Could someone please explain to me where the summer went? One minute we were all going mental with thirty end of term events per minute and the next thing I know, it’s September. We even had an extra week of holiday because Boy the Younger changed counties and Leicestershire and Northamptonshire broke up at different times, but it still wasn’t quite long enough.
As usual, the time just vanished; we packed a lot in to those precious weeks though. English Heritage’s History Live! was the first fixture of the summer and we spent two blissful days wandering through two thousand years of history, seeing Celts and Gladiators, Knights and Roundheads, Tommies and Jerries. We were entertained by a medaeival jester made to swoon over dashing Punjabi Lancers.
In the second week of August we headed down to London for a couple of days with the Aged Parent and then spent the Sunday with Sister the First at the Science Museum. It must be twenty years since I’ve been there and a day simply isn’t enough – one almost needs a day per floor. It’s a wonderful way to introduce children to the wonders of science and technology that is worlds away from the dryness of the classroom. Our highlights were probably the section on Human Psychology and a display on 3d printing that is so far beyond my understanding it left me dazed.
And thence to Glastonbury to camp in Lady Somerset’s garden. As I may have mentioned before, I hate camping with a passion, but the boys love it and we do at least have a tent that even the six foot three inch Boy the Elder can stand up in. This year though, I had privately asked Lady S if, if the weather turned, we could sneak into her spare room and abandon tent. Oh how I prayed for the storm that came later in the week!
I decided to take the boys to Lyme Regis for the day, obviously for the seaside but also for a blast of palaeontology and a bit of Jane Austen. The weather was on our side and we had a glorious day walking along The Cobb, squealing as the waves crashed against the wall, pottering around the Fossil Museum oohing and aahing over skeleton Plesiosaurs. Then we headed for the beach. Northamptonshire is lovely and pastoral, but there is something wonderful and alluring about the sea and, if I am near it, I have to go in. We splashed about for hours, alternately freezing and boiling as we ran in and out on the stones. We picnicked, we snorkelled (hopelessly) we had ice cream and shellfish in little polystyrene tubs. All was right with the world.
The next day we went to the North Somerset Butterfly House. This is effectively a large tropical greenhouse full of glorious plants and swarming with about thirty species of butterfly, mainly from Asia, Africa and South America. It was wonderful to see these glorious, delicate creatures zipping about among the trees, their colours flashing in the steamy light. There was also a pond with turtles and terrapins who swam through the water with their heads held high like old ladies at the municipal baths.
The heat was very dehydrating though and a large amount of tea and cake was required at the adjacent garden centre before we were quite ready to head home. Garden centres are so pleasant these days. This one was like a small village and was a very useful shelter for when the storm broke. And boy did it break. Of which more tomorrow…