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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Weekend roundup [20141020|12:14]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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After returning from Germany reasonably early on Friday, it wasn’t too difficult to muster the energy to journey to Oxfordshire for a visit to the Ai Weiwei sculpture exhibition at (Unesco World Heritage Site) Blenheim Palace.

Blenheim isn’t a National Trust or English Heritage property, so we don’t have memberships that cover it. It’s also an eye-watering £22.50 per adult for a day admission. However, once you’ve paid it, you can convert this to an annual membership and come back any time you like for the subsequent year. Since Humuhumu had a lot of energy to run off by the time we got there (it’s over an hour’s drive from home) and we didn’t get to spend any time indoors, we’re determined to go again in a couple of weeks to at least attempt to see the sculptures that are housed inside the Palace.

It was a blowy, blustery day and Humuhumu loved dashing around the majestic grounds, helping us to hunt down the sculptures. The symmetrical shiny blue-purple stones were the hands-down favourites.

[Image of Humuhumu running through one of Ai Weiwei's sculptures at Blenheim Palace.]

[Humuhumu and Dada peering over the top of one of the shiny blue-purple stones.]

[Pondering our distorted reflections in a shiny blue-purple stone.]

Later in our perambulations, we met a friendly pheasant. Humuhumu, who had been dashing around like a mad thing before spotting it, suddenly became very careful and quiet. It didn’t quite get close enough to take bits of granola bar from her hand, but it wasn’t far off.

[Greeting the friendly pheasant in the palace grounds.]

[Pheasant wasn't amenable to eating oak leaves, but when Humuhumu decided to share her granola bar, pheasant became very interested indeed.]

Hours of fresh air and exercise tired everyone out, so I’m afraid poor Bloke had to drive home with only the dulcet tones of Radio 4 playing “Under Milk Wood” by Dylan Thomas* to drown out the snorkeling of his passengers.

* NB: I do not recommend listening to this whilst dozing unless you enjoy having very strange dreams.

The next day everyone had a lie-in, even Humuhumu, who slept until almost 8 AM. (Note to Daughter: More Sundays like this please.) Once we were up, we went to the garden centre to get wallflowers and pansies to plant in our front pots, as the geraniums were beginning to flag in the cooler weather. We are once again keeping up appearances in our village, to the relief of the neighbours, I'm sure.

In the afternoon, we headed to the Avoncroft Museum nearby for Trebuchet and Cannon Reenactment Day. We texted some other parents on the off-chance that they were at loose ends for Sunday activities, and to our immense surprise, everyone turned up. Humuhumu was delighted at the company. The four-year-old girl pretty much adopted Humuhumu, and cried when her Daddy tried to take her away before she could give her a goodbye cuddle and kiss.

The other children didn’t much care for the noisy cannon demonstrations, but Humuhumu’s response to every firing was a passionate demand for “MORE BANG!” and “Nani do it!” Oh dear.

Also filed under Oh Dear: Humuhumu has got quite a strong Brummie accent at the moment. Here is an attempt to record her pronunciation of a few words/phrases. I need to get some video of this for posterity before she loses it, which she very probably will when she’s older. She doesn’t hear any Brummie at home or from our friends and relations.

Bye Bye = “Buh Boy”
Like a diamond in the sky = “Loik a doymund in da skoy”
Bus = “Booss”
Daddy = “Dah-doy”

[Humuhumu and Dada at the trebuchet & cannon-firing display at the Avoncroft Museum. She’s in the middle of a request for “MORE BANG” here.]

This entry was originally posted at http://nanila.dreamwidth.org/948426.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.

[User Picture]From: alice_mccoy
2014-10-20 15:53 (UTC)
I love random sculptures. What did Humuhumu think they were?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-10-20 21:05 (UTC)
I suspect she mostly thought they were perfect toddler playthings and didn't really understand why we kept telling her not to touch them!
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[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2014-10-21 03:01 (UTC)
So the blue things were hard? And solid too?

I think Humuhumu will be a good athlete as she gets older! She seems to have lots of energy and stamina!

The trebuchet and cannon firing sounds like a ton of fun! What did they launch with the trebuchet?

When you go into Blenheim, can you see all of the old antiques and what not, or just the sculpture exhibit?

Do London people look down on Humuhumu's Brummie accent? It seems like something that would be good if she got rid of as she got older...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-10-21 13:42 (UTC)
They were ceramic (I think?) but I'm not sure how solid they were as we (the adults) obeyed the signs directing us not to touch them.

Yes, I think she will. We'll have to get her enrolled in something that involves a lot of running. The bloke is in favour of rugby but I don't think she can start until she's six. So we might try and find something she can do when she's a bit younger.

They launched a rubber ball full of water with the trebuchet. It made a satisfying "thunk" when it landed!

You can have a tour of most of the Palace, and the sculptures are placed in various rooms. So it's a bit of a treasure hunt.

The Brummie accent is apparently one of the most disparaged in the entire country. :( I quite like it, but it tends to be associated with lower class backgrounds. I doubt she'll hang on to it, particularly if, say, she decides to go to university or have a career that requires one to be perceived as coming from a privileged background.
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[User Picture]From: mysterysquid
2014-10-21 09:07 (UTC)
Nice sculptures. :D

Trebuchet and cannon day??? Sweet!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-10-21 13:48 (UTC)
Yes, I liked the ones we saw outside! I'm hoping the indoor ones are fun to find too.

The Avoncroft often has reenactment days, in association with what I assume are the local SCA groups. This was a small demonstration, but a good one!
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