Who would have thought that a tin of mints could be so useful? Certainly not me. They’re a sovereign remedy for travel sickness; stopping squabbling in the back of the car so long as strict turn taking is observed on the opening and offering of the mints; for taking your mind off bumps and bruises; for thinking; for distraction and for extreme hunger pangs. Personally I’m never without my tin of mints and who knows what other magical things they might achieve in moments of desperation.
All I can say is thank you to the ladies who saw the tin and thought of me – you’ve saved my bacon several times today!
And what a day – we got stuck behind a tractor early in our journey. The Right Little Madam explained very knowledgeably that “the farmer was going to spread his poo in the field.” Whilst the tractor was indeed set up for muck spreading I did feel that grammatically there might be some need for revision in the aforementioned statement. The Right Little Madam, most outraged announced, “That’s what I said.” Then we got stuck behind another tractor sporting a baler. By the time we actually arrived at our destination I felt that I had seen virtually every bit of farm machinery known to man; had given myself a nasty scare when I checked the directions and discovered that the National Trust website declared that the place we were visiting was closed on a Tuesday (it wasn’t dear reader it’s now open every day); dealt with a wasp; a pale and sickly child and a husband made cross by B roads.
By the time we arrived at the entrance I was not necessarily feeling warm and friendly. It was at this point that we produced our National Trust cards and the personage at the desk asked, “What about the children?”
“Don’t they get in on our ticket?” I returned, “With English Heritage you can bring three children. I thought it was the same for these ones.” We hadn’t had separate cards for the Pottermeister and the Number One Son when they were younger. Turns out that times have changed.
“There’s an extra fee. It’s only small.”
Perhaps HWIOO could tell by the way I folded my arms that the conversation wasn’t going well or perhaps he simply didn’t want to face the B roads, tractors and children quietly whimpering so soon, “They are members.” He too folded his arms – and let me assure you, that’s not a good sign at all.
“They should have their cards.”
“Their parents have those cards. These two are on holiday with us – their grandparents.”
“Yes but they might be taking other children to properties whilst you bring these ones here.”
“Eh?” Fortunately I had finished my mint by that point or I might have choked just prior to asking whether the Trust was plagued by parents taking children who weren’t theirs , pied piper like, into Trust properties. Come to think of it, is there some sort of clandestine entry system in operation where non Trust parents foist their off spring on Trust parents spotted gambolling through the car park without their progeny in tow. (Those will be the ones with small hand bags and hands free of ruck sacks, coats, cameras, bird feathers etc.
The personage blithely quoted the price of a child or the ‘small additional fee’ that would ensure that we could bring the Little Madams without ‘extra charge’ on our tickets- I don’t think she spotted the oxymoron.
She did actually let us in without payment, “just this once” but in all honesty I’m not impressed by the policy as I know that we aren’t the only grandparents shepherding small persons during the holiday season. And its not as though the National Trust doesn’t do quite nicely out of the deal given the potential for cake, ice cream and assorted gift shop purchases.
After that little rant I feel the need for a nice calming mint….or possibly a gin…