Since my mother had graciously decided we could indeed go to the aquarium today, I had graciously decided I would forgive her for saying, ‘certainly not’, when I asked if I could have a second cereal bar yesterday. She may be really annoying, but she has a heart of gold; and she is my mother. Also, it would seem we have broken our record for ‘number of days in close proximity without a ding-dong falling out’, and there is only one day left!
…and the journey home, of course.
Things did become slightly more strained after breakfast, when my mother told me she was really proud of herself for not starting a ding-dong falling out, even though I am really annoying.
No I swear, really, we are nothing like each other.
Anyway. We had a small wander into Ambleside, which tragically took in several secondhand book shops, but I was mightily restrained and only got two paperbacks of Fine Literature which I will probably stick on the shelf and totally pretend I read. There was also an exhibition of Beatrix Potter’s magnificent original paintings of fungi (at which I silently ground my teeth in rage, because damn).
My mother’s hunt for a bag-a-mac was oddly fruitless, considering every shop that wasn’t a secondhand book shop was an outdoor gear shop, so we gave up and went to see a farmhouse kept in the original style of the owners of tumpty-hum years back, and this was pretty cool, once we were finally allowed in. Everything was carved; and I mean, everything. Apparently it was all the work of one guy who, after taking early retirement and leaving the running of the farm to the rest of the family, settled down to his favourite hobby (except for when he was dragging just about everyone in the neighbourhood to court, which was apparently his second-favourite hobby). He carved a fake staircase to a non-existent third floor, among other things, just to pretend he had a house with three floors. He also carved everything with dates two hundred years earlier than they actually were. While this was all really awesome, from the safe distance of a couple of hundred years, I bet he was incredibly annoying.
We found the aquarium without incident, and lo, there was an even bigger steam train right beside it, although it didn’t go anywhere near as far as the wee one we’d had a go on. It was not very large, but the staff were very friendly and one of the teeny turtles was upside down and had to be rescued, and a lizard got out and had to be rescued, and the guy doing all the rescuing was swearing away because he had to go and feed the otters right then. I guess all jobs have moments when everyone in the whole world wants you to drop everything else and do that thing they want for them, now, and not just mine. (Mine just has that moment every moment of every sodding day, of course).
On our return, we found a massive swathe of mottled cloth poking out of my mother’s car’s exhaust. We had found about ten feet of this stuff the day before, when she had decided she must have run the car up onto something and it had got in, but there was about twenty feet of it now. I speculated that maybe it was part of the inside of the car, somehow, and shouldn’t have gotten out; but since the breadth and depth of the lack of our combined knowledge is shocking, she hailed a passing bus driver who told us it was definitely a prank and someone had shoved it up the exhaust for a laugh.
(He was later proved entirely wrong. It was part of the car and the replacement cost of the exhaust was rather shocking also.
I don’t know why my mother didn’t know that, however, because come to think of it, when I was a kid, we always went to Yorkshire for our holidays so my father could go gliding, and every single time, the exhaust fell off halfway down the motorway.)
And behold, when we got back to the hotel, we had still not had a ding-dong fight; and then my mother had so much stuff to be packed and fitted into the car that this usefully took up all the time until dinner, so we have still not had a ding-dong fight. And there is just the journey home to go!