An A-Z Guide to Unhelpful Social Media Posts

We are all on social media a LOT at the moment. It’s our primary form of social contact but it is, as ever, a double-edged sword. What used to be a means of distraction has become an amplifier for the current crisis…our news feeds fail to take our minds off things like they used to because every other post seems to be Covid-19 related. Now, I’m not one to dictate what anyone else posts on social media but it’s worth remembering that we are all suffering some level of anxiety at the moment and we’re all processing this anxiety in different ways. So your manic homeschooling timetables might be triggering someone else’s non-schooling guilt. The rules are straightforward enough – consider who might see your post and whether they’ve requested to hidden from anything C19-related. Custom Privacy is your friend right now. A little bit of research among my imaginary friends has suggested that certain types of posts do tend to be more triggering than others and so I’ve put together An A-Z Guide to Unhelpful Social Media Posts. But just so you don’t think I’m all about the negativity, I’ll shortly also be posting An A-Z Guide to Helpful Social Media Posts. Ready? Let’s start at the very beginning….

 

A Apocalyptic Posts

Yes, this feels like the End of Days but it’s not necessarily helpful to keep reminding people of it, unless you have some kind of get out clause. Is there a Vogon construction fleet passing ahead? Do you have the intergalactic equivalent of a raised thumb? Well good for you. Don’t forget your towel.

B Bad Science

We all want to understand this virus better but that doesn’t mean sharing anything which has even the vaguest of scientific credibility. Fact check, look at the background of whoever’s written it and don’t believe them just because they’re wearing a white coat.

 

C Conspiracy theories
Similar to the above, we all want to know more. But blaming the virus on 5G, the KGB, the FBI or anyone else isn’t necessarily helpful.  If Big Pharma really invented the virus to sell more medication, wouldn’t they have…yknow….come up with a cure by now?

 

D Daily Death Toll
No one is scrolling through their Facebook feed waiting for you to publish the latest death stats. If they want the information, they will go looking for it. We all know that lots of people are dying but we don’t all need it all over our newsfeeds because that is hugely triggering.
Think before you post.

 

E EU Baiting

Is now the time? Really? Do you think this would have gone better if we’d have left the EU two years ago? Really?

 

F Fake News
Obviously everyone loves a bit of spoof news and I’ve been known to dabble in the writing of the same myself…but I’m talking about news which is close enough to real to fool people with dangerous misinformation, especially when it comes to relaxing the lockdown restrictions. April Fool’s has been and gone…trust me, I know because the stuck-at-home kids had a lot of time to plan pranks this year.

 

G Guilt inducing memes
“This is what happens to your child’s brain when they spend 90% of their day watching Netflix/using laptops/massacring people on Fortnite”. Yeah, it is probably is. Pity I don’t have many other options for keeping them quiet while Mummy takes her 50th conference call of the day.

 

H Hearsay
This can be as dangerous as fake news. Just cause someone heard that something was happening doesn’t mean it’s true.

 

I Irrational Advice
“Just carry on life as normal. It’ll be fine” It probably won’t. Please think it through before posting.

 

J Judgy posts
Especially on local groups. So you saw two people from the same household shopping together? Well maybe ask someone to make you a purse with “Observation Award Winner” written on it. The majority of people are trying their best to follow the rules as best as they understand them and you don’t know everyone’s circumstances. Try not to judge.

 

K Kid Shaming
Our kids are doing incredibly well in the face of very tough circumstances. Go easy on the kid-shaming memes.

 

L Links to phishing sites
This should be self-explanatory but you’d be amazed. Check where a link goes to before sharing a post, especially if it’s promising incredible riches.

 

M Misreporting
As ever, the media tell you what they want to tell you. A particularly virulent story recently managed to change a budgetary adjustment for MPs’ staff equipment into some kind of NHS-dissing MP payrise. The result pitted hardworking nurses against hardworking constituency caseworkers. Think about the implications before you share.

 

N Nostalgia
“In my day, we never died of viruses”. No, YOU didn’t because you’re here, posting on Facebook. Others did. Move on

 

O Out of Date Advice
Guidelines change quickly these days….always best to make sure it’s the most recent version before sharing.

 

P Parent Shaming
Like their kids, parents are doing their best in difficult times. Now isn’t the time to tut about our shortcomings.

 

Q Queen is Dead
OK, so maybe I was struggling with a Q. But there are always rumours about Her Maj during a pandemic. Of course, feel free to listen to the classic Smiths albums if that’s your lockdown jam of choice.

 

R Rumours
Other, non Queen related rumours are also unhelpful…celebrities that you think might have the virus, celebrities you think might have died…speculation isn’t particularly useful at this time. Similar to the above though, if you want to listen to some classic Fleetwood Mac, go for it.

 

S Supermarket shortages
It was interesting for the first week, seeing our local stores stripped of food. But now it’s just kinda depressing. Let’s move on.

 

T Threats of revenge
Yeah, some people think they can beat sense into this virus. Don’t be one of those people.

 

U Unverified Updates
Like rumours, check sources of any updates before sharing

 

V Violence
Lots of us have a low emotional capacity right now. So sharing violent content can affect people more than usual. I’ve tried explaining this to the tween child but, as mentioned above, he’s too busy killing all the dudes on Fortnite.

 

W World War II comparisons
WWII was a national crisis. This is a national crisis. Why do we need to weigh one against the other? They’re both bad, OK?

 

X Xenophobia
Anti-Chinese feeling has shot up since the start of this crisis. Make sure you report it to Facebook as hate speech if you come across it.

 

Y Youth Shaming
Our teenagers are having a tough time too, with their uni applications thrown into uncertainty and not being able to see friends. Try not to add to that pressure by attacking them on social media.

 

Z Zoom Derision
Yes, I know it has security flaws (though the irony of posting this on Facebook…) but a lot of us are pretty reliant on it right now, so unless it’s really, really important to say, consider not saying it.
So, bottom line is….post whatever you want to post but if you want to emerge from this with the same number of Facebook friends as you went in, it might just be worth skipping out a few of my list. And don’t forget the A-Z Guide to Helpful Social Media Posts if you want what my niece would call “inspo”…
Posted in Rants | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Some News From Our Friends

It seems crazy that, less than a year ago, Eva and I were sitting in the sunny back garden at Chickenshed in the interval of “Mr Stink“. And just a couple of months ago we were at Little Angel for “The Paper Dolls“. It’s scary times for our favourite theatres – the arts are always getting by on just enough and there’s no end in sight to the lockdown. Luckily, the creative types have got creative and gone online to keep sharing their magic with kids who desperately need a distraction right now.

Chickenshed has launched “Virtual Chickenshed” – there’s a bit more explanation in this video but it looks like there will be specially made YouTube episodes from the “Tales from the Shed” guys and a screening of their most recent show, which I was hoping to get to see in March…but March went a bit awry, didn’t it? It’s called “Waiting for the Ship to Sail” and it’s a show for older kids and teens. Go to www.chickenshed.org.uk for more information.

 

Meanwhile, Little Angel Theatre has created video stories and online stay-at-home activity guides on their website with craft ideas as well. Have a look at www.littleangeltheatre.com for stories like “Jack and the Beanstalk” and tutorials on how to make a troll puppet.

One day soon, hopefully, we’ll be back at these places in real life but till then…enjoy the virtual versions!

Posted in Facts! And facts are important! | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom…You’re Going Nowhere Soon

I’ve just finished reading “After the Party” by Lisa Jewell. It’s a sequel to “Ralph’s Party” and is based in Herne Hill, an area I lived in for a few months back in 2002 when I first moved up to London and visited often in the later years of living in Camberwell and Kennington. Reading her descriptions of Brockwell Lido filled me with nostalgia for carefree summer days spent there before children – a stark contrast to the days this weekend which are the opposite of childfree and carefree. I loved Brockwell Park – even though there was that time when the water play was switched off and I got some extreme pregnant rage…and then there was another time when a 3-year-old Reuben started scooting down the hill and I couldn’t keep up with him because I had a tiny Eva in a sling. There were bad times in that park but good times too. So I was happy to revisit it in my imagination while I was reading.

I wasn’t quite so happy to read about all the people who were visiting it IRL this weekend. I know it’s been sunny but we really need to start taking this whole virus thing seriously. It defeats the object of all of us who have been sticking to the rules – 2m distance, once a day for exercise – when 3,000 people don’t. It would test my patience more than a little if these 17 (?) days of extreme isolation had been for nothing. I know I speak from a privileged position – we’re very lucky to have a garden and would never want to deprive anyone else of a bit of greenery but we have to share nicely and we have to be sensible. Large groups of people spending all day in the park are not going to see off a killer virus any time soon.

So, what’s the alternative? Well, we’ve found ways round things. Lots of zooming. Zoom housegroup, zoom playdates, zoom work socials, zoom choir socials…I have a corner of the sofa that’s kept almost entirely free of clutter so that I can record worship songs for church there and host Facebook live singalongs at the weekend. During the week, that same corner is my office space. It’s separate to my relaxing space on the other sofa or Nathan’s office space on the dining room table. I take most conference calls in Eva’s room because our room at the top of the house is too far to walk every time – I save that for one special conference call a week, and make sure I pull the blinds up to see across the horizon to the Promised Land of Enfield. I took one call in Reuben’s room – the height of luxury as it has an actual desk in it – but he made it clear that he needs his desk for himself so that’s not viable most of the time. I do online SwingTrain in the kitchen and if I’ve just cooked the kids’ dinner it feels like doing Hot Yoga. Basically, we have moved out entire four lives’ worth of activities into one smallish house.

But it’s what we have to do. And if you live in London, it’s what you have to do to. Today, Nathan and I travelled the length and breadth of London – from Upminster in the East to Uxbridge in the West, from High Barnet to the fiery pits of Morden. But only in jigsaw format:

And that’s our lives for the foreseeable. Let’s carry on going out for food shopping or exercise within the rules but let’s all buckle in for now…it’s gonna be a long ride.

Posted in Rants | Tagged | Leave a comment

Raging, Coping and No-Schooling

 

I promised you more positivity after a very gloomy last post…so here it is. A week on and we’re mainly through the raging stage, into the coping with our new normality stage. It’s still hard work but we’re finding ways to keep connected online and there has been a lot of public ukulele practice to fill that need for a creative output. Still, one thing we’re not really doing is homeschooling – Reuben is diligently working every morning but Eva is mainly filling her time with art and computing, neither of which are key components of the Year 3 curriculum. But I’m at peace with that. I posted something on Facebook this morning, which I’m just going to copy and paste here because apparently it chimed with a lot of people:

“Fellow Parents – as you’re staring down another week of kids-at-home, let’s remind ourselves why this is *not* homeschooling. So, reason #53000 – this is a trajectory that no sane homeschool parent would take. From full time school to complete social isolation in a day? It’s the kind of abrupt change that would normally warrant a call to social services or maybe the police…”So the LWAT children have been pulled out of school, stopped attending church, quit their drama and swimming lessons and now the parents won’t let anyone into the house and the children can only communicate via video link”? Honestly, it sounds like something out of the Virgin Suicides or that Lisa Jewell novel about a cult that I just read. Point is, these are extraordinary times and we are all suffering a bit of culture shock. You shouldn’t have to suddenly become a full time teacher, especially not if you’re also a full-time or even part-time somethingelser. Survival mode is fine and for a lot of us, it’s our only option. If the kids read a book, bonus! If they spend all their time doing “computing”, well they’re learning some kind of skill there, right? Enjoy your restful Sunday guys!!”

 

So, if you’ve been giving yourself a hard time for not filling all the gaps that have been left by the school closures, please so give yourself a break. We are in crisis management mode here. Some people cope with that crisis by pouring all their energy into timetables and useful links and online PE but everyone else copes in their own way. I’m coping by giving the kids as little direction as possible – their timetables are made by themselves and whether they stick to them is their own business. As long as I get four or five hours every weekday where I have something of a chance of working, then we’re all happy. That itself might seem like an impossible dream to parents who have preschoolers or even small schoolers so please forgive my older-kid smugness. I’ve been where you are now, admittedly not in these circumstances, but I feel your pain. You are doing an amazing job. And one day, even this will pass…it just might not feel like it right now.

Posted in Rants | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Few Words from Inside

 

Last week, I was watching Roo play Fortnite and he was standing under a wooden platform, using a chainsaw to cut through each of the pillars that were holding it up. I thought it was a daft thing to do because there’s only one way that was going to end but what I didn’t realise is that a week later, all my pillars would be sawn through just as brutally and the fallout would be just as messy. We all have our support systems that maintain our sanity, whether that be routine, freedom, fresh air, socialising or any of the other things that are no longer readily available. To lose them all at once is challenging.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why this needs to happen. We are doing what needs to be done. But that doesn’t make it less painful. Birth is a necessary process to get a baby out of a woman but no-one can deny that it’s a painful process and has weeks of pain afterwards, whichever way it happens. As a country, we are in that painful labour right now and there’s no epidural and no anaesthetic available. Oh, and no foreseeable end.

When I started this blog, it was to reassure myself and other new mothers that our lives weren’t over. That we had the freedom of the city and that having a baby wasn’t a kind of prison sentence that restricted us to within our own four walls. I encouraged us all to get outside and see things and be part of society. That’s not going to be possible for a while and society when we do join together again is going to look different. We’re going to have to re-learn how to interact with each other.

I had a different kind of post in mind, one that would cheer everyone up and inspire you with fun things to do at home. That might follow. But for now, I don’t have any words of inspiration because I’m struggling to find my own sense of self in all this. The things that define me – my job, my choir, my church activities – are all only just within my grasp and the role that I’m perhaps least-suited to – parenting – is now my full-time and relentless responsibility. Every family finds their own way to co-exist and ours has always involved a lot of being out in the world and mixing with other people. Maybe these next few months will show us what we’re really made of but we have to be prepared for that to be an uncomfortable process.

Stay safe folks, stay in touch. I promise some positivity soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Best Most Awful Job

This probably isn’t the week to be reading about motherhood. The secondary school offers came out and, inexplicably, one of them had Pippin’s name on it. The toddler is toddling off to big school. So it’s no surprise that this collection of essays about motherhood left me feeling a bit tearful about the inevitable passage of time. That’s not to say I’m planning on following in Jodi Bartle’s footsteps and having a brood of six (why would you stop one short of a full Von Trapp?). But the stories about birth and the early days made me more than a little sentimental.

There’s a lot of variety in here, with women writing on all aspects of motherhood including veering towards the less discussed motherhood roles – the adoptive mother, the stepmother and the tragedy of a mother who never carried a baby to term, to borrow editor Katherine May’s words. There were some I connected with on a personal level – especially Saima Mir’s “Maternal Rage” – whereas others were interesting because they were so different to my own experience. There were essays about cross-cultural families and a mother dealing with her own autism, which I found fascinating.  One essay on gender by Michelle Tea threatened to raise my eyebrows so far that they zipped off the top of my head but I ended up nodding along. I too reject the oppression that gender roles impose on children, or I would do if my children weren’t so goshdarn gender stereotyped. So I was relieved that even the most militant rejecter of gender roles has found herself in a similar predicament and has taken a similar journey to be at peace with that. I thought I was going to be lectured on how I shouldn’t let my girl wear tutus but it turned out to be one of the essays I had most empathy with. As Michelle Tea says “Acting as though the dismantling or upholding of the patriarchy rests on the shoulders of my two-year-old is madness”

What I liked most is how open and honest the writers are. Every one of the darkest moments of motherhood appears here – cracked nipples, birth injuries, postnatal depression. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for someone who is tentatively considering trying for their first child….it might make them run a mile. But for the battle-scarred among us who recognise all of this with a wry smile, it’s a good read. You might not agree with every opinion in every essay but whatever form your motherhood takes – conventional, adoptive, step – there will be something for you in here. Enjoy it.

“The Best Most Awful Job” is released on 19th March and available for pre-order now.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for a review. All opinions remain honest and my own.

 

Posted in Reviewing the Situation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Lager, Lager, Lager, Shouting – Midlife Raving

I might have turned 39 last week. It’s OK, I’m fine about it…I handled it in the most mature way possible, by dancing till 1am to songs from my teens. Sorted.

I know I ought to feel a  bit shamed by this kind of thing, loading up on glitter and sweeties in order to pogo like a mad thing to Supergrass. I know I’m probably too old to be doing any kind of pogoing but I look around at these 90s nights and everyone else is old too. There are bald patches and grey hairs everywhere. And while that sounds like the saddest thing ever, it’s exactly the opposite. The rare occasions that I’ve been out in young people’s places is when I’ve felt like a sad old thing. It’s only ever the odd work do, a karaoke night out or one extremely epic trip from Winchester to Camden and back in the middle of the night… but if I’m in a young people’s venue I feel older than ever. I imagine everyone can hear my joints creaking.

Nathan and I had a very rare night out together last week with no kids or work the next day and it took me ages to find something that wouldn’t make us feel like we’re 100 years old. In the end, we went to a Quentin Tarantino night at the Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. Because it was Shoreditch, there were hipsters everywhere but because it was 90s themed it felt like we were OK to be relics from that era. It helped that Nathan made a very convincing Vince Vega:

But the best nights are the ones like Disco 2000 – surrounded by our own people, celebrating the music we love. Last Friday’s rave was at Winchester Guildhall, scene of both our wedding reception and our college balls, and the headline DJ was Jo Whiley. Everything about it was on theme. People flung their hands in the air to Ocean Colour Scene. When the lights came up, there were Hooch bottles everywhere. Not that we were drinking when there was serious dancing to be done. Who has time to queue up at the bar when every tune is a banger?

And there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re following in the footsteps of generations before us, who went to tea dances because it’s what they did as teens. We went to raves and indie discos as teens so why shouldn’t we do that now when we want to let our thinning hair down? Amusingly, you can still pick out the various tribes at 90s nights – the danceheads, the britpoppers, the pop pickers – although trying to put blur fans versus oasis fans is a bit clichéd. We all liked both bands to some extent. Who would not dance to “Girls and Boys” or sing along to “Don’t Look Back in Anger” given the chance?

Of course, we’re not actual teenagers. I ached for days after that night. As 30- and 40-somethings with kids and mortgages, the raving is naturally on a smaller and sparser scale than it used to be. But that’s what makes it more special….when we went clubbing three times a week, we got blasé and a bit jaded. Now, we’ve paid for babysitters and bothered to paint our nails and we’re gosh darn gonna have a good time. What’s sad about that?

Posted in Just wandering.... | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Being Kind Beyond the Meme

 

These last couple of weeks, we’ve all been told to #be much #kinder. I won’t go into why this is trending because we all know that already but on the surface, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all. What’s wrong with #bekind?

Well, the problem is- it’s just surface. #Bekind is about posting memes and reprimanding people on social media when you don’t think they’re being #kind enough. I’ve already seen it used to shut down arguments and, in a bizarre twist, promote Slimming World magazines. Be what does any of it mean? “Kind” is such a bland word and the more it’s parroted around social media, the less it means.

It’s the same problem with every other well-meaning meme. “Repost in honour of someone who fought cancer”. Why? Cancer doesn’t really have a view on what you post on social media and it’s certainly not going to change its plans for domination based on likes and shares. Not only are these kind of memes pointless, they’re also potentially like-farmers. But you must share to show you care.

I don’t really buy into that. I’ve never personally had cancer but it’s brushed close enough to us through our friends and family that anyone who knows me should assume I’m not in favour of it. What I’d like to see if more memes telling the world at general what they should do to actually support people who have cancer, whether that’s sending packages of gingerbread men or writing the darkest of sitcom episodes to entertain them during those long post-operative weeks. What we need is not more kind thoughts, it’s more actions and understanding.

Sometimes that understanding takes the form of staying away  – when someone is in crisis and you aren’t close to them, they might not want to answer your questions about their situation. Sometimes it’s about sticking close and giving specific offers of help – days you can be there to help them, school pick ups you can cover. Sometimes it’s about empathy and sharing your own experience to help others through tough times and other times it’s just about listening. When a friend lost her father-in-law last year, I gave her the only advice I ever give during bereavement, which is to expect your mood to be a bit “off” for weeks and months following the death. When we went through it a few years ago, no one warned me that grief would lose you friends but it sure did. My snappiness of mood and low emotional energy saw off more than one person who chose to take offence instead of thinking about *why* I might be snappy. Another top tip – try not to lose a close relative when you have a 2yo, a 5yo and a recent house move to deal with. None of those things help.

So I suppose the point I’m coming round to is that there’s no point being kind without trying to be understanding as well. Random acts of kindness are great but they are just that – random. Flung out there into the universe with no real judgement as to whether they will actually help anyone. Whereas extending a bit of understanding towards someone – whether they’re #beingkind or not – is the kindest thing you can do. Don’t use #bekind as a stick to beat others with and instead practise kindness by choosing not to take offence.  Can we do that?

Posted in Rants | Tagged | Leave a comment

“The Paper Dolls” at Little Angel Theatre – 08/02/20

It’s been a good day. The kind of day where, if you only saw the pictures you’d think it was #perfectparenthood. But of course it wasn’t – there were brand-new coats grubbied, strops thrown and whinges whinged. Still, a combination of dog walking, lunch with friends and theatre can’t get you far wrong.

The dog isn’t ours sadly. Or even Bob’s..but Bob is dogsitting it for a week so we all got a massive playdate at Hackney Downs this morning. Needless to say, the kids were thrilled:

Eva and I couldn’t hang around with Bob and the dog all day though…we had places to be. Eva was whiney-tired by the time we got to Little Angel and in a contrary mood but she perked up when she saw posters for the upcoming production “Wolves in the Walls“. It’s exactly the kind of story that I’d imagine would freak her right out but no, she read it in class and thinks she’s exactly the kind of “brave 7-year-old” that should go and see it. We’ll see how she handles it if we do decide to go…

So onto “The Paper Dolls”. It’s a show for 3-8-year-olds and based on a story by Julia Donaldson so it’s fairly light on the peril which is good for Eva, whatever claims she might make about her bravery. The story revolves around Rosie, a small girl who cuts out a strong of paper dolls, names them and then makes up stories about their adventures. Rosie is played by a puppet but her mother is played by one of the puppeteers, which gives an interesting human-puppet dynamic. There are a few, 4th wall-breaking moments as the two performers (Jane Crawshaw and Andrea Sadler) whisper asides to each other but it didn’t mess with the story at all. At one point, they both come out into the audience, with a pig in pursuit of a small boy, which Eva found hilarious, and there’s a bit of audience participation when Rosie is playing a little bedtime alphabet game. It’s more interactive than other shows we’ve seen at Little Angel and worked really well for the younger audience.

The story is fairly simple but lends itself well to fantasy sequences involving tigers, crocodiles and dinosaurs. There’s a lovely moment where the front of the stage is transformed into an ocean, with fish bobbing up and down before being snapped by the crocodile. The paper dolls are in a bit of peril at this point, escaping the crocodile in their pea-green boat (not sure if that was a deliberate Owl and Pussycat reference but I liked it)…but there is never anything too scary. Which is why the ending is a bit shocking, with Rosie’s older brother doing what older brothers are wont to do and wrecking her game. Eva looked a bit distressed at this and sobbed a little as Rosie sat on a swing, remembering all the adventures the dolls had been on.

There is a melancholic feel to the end that probably doesn’t affect the youngest kids but does hit home with the adults and the very sensitive ones (yes, still talking about Eva). There are themes of loss and transience but also a nice inter-generational moment as Rosie grows up and makes paper dolls with her own daughter. The music and lighting as Rosie is swinging are so poignant that it might well bring a tear to your eye but in a good way.

Mostly though, this is a light and enjoyable show, charmingly told and pacey. The quirks of the dolls – the one with the two noses especially – still had Eva giggling at bedtime and the names of the dolls are pleasingly rhythmical, as you’d expect from such a master storyteller. “Ticky, Tacky, Jackie The Backie, Jim With Two Noses and Jo With The Bow”.

So, another lovely production from Little Angel. I’d be curious to see the wolves though I’m sure Eva is not nearly as brave as she says, if the fate of the paper dolls reduces her to tears.  I bought her the book though and she seems to really like it. She’s a contrary one.

“The Paper Dolls” is on now at Little Angel until 18th April. For tickets and more info, click here.

Disclaimer: I received free tickets in return for a review but all opinions remain honest and my own. 

Posted in Reviewing the Situation | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The British Museum – 11/01/20

It’s hard to make this month pass, isn’t it? The kids have only been back at school for three days and it’s the weekend already again. So any glimmer of entertainment hope is welcome and Eva’s new obsession with the Egyptians was one such glimmer of hope. We could fritter away a grey afternoon in the British Museum for not much money and not much effort. Hooray!

And Eva was suitably dressed in her version of a Pharaoh costume. I’d like to point out that this happened while Roo and I were out at the sorting office this morning. In other words, it’s clearly Nathan’s fault that our daughter was leaving the house in January in flipflops.

I’d thought Central London would be packed out on a Saturday afternoon but Russell Square tube was actually spookily quiet. We had the lift entirely to ourselves:

On the way to the museum, we spotted this blue plaque for Emmeline Pankhurst:

Eva knew she was something to do with votes for women but pronounced “suffragette” with a hard g. Adorable. We wandered across Russell Square, stopping to look at the two Bug Hotels and some good dogs. There was a cafe in the middle that was established in the same year as I was but we weren’t going to stop for coffee just yet.

Last time we visited, I remember having to go in through the back of the museum. I had no idea if we still had to do that but it was the closest entrance and there wasn’t a massive queue so we decided to go that way. It’s not as grand as the front entrance but Eva said it had “Roman-Greek pillars” because apparently the Romans stole the idea from the Greeks. She’s full of these little tidbits.

And also, she did not appreciate it when I pointed out some new “Roman-Greek pillars” that were ready to be added. I think she rolled her eyes at me:

The queue and bag check were pretty swift and once we’d got inside, it was then time to stop for coffee. It was Eva’s idea but I wasn’t going to say no. We had a latte and a millionaire’s shortcake under the “criss-cross ceiling” as Eva called it:

By 3ish, we probably needed to start our day out so we headed to Room 4 – Egyptian sculpture. It was a good call because Eva thought everything was “amazing” and couldn’t believe how many Egyptian things could be in one room. She spent lots of time looking at the hieroglyphics and educating me about the Rosetta Stone. She’s learnt a lot in the last three days at school

I mean, just look how excited she was:

She was even more excited to learn that there were another four rooms of Egyptian stuff upstairs so we found the back stairs which led to the Mummies section. Eva had seen a picture of a mummified head in her library book about Egypt and it freaked her out so she asked not to go to any of the Egyptian death rooms. Which was tricky cause basically all the upstairs rooms were death-themed and contained lots of mummified things. But some discreet steering of her meant we avoided the corpses and only looked at the pretty, gold coated sarcophaguses (Eva’s term – should it be sarcophagi?) although she caught a glimpse of a skeleton that she didn’t yike. At least she didn’t walk straight through with her eyes shut like she did at the Museum of London.

We also spotted something else she’d seen in her book – an ancient Egyptian game called “Snake”. Presumably to be played on ancient Egyptian Nokia 3210s:

After that, we made our way through the Greek and Roman rooms, finding things that Eva yiked along the way, like some models of clay dogs:

And something that looked like the bust of Rowena Ravenclaw wearing her diadem:

I was kinda keen to head home after we’d done all the Egyptian rooms but Eva wanted to see everything the museum had to offer. I thought she’d change her mind if we were sitting right by the front doors but no, we sat by the front doors to have a snack and then she made me climb all the way back up to the third floor to go to the Medieval European rooms.

It’s unlike Eva to be keen on stair-climbing but she said she yuved the staircases because they made her feel like she was really going back in time “into a Roman house or an Egyptian temple”. That made me slightly reluctant to go to the Medieval bit in case we actually had gone back in time and we got Black Death or something. No fear – Eva had a solution and handed me an imaginary “anti-plague tablet” to swallow as we stepped into the gallery. That girl has an answer for everything but at least I convinced her to take the flip-flops off and put some shoes on because we weren’t in the “sandal era” anymore.

By this point, we were whipping through the galleries at top speed – Medieval Europe was followed by the Asia galleries (with a quick loo break next to Japan) and again, just as I thought we were going to head home, she told me we had more to see – she had seen a sign to the Africa gallery on the way in and we hadn’t been there yet. Problem was, we needed to be at the bottom of this hole:

Tempting as it was to just take the plunge, we took another way round and found the Africa galleries on level -1.

 

There were some giant masquerade puppets which Eva claimed to be allergic to because she sneezed as she walked past them and a wall of hats which she said were “all the hats in Africa”. It inspired her to sing a little song that sounded like a poor man’s Band Aid. It went something like this: “There are no more hats in Africa because they all are heeerrrreee”. Please donate generously.

We now only had two more stops on the itinerary – the classic end-of-visit combo of gift shop and toilets. Eva wanted a book about Egypt to call her own once she’d taken the other book back to the library. And I was happy about that because it’d keep her quiet on the tube but it turned out that she feel in yuv with a Cleopatra rubber duck and rejected every book option in favour of it. Good luck reading this all the way back to Highams Park:

She christened her Cleo-quack-ra and made duck noises all the way back instead. Ah well. At least it was a way of entertaining her all afternoon…

Posted in Token attempts at culture (museums) | Tagged , , | Leave a comment