Wednesday, 7 November 2007

The Castle of St George

Ahhh! Castle visiting! Everyone is happy, except Shark, who says she's had enough of castles and wants to go back to see the fish. No, we say, enough fish for now. Today we are seeing castles.

I think we are castlephiles. Well I am anyway, and I don't care about anyone else. If we're in reach of a castle, we have to go, that's it. Probably, they just humour me. But Shark, Squirrel and Tiger wouldn't cooperate if they really didn't want to go, would they? No, they'd be refusing to put their knickers on at home, or making ridiculous excuses like 'I want to make a chair. It's not fair. You know I wanted to make a chair. You said I could make a chair yesterday and now you won't let me'. Either that or they'd all engineer a great big fight so that everyone gets grounded, and the moment those words are out of my mouth, 'Right! That's it! You're not going to the castle!' then everyone would shut up arguing and go back to playing, mission achieved.

They could, of course, adopt a more straightforward approach of screaming and kicking in the car, so we stop at the bus stop again and I refuse to drive any further until the police move me on. And then I say that in my confession I would have to tell the police how badly my children behave, and then I would be deemed an unfit mother and my babies would all have to go to foster homes. I think that's the pointless and incoherent argument I use regularly at bus stops. Anyway, if we did get to the castle, Tiger, Shark and Squirrel could make it feel like a walk through Hell until they got their way and we left.

So when I say today we're all going to the Castle of St George and not the fish house, there's only a bit of ritual grumbling, which makes me think they secretly like castles.

Well they certainly like the Castle of St George. Tiger sees a lizard and is ecstatic about it, pointing to a precarious set of steps. She says she and daddy have just been down there and seen it, and no one else goes that way. I tell her I can't understand why not, looking at the loose stones, wonky steps, precipitous drop and nothing to hold onto. Then Shark says she wants to explore the turrets and legs it towards some particularly dangerous looking elevated pathways that seem to be walled only to knee height. I have visions of her tripping over and start to calculate whether her fall would be broken by the tree below and how many bones she can get away with breaking before it's fatal.

When I'm not assessing the risk of fatal injuries with Shark I'm nervously watching Tiger and Squirrel chase each other between the turrets before scaring me witless by suddenly disappearing as we come upon a fifty foot drop on both sides.

By the time we have to go to pick up the luggage and catch the evening flight home, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger all say they'd like to stay another hour. I'm just glad to be back once more on the paved area of the courtyard where I can't see any opportunity to be disemboweled, impaled on a tree or smashed to pieces on the flagstones. In fact the only hazard I can see is me slipping on the smooth stones in my eagerness to get to the flat bits, or the junior Grits pushing each other into the prickly bush by the toilets in an attempt to get out of the way of the patrolling cat.

'We can't stay any longer' I say briskly. 'And anyway' I add, 'I think I might be going off castles'.


Michelle said...

"Great views from the top and the children enjoyed running around the castle ruins. I went on the ramparts and was glad I hadn't taken the children with me as there are very low walls in places and I would have found it incredibly stressful having them up there with me."

Yes. You cannot have memorised every post I blog :-)

Avoid Nimes Amphitheatre too for same reasons.

grit said...

omg ... i should have checked!!

HelenHaricot said...

rofl at you 2!!
your blogs have reminded me of a v fab low budget long weekend chris and i spent in lisbon pre kids. the castle ruins were much more relaxing! we went to many f the same places but didn't see the fish :)

alison said...

Aw, I love Lisbon. Would love to take the kids - am past caring about whether they fall off ramparts.