Friday, 28 September 2007

Day trip

9.20 am: 'Let's all drive to Aylesbury and visit the Roald Dahl gallery next to Bucks museum', announces Mummy Grit.

This is Grit's great idea today. Because:

a) It is raining and we need to be indoors and not indoors here. This is thanks to all the arguing that's going on, mostly over pointless things like who saw the colour green first this morning.

We have these bickery-days, when Shark says something that Squirrel doesn't like. So Squirrel replies. And it's not polite. Shark answers back. Tiger wades in. Shark retaliates. Squirrel shouts. Shark screams. Tiger takes sides. Grit says something, probably 'Stop arguing'. Then Squirrel and Shark have a go at Grit and Grit replies. Shark answers back. And so it goes on. Yesterday morning, four hours of triplet bickering started over a banana before ending in a big scream and Tiger being removed from the kitchen.

b) I want to escape Elizabeth Hurley. Hurley is getting up Tiger's nose bigtime and even managing to trigger Tiger's rages, sometimes by being in the same room.

Hurley is getting up my nose too. Theoretically she offers us five hours worth of support and help each day, which could take the form of cleaning, help with the children, and so on. Yesterday we clocked house help at 55 minutes. Three hours twenty minutes were spent on the phone. If we all run off today I don't feel obliged to make awkward conversation in bad French when all I really want to say is 'Get off the phone and do the effing vacuuming, which incidentally is on the list of activities we needed you to do and which, further, you have never done'.

c) Roald Dahl has been King here for a while but he's slowly being knocked off his slot by magic unicorns and fairies (which in my opinion deserve bottom slot, but hey ho, I'm just the keeper of the library tickets, so what do I know). We need to go and praise RD before he's exiled from the kingdom by 'My Sweet Pretty Loveheart Magic Unicorn' or whatever rubbish can be found on the revolving bookcase in the children's section where all the fairy, pegasus and unicorn books seem to go. If I was a burglar I would steal that revolving bookcase and take it down the tip.

I'm not sure Dahl deserves King slot, incidentally. I think there's a touch of class-based misogynism in his work and some bits leave me feeling suspicious and uncomfortable. On the other hand, Simon Callow reading The Witches is one of my favourite audio experiences ever ever ever.

d) If we go to the Dahl place, I will feel we are doing proper home ed and not just messing about in the playground or at the pub. Then I will be a good Mummy Grit, feeling good about home education, and I will have Achieved Something.

6.20 pm: 'Thank goodness we've done that!' announces Mummy Grit, slapping down the sandwich box and empty juice cartons.

a) It rained. My goodness it rained. I couldn't find anywhere to park close by the museum. Worse, I got tangled up in the one-way streets and had to park in a shopping centre which cost me a fortune. We then had to walk back to the museum, accosting members of the Aylesbury public as we went, including the woman who worked at the tourist office. We all got wet. One lady thought I was not asking directions but taking a survey and refused to speak to me. Well, I know we're not at our brightest on a wet Friday but Look! I am surrounded by wet kids having a fight over who saw the green car first.

b) I am glad to have escaped Hurley. The house is exactly the same as we left it. Hurley says she is going out tonight so what time is dinner?

c) We listen to Dahl stories in the car on the way to get us all in the mood.

OK then, we listen to 15 minutes of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator because the other hour is taken up with arguing about what we should listen to.

d) Mummy Grit is happy because today she has achieved something.

Getting there and getting home again, mostly.


HelenHaricot said...

must go there. not thaaaaat far from parents

Allie said...

We have days where dispute seems to be compulsory. They just disagree about every single little thing that happens. Very tiring. I think you should complain about EH to whatever agency you used - if you used one... What the hell do I know - never even imagined an au pair. For a start he/she'd have to share with the guinea pig as we have no spare room.