Family Days Out Are a Big Mistake #6: Collective Accountability

Collective thoughts of the Gluestick family earlier in the week: Oh bugger! We’ve frittered the summer holidays away working/lazing around in pjs all day waiting for some sun. Better squeeze some fun in now!

Which is how come yesterday we came to do BOTH the model village at Beaconsfield AND the Roald Dahl museum at Great Missenden. Both great family attractions and the museum would get us brownie points for being parents who go the extra mile Boo some brownie points at school for being the kid whose read ahead. BUT both in the same day? Was that wise? Not so, really.

But we were ALL to blame for the minor disasters of the day. (Still, at least at any family attraction you get to eavesdrop on the complaints and whinges, scoldings and under-the-breath-mutterings of other families, which is always a reassurance.)


Whilst driving it’s possibly not the best idea to put the deaf member of the family in the back of the car thus defaulting childcare responsibilities to them.

Noodles: Juice. Juice.


Noodles: Juice! JUICE!

Grandy: Kindle?

Noddles: *Howl!!!*



Noodles has at last realised that ice cream should be eaten, not just carried like some melting trophy. (Or dropped in deer poo.) But he also hasn’t quite figured out that just shoving your face in it whilst it melts isn’t the best idea. Cue ice-cream covered wailing when we try to sort him out and a t-shirt that later didn’t really fit in with the Great Missenden sartorial ethic. (To be honest, he looked like he’d had some misadventures in Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory to such an extent other visitors were probably wondering where they’d hidden the exhibit!)

Baby wipes, however: Best. Invention. EVER.

Still, it could have been worse. I feared he’d not realise the importance of railings and would ransack through the tiny houses of the model village. Thankfully instead he chose to weld himself to one particular spot to watch the model railway trains.


Apologies though to the little girl whom he had a bit of a scrap with when she wanted a look too. And to the family who got a shot of full-blast wailing when their son stood in Noodles’ spot.


When trying to squeeze two attractions into one day it’s always best to minimise travelling time. So why Husband preferred to guide us round the back roads of Buckinghamshire when he didn’t know where to go rather than let me use the sat-nav is beyond me.

Sweet moment of the day: him admitting defeat and me getting to turn the TomTom on. Guess who got us there better?

• ME

The model village had been on our summer holidays to do list from the beginning. The museum was a new addition to the list after Boo enjoyed a performance by them at the Lollibop festival. 2 for 1 tickets bolstered that incentive.

So, it wasn’t a great moment, at the admissions desk, to realise that although I’d definitely packed the discount voucher, I’d also unpacked it by taking my diary out of my bag (because I wouldn’t need it, so why carry it around all day?) with the slip inside of it. A loss of two admission fees and 10% off in the gift shop. Sorry, Husband.


Ok, it had been a long day, but if you’re sat in an intimate food-themed poetry workshop presented by published kids’ author and all-round really nice chap, James Carter, it’s best not to sit there with a face that says ‘I want to go home.’ Even more so, best not to say ‘But Mummy, I want to go home,’ out loud!

That said, James won her over and she eagerly read out her poem and five-word story to the assembled collective at the end.


Her food-based poetry:

I have a friend
Her name is Hollie.
Her favourite pud
Is rainbow lollies.


The elephant’s stew was scrummy.

And my effort (based on the fact that James kept showing guinea pig photos whilst the poor boy from the museum was trying to do the ‘in event of a fire’ talk):


Don’t put your guinea in a sandwich
As the Peruvians like to do.
They’re far too hairy
The claws are just scary
And there’s far too much to chew.

To be honest, both attractions were brilliant. But too much for one day. Next time we’ll be less ambitious, but also hopefully more organised too. Or maybe not. We are the Gluestick family after all. It’s always going to be sticky.