Thursday, 21 February 2013

Change of tactic

We hit Cambridge.

Not literally. I didn't beat the walls with my fists or anything. These days, hitting Cambridge means buying tickets, picking up festival literature, and popping in on the Quentin Blake exhibition before making quick decisions about sports shoes and roller skates.

Anyway, those days of physically beating up the walls are long gone. I don't have three screaming toddlers to drag around England any more, a time that yes, I admit, did occasionally require me to burst a tsunami of frustrated mother vengeance upon an innocently bystanding length of wall.

These days are different. I have three quite grown up young ladies who I trust can follow their own interests independently and responsibly, without needing my constant supervision or constant parental chiding. So my preferred modus operandi these days is to take Tiger, Shark and Squirrel to improving places, cheerily say, Meet me back at the entrance in two hours! then ignore them. Thus I can slope off to the coffee shop on my own or buy William Blake postcards without anyone looking, stuff like that.

Actually, I don't quite get rid of Tiger today. She hangs around, asking, How much longer are we going to spend standing up? Is it lunch time? When can I have cake? When are we going home? Why are you saying that? Do I have to? Where are you going? Can I come? Where are the toilets? What are you doing that for? Do I have to? etc etc etc.

I don't quite get rid of Squirrel, either. She follows me about alternatively reminding me that I owe her two pound fifty and the interest is rising daily, then demanding the camera to take photographs of things that don't fit into her pockets. Like death masks, Mesopotamia maps, and Ancient Greek pots.

Shark, also. She stays with me to supervise me for the most part, telling me off and explaining in some detail why I am quite the nuisance I am, and how the day would go much easier on everyone if only I did as I was told.

I need new motherly strategies for all of this, understandably.

I mean, I can't go about beating up walls anymore. But my goal is still to bring about a state of my young ladies where they are indeed responsible and resourceful and shove off when they are told, leaving me alone to do as I please, when I can buy two William Blake postcards without anyone saying, Why are you buying those? You owe me two pounds fifty-five, and Don't pick them up and handle them unless you are going to buy them, now hurry up and stop dawdling.

So I apologise to all the staff in the Fitzwilliam. Of course I know I am not allowed to take photographs in your museum! You don't need to keep telling me. And no, it is not because I do not understand your simple rule. I do understand it. Incidentally, now you got me started, no, I don't sympathise with it, it's there to protect copyright, it's nothing to do with preserving the artifacts, and anyway, there is a simple reason I keep taking photographs when I am not allowed to, and it is this.

When Tiger, Shark and Squirrel see me getting out the camera they know for sure another member of staff is about to head right over to me and tell me off.

If you are oh-so-nearly-aged-13, this is obviously a circumstance too humiliating for words. Thus if I wave the camera about, I can guarantee five minutes on my own while they all hide, wanting absolutely nothing to do with the criminal mother that they possess, and I can make a run for it.

Now enjoy these photos, the best ones of the day, moments before I was spotted and told off once again. And I shall reflect upon the lengths I have to go, in order to lose the kids and buy two William Blake postcards without anyone looking.


Michelle said...

They've pissed me off too for that reason. Especially because I wasn't even taking photos but checking my phone for messages as I was arranging to meet someone. The staff member told me mobile phones were allowed either.

Michelle said...

Whilst I love the museum contents, I do find the Fitz the least welcoming museum of all the many I've visited. Contrast their approach with that of the V&A: