There is one trick that I have learned whilst dragging bringing up Izzy, and that is, if you keep an kid entertained, your house doesn't get trashed. Yep, it is that simple. Find 'em something to do and you spare yourself the trauma of seeing 'I luv High skook musikal' daubed over your living room walls with an indelible marker.
In this vein, last weekend I decided to take Izzy and her chum (whom I shall call Chumski) on a day out. Actually, Chumski's father, Tim, also decided to come because he was at a loose end.
Bloody marvellous. Bring on the fun.
Pic.No.1 I had decided to take the sprogs to the Natural History Museum (NHM) in Oxford (pictured above), because they were holding a 'Wow, How?' event designed to get kids interested in science. Which is a good thing because I wanted Izzy to be an engineer like me. Or a hairdresser, because then I wouldn't have to go to the hairdresser's shop. We arrived at 2pm
Pic.No.2 The first thing we encountered as we approached the NHM, were a number of cool stalls all demonstrating different sciencey principles. This is Izzy and Chumski at the bubble stall (even though bubbles really aren't that sciencey)
Pic.No.3 They spent nearly 30 minutes blowing bubbles until I realised something. Kids are well easily amused
Pic.No.4 Next up, we went to the 'slime stall'. Basically, the kids were taught simple chemistry, i.e. baking powder + borax = slime. You have no idea how much I had to restrain myself from jumping in and making my own slime
Then, just as the kids were entering the 'zone' with their scientific experiments, an announcement came over the tannoy; 'please note that the Wow How science exhibition will be closing in ten minutes'.
Aw crap. Apparently we should have arrived at 10am instead of 2pm in order to fit everything in.
Izzy's bottom lip started wobbling a bit, and Chumski was looking a bit distraught.
I looked at Chumski's dad, Tim, and said, "oops, I think I got the timings a bit wrong. Same old, same old - great on the big ideas and crap at the execution!" Tim nodded despairingly.
But being an optimistic person, Tim placated the sprogs by saying they could look at the dinosaurs in the NHM instead of doing the 'Wow How' experiments'.
So we still managed to take in some of the Natural History Museum even though the experiments were all packing up.
Pic.No.5 Look, here are the skeletons of a Tyrannasaurus Rex, and another big bastard dinosaur whose name I don't know (probably called something ended in -us)
Pic.No.6 This is a statue of Newton. It's a bit ironic given that he his famous for his 'laws of motion'
Pic.No.7 This is Chumski and Izzy being attacked by a T-Rex. Not a real one, obviously. I don't want Social Services on my back
Pic.No.8 This is a statue of the Prince Consort. I thought that he was that bloke who married Queen Victoria. If he was, I have no idea why a statue of him is installed in the NHM. What naturaley stuff did he do?
Pic.No.9 This is the 'Pitt Rivers Museum'. It is a permanent exhibition tacked onto the back of the NHM. It is basically an enormous room containing thousands of totally barking exhibits, donated by explorers who travelled round the world in the olden days ..... including things like pygmy skulls, and poisoned darts (by the way, that is a huge Totem Pole at the back of the room)
Pic.No.10 A real pair of 'stocks'. This was a typical punishment in the UK's olden days, and the 'stocks' were normally located in the market square of a town. A prisoner would have his ankles and wrists locked into the holes, and he would then be pummelled with rotten tomatoes by the townsfolk. We should still use a system like that
After completing our tour of the NHM and Pitt Rivers Museum, the fun didn't stop there. Tim had suggested that once we had finished at the NHM, we stop by at the Sheldonian theatre to meet his wife who was singing there. Bloody brilliant idea!
Let me explain. Tim and his wife (Denise), are ardent choral singers, so getting a chance to meet up with her, and then to witness her performing in one of the most iconic theatres in the world was a Brucey bonus.
Pic.No.11 On the way to the Sheldonian Theatre we passed the gates of one of the University Colleges
Pic.No.12 We also passed the incredibly famous Hertford Bridge, otherwise known as the 'Bridge of Sighs' after a similar bridge in Venice, Italy
Pic.No.13 Before finally arriving at the Sheldonian Theatre ........ famous for it's circular shape and amazing architecture
Pic.No.14 In order to get a sneaky preview of Denise's choir rehearsing prior to their performance (later that evening), we surreptitiously snook down the side of the theatre and entered by a side door
Pic.No.15 I hadn't been inside the Sheldonian Theatre before, so it was a total treat. Just look at the ceiling. How long did some painter have to lie on his back to paint that mama?
Pic.No.16 This was the orchestra (bottom left), and choir (located to the right hand side, and up on the higher back levels). It was a rehearsel which is why they weren't wearing their posh gear
Pic.No. 17 I did a bit of research about the Sheldonian Theatre and found this ancient photograph of the inside taken before the turn of the last century. It really hasn't changed much
Pic.No. 18 See all those 'organ pipes' on the upper level? Bloody amazing they are
Pic.No.19 Look at this! It's a drawing showing the interior of the Sheldonian Theatre in the late 1700s / early 1800s. The picture on the ceiling still looks the same as in my photographs
Pic.No.20 This is Tim trying to keep Izzy and Chumski amused whilst I watched Denise sing one of Bach's choral works in the Sheldonian Theatre
Vid.No.1 This is the video of Bach's choral work being performed in the Sheldonian Theatre. Sorry the picture is really thin - I had forgotten my Canon Powershot S95 and had to rely on my iPhone. Pants. But how cool is the performance?
Pic.No.21 A picture of one of the windows inside the Sheldonian Theatre, taken just before the concert ended ......
Pic.No.22 After hearing the concert, we left the building and let Izzy and Chumski entertain themselves by running repeatedly around the circular Sheldonian theatre. Ah. Easy life for me!
Pic.No.23 In fact, in a total period of 45 minutes, they only stopped briefly (2-3 minutes) to have a rest from running around the theatre - wearing themselves out - how marvellous?!
Pic.No.24 ..... but in that short period of time a Japanese lady sat down beside them whilst her companions took photographs
"I've had enough of watching them run around the Sheldonian Theatre," Tim said, "some of our friends have met up for a drink at a local pub, do you fancy hooking up with them?"
"Spiffing idea," I replied.
Pic.No.25 So we made our way to the White Horse pub in Broad Street where Tim and Denise's friends were enjoying a beer out front in the sunshine
We whiled away the time chatting and sipping beer, when suddenly I realised that Izzy and Chumski had gone missing.
"Blimey, where are they?" I asked Tim.
"Don't worry, they are in the bookshop next door, called Blackwells," he replied, "and I have checked on them regularly to make sure they are ok."
Yep, everyone was happy because there was beer involved, and the sprogs were enjoying themselves.
So I didn't really take much notice of the police car arriving nearby with it's blue lights flashing. Nor did I heed the two coppers who jumped out of the car and ran into Blackwells Bookshop.
A further five minutes passed before the aforementioned two coppers emerged from the shop, each with their hand gripping a child's shoulder. And as you have probably already guessed, the children in question were no other than ...... Izzy and Chumski.
One of the coppers started radio-ing the police station, and I caught the words 'abondoned and children'. BLOODY HELL!
I remained rooted to the spot with shock, but luckily Tim took the situation in hand. He ran over to the policeman.
"They are not abandoned," he said quickly, "they were just playing in the bookshop and we had been regularly checking them."
"Well the children claimed that they weren't sure where their parents were," said the copper (the tinkers), and then remonstrated with Tim for a good few minutes before handing over the strays, who were grinning broadly at the excitment of it all. I luckily got off scot-free because I pretended that I didn't know who the kids belonged to. Huzzar!
Drama over, the group of us decided to walk and get something to eat in an Italian restaurant in the city centre.
Pic.No.26 We walked from the White Horse pub, down Broad Street (pictured above)
Pic.No.27 Then we turned onto George Street. And there was an amazing stretch limo waiting at the lights. I want one of those I do
Pic.No.28 We were headed for the 'ASK' Italian restaurant on Broad Street, Oxford
Pic.No.29 This is Tim recovering from his encounter with the police, with Izzy and Chumski looking unphased in the background
Pic.No.30 I ordered a Calzone pizza and very nice it was too. I had never eaten at ASK before, even though it is a chain restaurant, but would definitely go back there again
And so dahlink, it was an uneventful, yet pleasant end, to a somewhat eventful day. I love eventful days I do. They are ace.
So, have you even been arrested? 'Fess up now.
Annie (Lady M) x
Anne Dickens | The day after yesterday