Rather as I always like the Daily Blog to come over all educational from time to time, so I am partial to introducing an element of learning into various outings. Give me a trail around a park and I will follow it. Show
me a treasure hunt in a museum and I’ll be right there with my virtual deer-stalker on. Take me to an ancient site on a far-distant Greek island and I will come armed and ready with my guide book, ready to point out ruins of historical interest to my
Nearest and Dearest. Even if they aren't particularly interested...
Before the Middle of the Darling Daughters had children, we used to meet from time to time
in London for a Mother and Daughter Outing. Each outing had as its focus an art display, a museum exhibition, a sculpture garden or something similar. What actually happened, of course, was that we would meet at Victoria Railway Station. “I’m you
know where, with you know what!” my daughter would message me as my train drew into the station - this cryptic message translates as “I am outside the Ladies Loo with 20p" (or whatever the current fee for spending a penny.) Before we headed off
for our destination, we would treat ourselves to a cup of coffee and a catch-up, even if we had only chatted on the phone the previous evening. Once we reached the museum / art gallery / whatever we would search out the restaurant, sample the coffee, then
whisk round the exhibition in double quick time so as not to miss out on lunch. And, obviously, we always had to share a last cuppa at the station before we went our separate ways. How I loved those “educational” outings!
The pandemic has put paid for the time being to the OMO, a relatively new initiative founded by granddaughter Eleanor and me. OMO stands for Obscure Museums Outings and sadly to date
we have only managed one outing, to the Florence Nightingale Museum to see an exhibition about the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918. Little did we know, as we toured this excellent and informative display that not so very long hence we would be experiencing the
horrors of a pandemic for ourselves. I remember this OMO, not only for its educational value, but for the lovely picnic lunch we enjoyed in St James Park and our trip past Buckingham Palace to see if Her Maj might be at home (she wasn’t.)
This week I booked for the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I to visit beautiful Highdown Gardens, one of the best-kept secrets in Sunny Worthing. The gardens have just
reopened after a long closure, partly caused by the pandemic but also for significant work funded by the National Lottery. We took a picnic and planned to complete our visit with a trip to the neighbouring Tea Room. You will have started to see a pattern here,
We could have simply meandered around the gardens, enjoying the flowers, the birds, the butterflies, the new visitor centre and sensory garden.
It would have been quite enough, you might think. But, no, being me we had to follow a Kids Tree Trail, challenging ourselves to find and marvel at nine different trees of significant interest. The explanatory leaflet was set out in such a way that we could
have cut out the nine cards and played Top Tree Trunks, each tree being given ratings for its (i) maximum height; (ii) circumference; (iii) unusual bark; and (iv)lifespan. You will be pleased to know that I didn’t go quite that far but I am happy to
disclose that the top rated tree for maximum height was the Gingko at 28 metres; the greatest circumference was boasted by the Holm Oak; the most unusual bark belonged to the Paper Bark Maple; and the Gingko once again came out on top for lifespan. As I said
at the beginning of today’s Random Ramblings, I do like it when the Daily Blog comes over all educational...
Next time we visit the gardens, we plan to challenge
ourselves further by following the Plant Hunter’s Trail which has no fewer than fifteen specimens to spot and wonder over. When I say “we”, I haven’t exactly involved the Youngest of the Darling Daughters in the decision-making but
I doubt it will come as a surprise to her.
She knows me so well...