Up early so to get the train to Birmingham at 8.45am. I cycled down to the station as I was ready by 8, but the family were rushing round trying to get ready for the 8.10 bus, and I decided not to engage with the stress, and got to the station at 8.15. There was another reason too... Laura had left her jar of dried bananas with me when we parted last night, so I told her (via facebook last night) that I'd leave it in my pannier in the cycle racks near Platform 1, if she was going into the station today.
As I arrived back at the front of the station after securing my bike, the family walked in... they'd got an East Yorkshire bus and it had gone a faster route to the station and got in at 20 past.
Our train was a bit late but we had comics and sandwiches and I took my laptop, to do 'inbox' and 'sent items' deletion, and deal with any un-dealt-with emails...
A very slow journey, but peaceful. Both boys played with their Nintendo DS games. We got into Birmingham 25 minutes late because of a broken down train in the way near Newcastle, and cable theft near Leeds.
Our friends Ulrich and Katharina were waiting, with their two sons who are the same age as ours, and their new baby daughter who is 10 months and very cute!
We went to a restaurant called Cafe Rouge which was quite expensive for the size of portions but was a nice place to eat, and we spent quite a bit of time there. Then we split up, with Gill and Katrina and the baby going for a wander round, and the male contingent going to the IMAX cinema which was about 25 minutes walk at Millennium Point, in the sleet which wasn't very pleasant. I was impressed with the escalators in this building, some of which sense where the crowds are, whether they are going up or down, and switch directions to accommodate this. Ulrich had booked tickets so we were in the queue quite soon, and got a good seat in the cinema.
My sons and I have seen Avatar in 3D before, at City Screen in York, but the chance to see it again, and at the IMAX huge 'engulfing' screen was well worth it. Ulrich and his boys hadn't seen it before and were impressed. I like seeing a film twice... I often spot things the second time that I miss the first, and today was not a disappointment.
Afterwards we had an interesting talk about Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis, as for me, this film gives a nod to that with the Goddess Interconnected Life Force 'Eywa' being not unlike the word Gaia.... but maybe this is in my mind only.
Then we walked back into the centre and met Gill and Katharina in Waterstones and we first all went to a Tesco for some sandwiches and bread/spreadables, and then headed for the nearby shopping mall which sits on top of the New Street Station, where we had a coffee in Starbucks and the Tesco teatime stuff. Katharina and Ulrich left their eldest with us and he came with us on the 7.30 train back to York. He'll go back home on Friday.
I used the journey to compose some lengthy and difficult emails and delete another 186 from my inbox and sent items. Good stuff!
I was pleased to see that Laura had taken the jar of bananas, and I raced home, only taking 5 minutes longer than the taxi that the others took.
Spent ages watching the Winter Olympics and emailing, washing up between times until the wee early hours. Brilliant day!