Monday, 3 November 2008

Dignified in Cambridge

I subject Shark, Tiger and Squirrel to an experiment today.

It is: Can the little grits go in and out of Cambridge with dignity intact?

Well this doesn't go half bad. I navigate the park and ride with only a bit of undignified screaming from Tiger who refuses to get out of the car. I quietly bribe her with a fruity bun, and promise that she can tell me about significant markers on the bus.

This is one of Grit's travel strategies when entering any new place. Identify supermarkets, petrol forecourts, police stations and post offices on the way in, and store them in a special part of the brain, because we may need to return to them at any moment. I am training the little grits for this job. So far they are not doing too badly, although marking out 'man with dog' I say is not a reliable landmark.

By asking the bus driver for directions we then navigate our way here.

The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences is a splendid building stuffed with fossils and bits of rock. It is also open on a Monday, when many museums are closed for cleaning. The little grits spend a couple of hours here and big Grit declares that since everything is going so well she will bring everyone back when the Darwin exhibition opens in 2009. Actually she makes this statement while vaguely aware of screaming somewhere in the building.

Due to her keen mother instinct, Grit discovers this is Squirrel, who has locked herself in the toilet and can't get out.

But because things are going well and we are still mostly a dignified addition to the studious place that is Cambridge, then it's over the road to here. Largely to see the whale skeleton. We spend a happy hour in the University of Cambridge Zoology Museum squealing Ugh! Look! Don't look! Ugh! Ugh! This is not undignified at all, and is quite the normal response to rows and rows of pickled things in jars. It all strongly remind me of the biology teacher's store cupboard at school.

Now everyone is simultaneously starving and put off food for life thanks to looking at pickled stomachs, so Grit suggests a breath of fresh air and let's find a restaurant. This is a big treat and is the only reward for dignity. And it can only be Pizza Express, thanks to their brilliant marketing coup with a child's menu that actually works for children by treating them like grown ups.

It is here that Grit discovers she has stolen the giant magnifying lens from the Sedgwick Museum by stuffing it in her bag with Shark's drawings of sea creatures.

Despite this, I think things are going well on the dignity front, at least before the toffee cubes from the ice cream sundae kick in.

We have about fifteen minutes for that to happen, when the screaming will start. Just enough time to dash back to the Museum, confess the crime, hand over the goods, and run for the bus to the car park. From here, we drive home. Where we miss Squirrel's ballet lesson by fifteen minutes but are just in time for Shark and Tiger's drama.

Which means that overall I declare today's experiment a success.


Sam said...

Very dignified, indeed. It sounds like you had a great day. Brilliantly organised in fact.
Um...does this mean we should expect a day of disaster soon? Or have you got loads of those saved up in reserve, lol.

Casdok said...

Congratulations on your dignity experiment! And the timing before the toffee cubes kicked in!

The Boisterous Butterfly said...

Congratulations on a job well done. I can't imagine a more dignified day. Your timing was excellent, although you pushed it with the toffees, it got just a bit tricky there.

All in all a good day. Maybe you can make silencers for the gritlets for when they scream so much. You would make a fortune on the royalties alone.

Girls scream and boys shout. Screaming is higher pitched, unfortunately.

Michelle said...

I'm very impressed. Especially to get back home in time for Drama. An achievement day indeed.

sharon said...

What a splendid day out (I mean learning experience of course). What's a little larceny between friends, he-he, that's so easily done when grabbing all the bits and pieces from a drawing session. At least you went back to return the purloined item. Well done Gritlets on keeping the screaming to a minimum and Grit on the virtually perfect timing.

A successful day indeed!

Mean Mom said...

I'm suspicious. What else did you use for bribery, apart from the fruity bun? '0)

Sounds like a good day.

It's always a relief to make it home before the drama starts, isn't it?

mamacrow said...

oh, definitely a success.
if it didn't involve any flashing blue lights, then it's a success!

Grit said...

thank you all for your comments ... they are very supportive right now!