Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Frogs, stuffed birds and a little English Magic

And so off they went, back to school.  I dusted, hoovered, swept and washed.  Cushions were plumped, Lego was corralled and clutter was whisked away.  Library books were returned, the fridge was restocked and a calm order descended.  It was blissful.

Then they came home again.  By 4 o'clock there were rucksacks and lunchboxes strewn about the place, there were about twenty old exercise books needing a place to live and three very small frogs were on the loose in the kitchen.  Oh how I miss them when they're not here.  (Boys not frogs).

I took them to Bristol Museum yesterday.  It seemed like somewhere the biggest boy could manage on his crutches.  The museum is the smaller building on the left.




The rooms are arranged around a big atrium, with mezzanine landings overlooking the central area.  On the first floor is this hoard of coins, found in the little town we live in, just a few years ago.  Someone was digging a fish pond, and found them.  There are 11,460 of them, little silver coins from Roman times, dating from 260 to 348AD.  Makes me wonder what's buried in my garden.


I remember this museum well from when I was little.  Certain things always had to be visited.  The geology section.



I'm particularly fond of Beryl from Brazil.


Along this landing there are lots of pianos.  I loved them when I was little.   Seeing them yesterday suddenly took me right back to being small and wandering around in wonderment.


This has always been my absolute favourite thing.  The gypsy caravan.


I adore the little interior, with a place for everything.  The sleeping quarters are at the back.


Gromit was in residence elsewhere in the museum.  He's from Bristol you know.  We're all very proud of him.  He does seem to be in jail here though.  He's reading Crime and Punishment by Fido Dogstoyevsky.  The boys have been watching all of the Wallace and Gromit films while the biggest boy is out of action.  The details are in a class of their own.  A simple shelf of books, each one a cheese-related pun on a real book.  A big fridge in the kitchen with "Smug" spelt out on the front of it.  It's all beautifully and cleverly thought out.


I persuaded the boys to have a look at the Jeremy Deller exhibition (English Magic) that's in the museum at the moment.  They quite enjoyed some bits of it - the video of birds of prey in flight and Range Rovers being crushed, and the actual crushed Range Rover that you can sit on top of to watch the video.  They made a print of their own each with giant rubber stamps.  And they liked the huge pictures.


This one is William Morris throwing Roman Abramovich's yacht into the lagoon at Venice.  (It was blocking the view apparently, and restricting everyone's use of the promenade).


Some scuffling had broken out by this point, so we shot through the rest of the art gallery at top speed.



This piece of glass caught my eye on the way out.  It's Japanese, contemporary, and made from lots of sheets of glass stuck together.  That was all I got in the thirty seconds I was allowed to look at it.  I'm not convinced boys and museums are a marriage made in heaven, but they did really enjoy looking at the stuffed birds.


Afterwards I took them for pizza.  If I'm honest, it was the only reason some of them agreed to go.  I think I'm hoping that one day they'll take their children there and say, look at this stuffed arctic skua, I used to love looking at this when I was little.

32 comments:

  1. The gypsy caravan is beautiful isn't it! I hope that you enjoy the time at home to yourself and don't get too lonely!! xx

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  2. What a wonderful museum. The geology section is always on my list when I visit a museum too. That, and the wildlife diorama halls, and any kind of costumes or historical/period fashion, if applicable. I hope the boys all had a good day. It sounds like you're keeping busy in their absence. I miss mine too, but I am getting things done and they don't seem to miss me all that much so I guess it's working the way it's supposed to. :)

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  3. What a stunning museum friend! I particularly loved that hall of pianos and that Jeremy Deller exhibit is so very cool! That yacht throwing gave me a chuckle! And I hear you about missing them when they aren't home....having 2 in school now is eye opening to me...wish I could slow time down a bit. Wishing you all good things with the new school year! Nicole xo

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  4. I swooned over the Gipsy Caravan! Oh how I would love one of those! And a big draft horse to pull it. I loved all the fun things in your museum.. and I'm sure the boys will have fond memories.. of the pizza. LOL! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  5. They will take their kids there, and they will say that, and they will also say "you kids settle down, there were three of us when mom used to bring us here and we were perfectly behaved gentlemen!"

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  6. Beautiful museum - I think I've been in it once on a visit to Bristol, but just to have a quick catch up in the cafe with a friend! I must go back and have a proper look around. Love that glass sculpture. x

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  7. It looks a great place to vista. I know what you mean about boys and museums though, but like you I hope he will look back at the visits fondly when he is an adult.
    I love your description of the return to school - so very accurate! :) x

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  8. Gosh... I never even knew it existed and lived in Bristol for a year or so... doh... Mine are not into museums at the moment... maybe the little one, but he just follows the other ones and would never admit it!

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  9. Sounds like a good day even if a scuffle did break out after a while! I love how you tell things so realistically! I haven't been to the Museum in Bristol but shall certainly put it on my list of places to go when we have a day out. I also loved your description of getting the house clean and tidy just in time for it all to be back to how it was - truly our work is never done especially if there are boys living there! Now they are back at school you will be able to spend some quiet time at the allotment too won't you?

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  10. I'm with the boys when it comes to stuffed animals.

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  11. Looks like a great museum, an eclectic collection of wonderful items ;)

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  12. we have a museum we go to a lot in Newcastle, it's referred as the one with the dead things. boys.........
    hope the eldest is managing school on his crutches x

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  13. A most enjoyable, and interesting, post and wonderful pictures.
    I guess that unless there are plenty of interactive exhibits children today tend to get bored just looking. It's certainly somewhere I'm sure I would enjoy. Flighty xx

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  14. That museum looks so cool!!!! Loving the gypsy caravan as well :) Happy you get your blissful day before your hectic evenings!

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  15. Fascinating place - the architecture alone is interesting enough for me. Is it just me or is it true that we just don't build such beautiful buildings anymore? Thanks for sharing this gem
    Caz xx

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  16. Beryl from Brasil. Where the nuts come from. You may never know how much they get from the visit, but a decent museum is worth it's weight in gold.

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  17. BTW, did the frogs come from school, or elsewhere? And what did you do with them?

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  18. Ilove, love, love Bristol Museum. As a child, a teen and a Mum. I too the boys there when we visited my family. We spent the longest time with the stuffed animals and the gypsy caravan. The weren't keen on the Eygpt section- too creepy. I thought it was too dimly lit. I love your photo of the Wills building. I noticed that they were giving guided tours. I'd love a poke about.
    Leanne xx

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  19. This looks like a fab museum. If you ever visit Scotland, you might like the National Museum in Edinburgh, I am a bit reminded of it by your post.. I hated visiting cultural places with my parents, probably because we only started doing so when I was a teenager.... I did love going to the natural history museum with my grandfather when I was much younger. Funny isn't it? Luckily, my own children are quite happy to go wherever I want to go, as long as I promise a sweetie shop stop, or a visit to the joke shop, or something like that. They often like the museum shop best..... Cx

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  20. Reading Christina's comment reminded me of how my son always insisted on taking the bus up to the National Museum each time we visited his grandparents in Edinburgh when he was younger. The Bristol Museum looks like a great collection of interesting objects. Has the coin collection inspired your boys to start digging up the back garden yet?

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  21. Oh, its good for them and even if they seem uninterested, some of it is sinking in. I don't quite get all of the art work on display...large men throwing vehicles? The gypsy caravan is cool - they have a really interesting history.

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  22. I LOVE Wallace & Gromit ------------- I am embarrassed to say how many times I use the phrase "the bounce has gone out of his bungee".

    Your museum looks lovely. I would spend HOURS looking at the minerals and gems. Oh you know me. . . anything that sparkles!!!

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  23. I'm a bit disappointed I didn't find any coins when I dug out our fish pond. Did find some lumps of sandstone but they wouldn't even make it to the geology section.

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  24. That caravan is just beautiful, I'd love to go to the museum just to see that. It's back to school day here today and a 1500 word essay has already come home for homework.

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  25. Oh, all those Pre-Raphaelite paintings... and the gypsy caravan (reminds me of Roald Dahl's 'Danny The Champion of the World')... and the Smug fridge - that made me laugh.
    Sounds like a wonderful place to visit. I love a good museum. Any museum, in fact. Although I draw the line at visiting the Pencil Museum (sorry).
    Sarah x

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  26. It looks like a lovely place to visit.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  27. What a lovely outing, I love the glass, and would love to see Gromit! I love it when they are all gone back to school, after 3 months the last one is finally going back on Monday and I have a list as long as my arm to fill the time until the little one (not so little any more, he'll be 11 on Tues) comes home from school at 2.40... ;-)

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  29. Well it seems that you have managed to achieve a great deal more than me. Honeslty I haven't even cleaned yet, but then I have an injured shoulder and I am using that as an excuse (long may it last!). What a stunning building and it looks like a fabulous museum for an outing, I will bare that in mind if we are ever down that way. xoxo

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  30. I have always wanted to visit this museum. We spent a while in a queue to see Banksy and gave up in the end because it was so long! My great uncle gave some items to the museum , but I expect that they aren't on display anymore! My son and his girlfriend are moving to Bristol next week, in sight of the Museum so hopefully I will be able to visit it. Thank you for the preview! Sarah x

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  31. Because I grew up not so far away from where you are there are quite a few parallels between my past and yours ... Bristol museum is another of them ... I loved that place and I swear the caravan was there when I was a kid too. I enjoyed this blast from the past.

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  32. I love how going back to a place as an adult that you visited as a child instantly takes you back to those feelings of amazement. Wonderment is a word I've had in my head for a while. I love the way it sounds and how it encompasses those feelings of awe and inspiration. Looks like a great time!

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