Saturday, 28 November 2009

Why oh why are museum cafes so expensive?

We have spent three hours in the Prado.

OK then, let's cut to the chase and say


and which unfortunately I keep asserting belongs to Prada.

But now we are knackered.

My eyes are bleeding, drawn squinting close at Goya, tracing atoms of crackled paint. And those colours of Fra Angelico! So pure and perfect I have been sniffing, just in case I can whiff paint and turps. Now my fingers have started twitching with involuntary spasms because I have been yearning to snatch man with a hand on his chest, shove him under my arm and run off with him. But I cannot decide. I want Durer as well. At the very sight of him I am slobbering. He is ohsoclose to my tender touch. I will be kind to him. I promise.

Dig says stop dribbling. He says I need a stabilising cup of tea, a jam sandwich and a packet of crisps. So let's shift our arses over to the Prado cafe like genteel ladies and an honorary Dig-like gentleman might do, and let's partake of a spot of lunch. Refreshed, we can restart our tour from the eighteenth century and take it to tea time.

We make it over to the Cafe Prado - and you can bet my entire body is elevated five inches off the floor at the very idea that Grit is become the sort of gal to enter such a refined place of luncheon - then we squeeze our five great British rears around a table built for four, and Dig strolls off patting his hungrytummy for the savoury delights to come.

He reappears five minutes later, with the shocked expression of a man who has seen a premonition that his body is to be ripped apart by demons. He needs only to have his hand round his own throat feeling for his whispering pulse to complete the picture of the near-death experience. Clutching a small bottle of wine, possibly one pipette's worth, he can only stutter How much? For a sandwich!

Now Dig is not particularly a poor man, but neither is he rich. He is northern. He has priorities about his brass. One of them is not to hand over fifty quid for a round of sandwiches and a bag of crisps to a cafe, even if it is in the Prada.

We all squeeze up again and have a very good British moan and groan about the ridiculous anti-family prices charged by museum cafes the world over.

And these are cafes in places where we cannot get out. We don't want to get out! We want to stay! We want to have lunch and go and see more art! But we are hostages. Fivefamilyhungrybellies. The only way out now I can see with dignity is to pin five hundred eurodollars to Dig, blindfold him, and shove him back again in the right direction for the cafe staff to rip those notes right off his shirt and stuff a cheese bap in his hand.

But Grit's resourceful and enterprising spirit saves the hour. I have a half a dozen semi-chewed bits of bread in my handbag which I have been carrying around for a few days, so we eat those. Here is Squirrel, examining this feast.

See the happy glow when she is replete!

So when we have dined on bits of handbag bread with added fluff, some tap water I have scrounged, and half a pipette of wine, off we go again to enjoy art.

Does this dent me? Not at all. I have yet to stand in front of Velazquez. I may strip off.

And this merely proves my point. We do not have to be the great and good to be in any art gallery in the world. I am loud, awkward, ugly, mean, broke, and shop at Lidl.

But this art is all ours. And I am in heaven. (Starving.)


Moohaa said...

Love this post! I need to find an art museum around here.... Seattle might have one.

I agree, even prices here for meals at places like that are absurd. I would rather make the kiddos stare jealously at the rich kids eating pre-packaged crap while they nibble on squashed peanut butter sandwiches I always stash when we go to places like that. :) Go Grit!

Lisa said...

Hilarious! I am a carrier of squashed months-old Go-Ahead bars, so we never starve either, not matter how caught short we are.

Also- that picture- man with hand on his chest, had me all of a wobble tonight, as I have just come from a friends house where her child has 'done' a copy of it,then came home and saw it here too. Spooky!

Lisa xx

Elizabeth said...

Lol! We always have something right before going into the museums-preferably a banana-it seems to fill them best! It at least holds off the first complaints of starvation by at least 45 minutes! Handbags are perfect for raisin boxes, Brazil nuts and cereal bars.

And I know all this because my son would keel over with shock if he had to go a whole hour without food! So I'm in awe of the girls for lasting that long!

screamish said...

ha!!! was in that café last summer...and we went broke too...all that black formica and brushed steel- I felt very cool, though

Grit said...

you are right moohaa! we home educators occupy some high ground in the feeding department, even if we are broke, no?!

spooky, lisa, i agree! and he has one of those stares, right? the sort that follow you about the room! still want to run off with him though. think it's the beard. and the delicate fingers.

they didn't do too bad, elizabeth, and surprised me too, considering lunch. normally i pack them up with porridge in the morning and feed them carbohydrates if they have any type of ordeal or impending starvation rations ahead!

i tell you screamish, i felt so glamorous. even with a lidl bag and dried bread. says something for the decor.