Town Mouse

Na­ture, cul­ture and sport

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

LON­DON’S spring is al­most over; the cherry blos­som is ev­ery­where, scat­ter­ing to the ground, and the trees are nearly in full leaf. One of the stranger in­di­ca­tions of ap­proach­ing sum­mer is the in­nu­mer­able ants’ nests now coming to life in the pave­ments. The pres­ence of these minia­ture cities is marked by tell­tale piles of sand along the joints be­tween the paving stones.

This week­end, I led a fam­ily party to the new Char­ter­house Mu­seum, EC1. The chil­dren at­tended grudg­ingly and my ex­pla­na­tion of the cel­e­brated 15th-cen­tury wa­ter­work plan of the monastery was crisply cut off by a mock­ing as­sur­ance that there were no plumbers in the fam­ily in­ter­ested to hear it. Things turned re­ally nasty, how­ever, when I re­fused to buy a trin­ket from the shop. For a pe­riod, it seemed that the mu­seum might have ac­quired on per­ma­nent loan an ex­tremely an­gry child, re­volted into self-im­posed ex­ile by a fa­ther’s cru­elty.

To calm nerves on the way home, we stopped to watch the marathon. The pass­ing run­ners looked no­tably pro­fes­sional, rather than be­ing dressed up as tele­phone boxes, chick­ens or other ex­ot­ica, so the chil­dren’s cu­rios­ity was sat­is­fied in well un­der a minute. I felt in­wardly re­as­sured that they presently re­main as in­dif­fer­ent to sport as to cul­ture. JG

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