Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Accidentally awesome

Last week was half term. My small person decided that she would love to "help" mommy in the lab on Valentine's day. It was the one day in my week that was relatively quiet, so I agreed. We packed a bag full of books, games, and snacks and set off for the station. I decided that it would be better to take an hour later train than normal, so that she didn't have to be bundled out of the house in the dark. When we arrived at the station, all of the electronic departure boards were on the blink. We had a hot cocoa while we waited and then made our way to the platform indicated by the man at the information desk.

When we got to the platform, the conductor was motioning for us to run, even though we still had 4 minutes until departure. I commented about it to him and he just said that my watch must be wrong. A few minutes later, he checked my season ticket and we settled in to read some Dr Seuss books and the Velveteen Rabbit.

About an hour later, as we were approaching the halfway point in our journey, I looked up and realised that we were not in the right city. Instead of Manchester, we were in Nottingham. Turns out that the info guy had told us the right train, but the WRONG direction. The conductor had failed to notice that I was obviously talking about a different train and that my season ticket was not actually valid in this direction. And me, well I'm just an idiot.

Since it would have been 1pm by the time we got to the right city and we needed to leave at 4:30 just to be home for bedtime, we decided to make the best of it. There are far worse places for two adventurous ladies to be than Nottingham. We walked along the canals and to Nottingham castle. Midget's knowledge of the Robin Hood story is purely from the Disney cartoon with the fox and the bear, but it was enough. The museum was rather less than I had hoped for, but the surroundings were great. We dropped approximately £4 million in the gift shop, but it was worth it. She was not interested in the Maid Marion lady costumes, and instead asked for a Robin Hood hat that was the same green as her trainers and a plastic horse wearing chain mail. I was happy to oblige, and convinced her that the perfect way to accessorise the hat was with a bow and arrow set. She was dubious, until we went into the castle grounds and started firing. We weren't bad, but I knew we could do better.

I asked the old man at the ticket window in the castle walls if there were any knights about that would give a fair maiden archery lessons, and he looked at me as though he was certain that I was insane. We had a fit of giggles and then set off exploring the city. We ran across another of the merry men, who was slightly older than my Robin Hood. He appeared to be about 7 and had several more arrows in his quiver. He was gracious enough to give us a lesson, and the two kids fired suction cup arrows into the walls of a medieval pedestrian alleyway for about 10 minutes, gaining coos from passersby about how cute they were.

After some more exploring, we stopped for a late lunch. Midget's stuffed chicken was given a Robin Hood hat made from a napkin, and he had exciting adventures with the knight's horse. We whiled away the rest of the afternoon by making our way slowly back to our home city, with Robin protecting me the whole way. We may have also consumed most of a bag of chocolate hearts, making it the best accidentally awesome Valentine's day ever.

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