Feb 21 2014

Disappointment should be expected

Category: Generalfootlight @ 15:47

I first went to the Horniman Museum as a small child. My dad and mum were always taking me – and then ‘us’, when my sister was born – to places of interest. Museums, parks, country houses, art galleries, London’s tourist attractions – we were exposed to every form of culture available at the time.Some of it stuck, some of it didn’t, but at least we were given the chance to choose what we liked and what we didn’t. Back then, the Horniman was a fusty, old dark place, full of stuffed animals and dingy hidden corners. I loved it, though, as it was so different from my everyday life.

So I decided to reccie for a school visit next academic year, as it will have changed dramatically in the years since I was last there. I was not wrong.

Firstly, I had chosen to go during half term week, which was unavoidable as I can’t go during the week in term time. Consequently, the place was teeming with children, each adult appearing to have more than their fair share – I’m guessing they were taking some for people who had to work. There was at least one pushchair per group and none of the ‘pushers’ would have gained a licence if they were giving them away! The museum now has considerably more floor area and is on three floors, but this did not seem to alter the fact that I felt as though I was running the gauntlet just to get from one side of a room to the other. There was a lot of ‘stuff’ (I apologise to my colleague, who would know who she is if she ever managed to read this) which was displayed in huge, glass cases in every room. The museum possesses a massive musical instrument collection, also behind glass. The African room is packed with scary masks and headdresses and the old part of the building – the one I remember – is still full of stuffed (mostly extint) animals.

The teacher in me was sorely disappointed.
1. In order to speak to the Education Officer, I would have had to queue up for the ticket office to ask to speak to her/him – even though I didn’t want a ticket. The queue was incredibly long when I arrived and no better when I was about to leave. I didn’t bother. I was given this information by a young man at the door who had a walkie-talkie but was apparently unable to contact people with it,
2, There were no gallery specific leaflets – not even for ready money.
3. There was no museum guide. Anywhere. I asked.
4. A school party would be able to enter the special exhibitions for a reduced price, but it wasn’t possible to book online or over the phone. It had to be done on the day, at the ticket office.

I really want to take some kids for a story-telling workshop but I’m not at all sure I would be able to book it without a lot of hassle. I will try because it looks good and because the devil in me wants to be able to complain when something goes wrong. Am I a bad person?

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Feb 17 2014

On your doorstep – is too damned close!

Category: Generalfootlight @ 19:42

An innocent and generous thought. Pop to Sainsbury’s to get some decaffinated Earl Grey for the Hubby. Clean out and short of options for afternooon tea. The shopping trip went like a dream, in spite of the fact that I couldn’t see the product I wanted right under my nose. One assistant and some little embarrassment later and I’m on my way home.

As I drew up outside the house, before turning across the road in order to back on to the paved front, I notice that next door there are three people – two young men and A. N. Other who was hidden behind the others – apparently engaged in conversation. A gap appeared in the traffic and I swung across the road, then backed onto the paved area we use as parking. In the seconds that it took to do this, the ‘conversation’ had turned into what looked like play fighting and, by the time I had put the handbrake on, it was clear that there was no playing involved. One of the young lads had a knife. Without turning off the engine, I had already decided that I would stay put, lock the doors and call the police from the safety of my vehicle. This was not necessary, as it turned out. The victim had wrestled the knife from his assailant, who ran off immediately. I felt able to get out of the car and ask if my neighbour was OK. He asked me to call an ambulance.

As it turned out, someone in the house had already called the police and the ambulance but I waited around to see if I could be of further help. I gave a brief statement but expect to be seeing a policeman sometime later on as well.

At this point – an hour and a half later – their house is still taped off as a crime scene and the SOCO van is parked outside.

It was strange. The first thing Hubby asked was whether I was alright. I replied that I was fine and unhurt. He hadn’t meant that. He had meant was I ‘alright’. It was, after all, quite a horrible experience, to have witnessed a knife attack. But it was next door. These things don’t happen next door.

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Feb 01 2014

The Conversation

Category: CreativeRosa @ 21:05

The Twisted TunnelThis is a short piece of dialogue which I wrote many years ago when I was about 17 or 18. It’s always made me smile over the years whenever I come across it and re-read, so I thought I’d share. There’s no context, so make of it what you will.

 

Would you like some china eggs?

No.

Some china petals?

No.

A lot of money?

Yes.

How much?

Enough to hire someone to shoot you.

I’m expensive.

I can cope.

Very well. I’ll give you 150.000 credits. That should be enough to have me shot and live comfortably on the interest of what is left.

Thank you. I’ll never forget you.

Yes you will.

Oh alright, I will. But not in a hurry.

No, not in a hurry. Will you remember me just before you die?

Yes, with satisfaction. What do you think it will be like for you when you are dead?

Oh, nothing much. Just emptiness. Peace. Freedom from you. Freedom from myself. Music.

Music?

Yes. Music of Paradise.

Is Paradise just emptiness, then?

My ideal would be.

How would you know about it? If you can’t think?

Who said I can’t think?

Can you think in emptiness?

I don’t know. I’ve never been there.

Maybe you just have futile conversations.

Yes. Maybe.

Will we meet up again? Will we be going to the same place?

I don’t know. Maybe.

Not much point in getting you shot then, if I’m not going to be free of you.

It’s a respite.

I don’t want to talk to you.

Why not?

You’re always right.

Not always.

When will you get me the money?

Soon.

Make it sooner.

Alright.

Can I go now?

If you want.

Do you suppose we’re already dead?

We could be. No-one told me.

Oh well. I’ll see you tomorrow then. I’ve got your coffin. It’s Jade.

Oh. Nice colour.

No, I mean Jade. Real Jade.

Ah, my Crystal Castle.

Goodbye.

Au revoir.

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