggested a nearby Pizza and Pasta bar and we all hobbled down there.
    It was a bit trendy for me but the food was good and reasonably (for central London) priced.
    We all got warmed up as we ate and chatted and everyone was happy.
    A sharp pain in one of my teeth prevented me from eating or drinking too much though.

  • London eye-skating

    My wife organised an ice skating session at the London Eye this year.
    We normally go to Somerset house but thought we’d try this place, as it’s closer to my eldest’s flat.
    Parking was expensive and the rink was small and waterlogged but we still had fun.
    I only fell once but thanks to the inch deep layer of water, got soaking wet.
    Soaking wet and suddenly very cold.

  • I Kidney not

    I took my eldest to Guy’s hospital for her Kidney stones follow up appointment.
    The doctor checked her over and assessed her kidneys as ‘OK’ and that at least one of the two new stones appeared to have been passed.
    This meant though, that there was no (kidney related) reason for pain she was in.
    He said that it might be a possible urine infection and advised her to drink lots of water and to increase her consumption of citrus fruits.
    She’s still a ‘kidney stone producer’ though and will have to be monitored every six months.
    Possibly forever…

  • Eldest’s ski no-show

    My eldest’s boyfriend’s family had invited them both to go skiing over the Christmas break.
    It was a generous offer but my daughter declined because she was ill and her feet were too painful for the boots.
    Unfortunately, this caused her boyfriend to turn down the trip too.
    I thought this was a mistake.
    Family holidays invariably peter out as the children reach their upper teens but it’s still a sad time for the parents and grandparents.
    Still, it wasn’t my choice and I was glad that my eldest had someone to look after her while up in town.
    I begrudgingly drove her back there a few days after Christmas.
    ‘Begrudgingly’ because I wanted her to stay home a little longer.


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