A couple of weeks ago we were invited down to London for a Tesco Toy Casting; at RADA no less.
Our travel expenses were paid for and as the boys had never been to London we decided to make a weekend of it and visit some friends we see all too rarely.
The boys were very excited and so, with flat cap on and t’whippets vaccinated against rabies (well, it’s as good as France that there London) we set off on the train bright and early.
Being northern I may have overplayed the stereotypes, and I’ll admit to being a little disappointed the city folk hadn’t seen fit to greet the boys in their pearly best, but there were still some fashion sights to tickle my cockles (I may be confusing my cockney slang here, I’ll stop before it becomes any more offensive).
Now we have big glasses up north, they’re everywhere, but I saw people wearing windscreens. These were so big a Pantomime Dame would question their credibility. I saw men wearing make-up. And this is where I became very confused … men … wearing trousers … that were red! RED! Good luck bringing those north of Watford! What, they already have? I must get out more.
Anyway I digress. We arrived at RADA where there was a room full of toys for the boys to play with and they jumped straight in. They were on good form and with only five minutes until they were called upstairs to audition in front of camera what could go wrong? I’ll tell you what could go wrong, Sonny could find a Nerf gun, that’s what could go wrong!
With the cold-blooded stare of his mother he picked it up, walked over to Luca, and assassinated him. Point blank. Straight between the eyes. There was a long pause. A long pause during which Sonny casually walked away and Luca tried to work out what had just happened. He soon did and burst into tears.
“Sonny and Luca, we’re ready for you now.”
Now I knew they wouldn’t perform to camera anyway, I’d dismissed that possible pension plan a long time ago, but they took it to an extreme I hadn’t quite expected. By now Luca had just about stopped crying, and as he stood in front of camera with the sucker mark still spreading across his forehead, thoughts of revenge were clearly etched deep in his eyes. He does a brilliant face of thunder, but this was the face of a full-blown electrical storm. Sonny on the other hand was nervous. Not of the camera, but of the reprisals coming his way from a brother betrayed. If he’s learnt anything in his short life it’s that if you attempt an assassination on your little brother you’d better pray it’s a successful one.
They asked the boys questions, all of which were met with an unflinching stare from Luca and a cowardly shuffle away by Sonny. Had they been auditioning for a Tarantino film they’d have nailed it. As it was for the friendly face of Tesco toys, probably not.
As the staff became a little uneasy themselves from Luca’s ability not to blink for what seemed like an hour we returned downstairs with a goodie bag for each of them.
As other families left with their impeccably performing children and the promise of being informed as to whether they’d been successful, we left in silence. Silent but for the collective sigh of relief as Luca left the building. Actually they may have seen me filling my pockets with sandwiches from the buffet. I didn’t really. OK, maybe one … and a biscuit … or two.
Once outside they performed. Of course they bloody did. They were mocking my attempt at turning them into obnoxious cast members of the Green Balloon Club, and rightly so.
Luca skipped down the road with the interpretive dance style of a crab. Sonny followed with his range of funny walks, none of which are conducive with travelling on the Underground.
Another thing not conducive with Underground travel is a pushchair, particularly one loaded like a pack mule. How the hell do Londoners get around with a child? I can only assume its overground as anything below is nigh on impossible.
Nonetheless we somehow managed to get to the very busy Science Museum which would make for a wonderful day out in itself if we’d had the time.
We visited the Houses of Parliament so the boys could see Big Ben, followed by a lovely walk along the Southbank with all its fabulous street entertainment.
They were ridiculously excited to see the sights and mime artists they recognised from when Mr Tumble visited the capital, but worryingly they were most attracted to a strange creature in a basket that was like something from a Mighty Boosh nightmare? Sonny normally shies away from people he doesn’t know, but high-five a creepy human-cat-like-thing in a basket, why not?
We then spent a wonderful evening catching up with an old school friend and his beautiful family before heading home on Sunday morning.
It was a fabulous weekend. It lived up to all the boys expectations and they’re already longing to return, although I suspect this is mostly down to their new-found friends Mani and Noa who kindly gave up one of their bedrooms, their LEGO, and a lot of patience at the boys constant questions about Minecraft.
I also realised that as much as I love London I’m much happier living on the outskirts … up here in Manchester.