Sunday, 21 February 2010

I may be defeated, but I am never giving in

Pah! Rain, sleet, snow? What means this melange to us, intrepid explorers? I laugh in the face of British weather!

But not for long because it is bloody freezing. Now get in the car and let's drive around all the minor roads of Suffolk for three hours. Brilliant!

Wake up! Arse dollies! Off we go!

This Suffolk driving is not so easy. Especially when that's the minor road to follow.

Of course I'll look on the bright side! This isn't Norfolk. Because that's the only time I ever used a compass for real. You get amongst those woolthread tracks, flatland all around, then turn round three times with no sense of direction and pfff. You are contemplating a life living in the car boot, matey, eating your own shoes. Pray then, like me, to be found before you die.

But wait! This is what we discover! St James's Chapel. Don't ask me how. I became distracted by an English Heritage sign. Anyway, it comes with an original hooded Medieval monk.

Actually that is Squirrel, but she is doing that thing of standing still, dark stranger muttering curses. Possibly at me. I have just driven her to a cold stone hut in the sleet in the middle of nowhere and I declare this brilliant.

Next stop on our fantastic tour is Dedham, where we can breathe Constable country. Nerdy types for whom this matters found out where Constable painted The Stour Valley and Dedham Village. We might peer through the hedge, discover the same, and live a lesson in Art History. Here I plan to turf the little grits out the car and walk them about the beautiful countryside, admiring the view and drawing pictures.

OK, we did not quite get out the car.

Mostly on account of the artillery rain bashing in the windscreen and a mutiny of little grits complaining their shoes leak and they have no rain hoods and No. They are not leaving the car. No matter how much I gasp in astonishment, Look! this field is art and it is brilliant.

Hmph. Gritlets, you will come back to this place yet, I warn you.

Anyway, next stop! Rear end to a housing estate in Clacton on Sea. They have a Martello Tower. You can bet I am prepared and lecture everyone on the Frenchies coming by sea. History! Brilliant.

Rats. They escape!

Time to bury the little Arsefaces in the sands. At which point, the sunshine magically glimmers for all of fifteen minutes.

Time to head into Clacton. Is there not something brilliant about the English seaside resort under February rainclouds? The wistful echo of the single slot machine? The sorrow of the nonchurning pink candyfloss machine? The mournful sobbing, somewhere at the back of the offy?

There is only one thing to do. Hide on the pier and eat chips.

And then, because we haven't enjoyed ourselves enough, up to Colchester. Where, at about 3.15pm, I sustain the brilliance no longer, and slump against a pillar in Peacocks covering my face with my hands. It is fine, little grits. Ignore me. Leave me here wrestling with dark thoughts, momentarily defeated, in weary refuge at the world's most horrible place filled with shocking pink and black, suddenly thrown here looking for boots because I cannot bear the Tiger whines about soaking wet feet for a second longer.

I overcome. Of course I do. Right next door is the fantastic Colchester Natural History Museum. I know an old Church looks unlikely. But it is brilliant. Offering free geology, stag beetles, and a very patient member of staff who waits twenty minutes for Squirrel to count £1.70 in non-shiny coins from a Dalmatian dog purse. I recommend it. Particularly if by now you feel like a shuffling dribbly hobo with cold feet, wet coats and red noses with what feels like seaweed leaking out of them, looking for an hour's sanctuary at the frayed end of a long, long day.

A day which I can truly say was brilliant.


Big mamma frog said...

I just love that word BRILLIANT. When said through gritted teeth and grimaced face it's almost a lifeform on its own: a sort of slightly sparkly - but covertly sludgy - amoeba.

Rachel M. said...

sounds exciting but you do you summon the energy to drive back at the end of the day?

Angela said...

And now compare this to a normal routine daily school day! How much LIFE did you all experience, haha! I love Constable, thank you for this.

Katherine said...

What a brill day. Next time, Sutton Hoo!

Anonymous said...

How on earth could this ever be replicated in a school?

Grit said...

that's the key bigmammafrog! We folks NEVER GIVE IN, what?

rachel, i have a drive limit of 1 and a half hours each way on any one day. Further than that, and it's an overnight stop. I took the winding routes there - and the dual carriageway home!

hi angela! the kids have stood in front of constable in the national gallery, so i thought maybe this would be a good follow up moment. it will be too. in summer.

you are right katherine, sutton hoo is excellent; we've taken a guide to the mounds and that was highly recommended. are you coming to the uk when the staffordshire hoard is all out?

hi mtjam! we couldn't replicate what we have done in school. our form of home ed is a society-based experience which highly values learning by doing.

but many people measure education not in this way but whether the kids can fill in a worksheet about martello towers, or write a story about the seaside?

i have to say that the answer is, yes, probably. but you can be sure the gritlets would do it their way.

Pete Darby said...

Ah, my old stomping grounds... nice to see Clacton staying classy...

Grit said...

pete, i think clacton could have a lot going for it - sunshine would really have helped. a lot.