Dinosaurs and Prison Ships: 2013 365 Challenge #94

Victorian Operating Theatre

Victorian Operating Theatre

I took the children to Peterborough Museum today for a change. Even though the sun made an early appearance, the arctic wind is still blasting through Northamptonshire and it’s not much fun outside.

It wasn’t much fun walking across town either, although I had the kids pretending we were on an expedition searching for polar bears as we pressed on, head down, through the gale. I’m not sure they bought it. Think they would rather have been hunting mermaids on a sunny beach. Me too!

We have a nice little museum at Peterborough, with dinosaur fossils from the local area (it seems weird to think of Mammoths and Ichthyosaurus here where it’s so flat and dull!), a mocked up prison ship with hammocks the kids could climb in, a Victorian operating theatre (The building used to be a hospital) and other interactive displays and things for the children. Mine are a bit young but they still had fun.

Station Master Aaron

Station Master Aaron

The only negative experience was waiting thirty minutes for two harassed but helpless coffee shop staff to bring us a pot of tea and two toasted tea cakes. They could do with putting their better staff on at lunch time. I was naughty and spent the wait grumbling loudly. What I wanted to do was get behind the counter and sort them out!

A lovely day, but definitely one that reminded me why I could never home school. I know so little about things like the Battle of Waterloo or the different types of dinosaur and, though I remember enjoying learning about them once, I have little desire to learn it all a second time. I’ll help them with homework as much as I can, but I’m happy to leave the teaching to the professionals.

Short Claire post today as I’ve been crook since getting back from the museum and can’t seem to get my brain into writing gear. Forgive me, I’ll try and make up for it tomorrow!


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


Claire looked down the list of hotels on her iPad, conscious of eager eyes watching from the passenger seat. Scanning the Laterooms site, her eyes noted the hotel rooms near her budget. A B&B in Peterborough, a Days Inn hotel near the services. She looked over at the angel in pink sitting on a booster seat and kicking her feet. Do I really want our first night to be in some grotty hotel by the motorway? That’s not an adventure.

She examined the list again. Hotel and Spa, that sounds perfect. A quick trip to the sauna might just warm me up after this charming trip to see my mother. In the corner of her eye she could see Sky’s pointed toes trying to reach the glove box. Bugger, I don’t suppose I can take a six-year-old into a Spa. What do parents do when they need to relax?

Then a name stood out – a Country Hotel near Huntingdon. Clicking on the picture, her screen filled with an image of an ivy-encrusted building full of charm and character. That’ll do. She selected a twin room, trying to ignore the £89 price ticket. It does come with breakfast. I’ll just not include this receipt next time I file my expenses. My treat. A quick internet search revealed a zoo nearby. That settles it. We can go to the zoo first thing and then drive to the hostel after lunch.


By the time they reached the country hotel thirty minutes later Claire regretted passing up the Spa. Sneaking down for a dip after her niece was asleep seemed idyllic compared with enduring more hours of endless chatter. How does she manage to talk non-stop for so long? And with such shrill enthusiasm?

Claire’s brain rang with the high-pitched babble and her throat felt parched after answering a stream of random questions. The two-week Easter vacation stretched ahead of her like a desert road: long and relentless and without relief.


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