I really think there should be designated "Child-free" days at a lot of attractions, paraticularly ones that aren't always "kid-friendly", ie stately homes and gardens. There was talk of CF days a London museums but I'm not sure if this has happened. I had a day out at Blenheim Palace yesterday - a place I've always wanted to see - and it was ruined by kiddies/bad parenting.
Admittedly I knew what I was in for - it was a special day of jousting and falconry which I wanted to see, as well as to finally tour the house and grounds. So I knew it would be full of kids. But OMG I seem to be growing more and more intolerant of their presence. The Jousting was sub-standard which was a shame as I LOVE watching it, and was more theatrical "for the kiddies" than any serious jousting. Before it even started we were subjected to 10 minutes of kids being invited into the arena, given pretend swords, then paraded around for a couple of laps while screaming "we are soldiers of the King!" while proud parents videotaped them to death. Anyway I'll not whinge about that cos that was totally expected to be kid-dominated TBH.
My beef was whn I was touring the actual house. The first hurdle wasn't even kiddie orientated! I drove thru the gates and paid for entry with my card, they gave me a receipt and a guide leaflet. I get to the entrance of the house and the woman asks for my ticket, I produced the card receipt, the leaflet and said I wasn't given a ticket. She looked at me like I was a bad smell, examined the receipt, and said snottily "well I shouldnt' really let you in". :shock: :shock: :evil: :evil: WTF?? "Er, but there is a debit card receipt dated 10 minutes ago to prove [b]I HAVE PAID!!!![/b]". She finally allowed me to go in and sternly told me to take my backpack off my shoulders when walking around. Nice. Welcome to Blenheim!
So I go into the first State room which has letters written by Churchill all over the walls. Having read his early autobiography I was keen to browse these. But oh, the room was full, and the first thing you hear is a grizzling bored child making that horrible crying/whiney noise that they do. After shuffling around in the crowd, trying to get to the letters to read them, and finally being unable to shut out the grizzling child so I could concentrate on the letters, I gave up and went to the next room.
The next room had kiddies in it, talking loudly, asking stupid questions (loudly), and one of them had covered the information panel with his colouring book so I couldn't read it. Daddy saw me leaning over the kid and peering at the panel but did he tell little Timmy to move? No. Onto the next room. Crying child. Parents looking at tapestries and half heartedly shusshing quiet child. Tranquility ruined by screeching. Onto the next room. More kids, more kiddie babble. Pleas for ice cream - REPEATEDLY. Parents ignoring the incessant noise disturbing the peace.
And so it went on. I was incapable of lingering for long in each room to drink in the history of the place, I simply coudln't STAND the kiddie babble. So I went upstairs where they have a new feature which is a remote control audio tour of 6 other rooms where the doors open and close themselves and voices, anamatronics and video talk you thru some Blenheim stories. It was excellently done but RUINED. Initially I was the only one waiting for the next tour to begin, but just as I stepped into the first room, along came mummy daddy and little Tabitha. :evil: :evil: :evil:
Sure enough, after a few minutes litening to the narrative in the first room, the kiddie-babble began. Loudly. Parents feeble efforts to shush her didn't work. The next room, kiddie was quiet. The third room, kiddie was bored and started crying - like the really LOUD clarion foghorn crying. By now I was past giving a *bleep* and I turned and glared fully at them. They then tried to shush little Tabitha to no avail, buy now her nose was running and she gurgled as if she was drowning in snot. The door to the next room wasn't due to open for another 2 minutes, and here I was trapped in a room with such noise as to make me want to remove my ovaries with a rusty spoon. After tolerating it for a little longer I cursed loudly under my breath and pushed the door thru onto the next room, thus missing part of the tour. After a few minues the door opened automatically and the screaming came thru so I had to push thru to the NEXT room, again missing that section of the tour.
In short, I ended up just walking thru the whole tour and pretty much missing it, because those selfish parents did NOT remove their child from the tour. :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
Down to the gardens and the river walk, and kiddies were rolling down the slopes and screaming as loudly as possible, while parents yelled at them or took video. Further down near the river where there was nothing to amuse kiddies, it was BLISS. I finally found a tranquil pocket after 2.5 hours of constant noise.
I walked along the river walk and noticed how most people just blandly followed the path, talking with eachother, never stopping to really LOOK and SEE the surroundings. Parents with kids rushed along, not seeing ANYTHING but what the kids were doing...."stay on the path, don't go near the water, don't throw sticks, wait for your sister, look at the ducks, put that down it's dirty". Meanwhile I ambled along and took in every detail.
I frequently strayed off the path and saw much more - different views, more flowers, and most of all - PEACE and quiet. It was almost a metaphor for how people live their life today. They blindly stick to the path and follow everyone else, while if they strayed from the path they could see some lovely things.
When I came to this Bluebell-coated ditch I had to stand there while daddy and mummy took photos of little Timmy and his brothers playing sword fights and shredding bluebells with their plastic swords. They saw me standing there, pointedly, with my camera, clearly waiting to take a photo but they didn't hurry along. No, they probably enjoyed the fact that someone was watching their precious unique stunning fascinating little brats destroy Bluebells.
Maybe it would have been better to get them to stand and look at the flowers and watch for insects and appreciate their surroundings, instead of encouraging them to run rampage and destroy it all. I still wince when I see kiddies charging at flocks of pigeons and scattering them all over whil mummy simpers and laughs. My parents made us stand still and watch while the pigeons came right up to us so we could see them close. You tell me which is the better behaviour to encourage?
I moved onto the Butterfly house, which was a new feature. Walked into the 80% humidity greenhouse and started hunting for butterflies. Cue mum, dad and pushchair. Loud voices MUM I CAN'T SEE ANY BUTTERFLIES....OOOH THERE'S ONE....WHY ARE ITS WINGS CRUMPLED.....CAN WE PICK THEM UP.
Now I'm not gonna moan about them being all loud and obnixous cos they are kids and that's just what kids are like but I *am* going to moan about how the PARENTS never told them to hush it down a bit and be mindful of other people in the area. Not everyone wants to listen to their kiddies opinions but parents don't seem to care. By all means encourage your kids to talk about butterflies but MUST THEY ALWAYS SHOUT and be stupidly LOUD!!!!!!!!!!!!! Same goes for when I was in the house itself......parents simply could not or did not instil in their children that this is a public place, an old stately home, and that they should have some respect for the surroundings and for the other people present who want to see and browse. And they should be a QUIET as possible, and not to shout.
Kids will always be boisterous and energetic but if they are never taught to have respect for others around them and taught the correct behaviour in public, then they will perpetuate this behaviour to THEIR kids.
I would have liked to spend more time butterfly hunting but trapped in a greenhouse with 80% humidity and noisy kids as akin to Guantanamo torture in my book, so I left. Went to the cafe for some food. £2.50 for a hot chocolate and £2.20 for a slice of cake, I don't think so!! Also as I walked in there were piercing screams coming from one corner, as another kid had a tantrum. I did an about face and all but fled the cafe. By now my nerves were in SHREDS.
All in all, my day at Blenheim was not 100% enjoyable. But would I be allowed to complain and get a refund? Probably not. I just wonder what parents would have said if I'd turned up with a group of girls, and proceeded to be all "loud, girly and hen night"-ish. I reckon parents would have tutted and moaned for England.
The only way I can enjoy these sort of venues is to go on a weekday during school term times. But my Thursdays are reserved for sewing stuff for Fuzzbutt so it's valuable time that I can't always give up for days out. Should places like these have kid-free days? Definitely - I just can't see it happening because as for so many of these places, they need as much money as they can get....and you can bet that attendance would plummet on non-kid days. Or would it??? Maybe they could have a non-kid-day that also welcomes more OAPS, or something.
I remember my parents taking us to some stately homes when we were kids but we were always told to be quiet, and if we weren't we got a sharp smack. I can't remember what sort of kid I was and whether I was a tearaway or not, but as youngsters we were never taken to places that mum thought would bore us, ie art galleries or "grown-up" attractions. We mostly went to steam engine rallies and beaches and coastlines as kids. Looking thru the family albums there are very few photos of us as grown-up venues. We loved beaches and exploring rock pools :mrgreen:
Would any venues in the future even dare to suggest child-free days, I wonder. For UK museums there'd not be an issue as they are state funded so don't rely on visitors to pay their bills. But other attractions need bodies thru the gates and would be afraid of isolating parents by pretty much saying "don't bring your brats". I also reckon that any designated CF day would be a weekday, so I'd still have to take time off work.
And [b]TODAY[/b] - well I'm just about to go downstairs and cook a whole stack of syrupy pancakes to try to de-stress me. Our local independent cinema was showing one of my fave musicals of all time "Singin in the Rain" so I went along. At a cost of over £13 including ticket and parking $19) Came in, sat down, then SEVEN KIDS and two adults trooped in and sat at the front. I nearly walked out then and there. Average age of the kids was probably about 5. I'm sorry but WHAT FIVE YEAR OLD wants to see a 1950s musical? Well quite simply, they didn't - the ADULTS did though. And the adults either a) refused to pay for a babysitter b) hubby was too busy c) hubby wasn't around. So they brought the kids with them, along with armfuls of bags of sweets to no doubt placate them, not realising a) the wrappers would make a noise and b) the sugar would make the kids restless.
Film begins - kids are curious and therefore quiet. Give them their dues, the majority of them were quiet and well behaved. But two of them (the youngest) were certainly not. 15 minutes and the little girl was standing up and talking to mummy. Mummy sits little girl on lap. sweet packages crunching. Little boy starts yawning loudly. Old woman next to me simpers and laughs. I nearly asked her WTF was so funny about a bored kid disrupting the film?????
25 minutes in - girl starts with the whiny voice, mum shushes her, girl keeps whing and mummy sits her on lap along with yawning boy. 1 hour in - girl is walking up and down the cinema aisle while mum ignores her. I go out and speak to the usher, tell him that two very young kids who are clearly bored, are disrupting the movie for me. Usher comes in and speaks to mum.
1 hr 15 mins and little girl is still wandering up and down the aisle. Little boy is still yawning loudly and thinking he's funny. Little girl comes back to mummy but stand ups, wanders around, sits on mummy's knee, wanders around again, kiddie-babble begins. By now I want to scream out loud and hit them all with my bag. I decide it's pointless to tell the usher again. Mummy simply didn't CARE that her kids were bored because *she* wanted to see the film. And yet *WE* get called the "selfish" ones for NOT having kids???
I'm sorry but when your kids are that young, if you want to see a movie like that, GET A DVD and watch it at home. Then your precious angels can scream and run around as much as they want.
I'm so angry at the [b]sheer selfishness [/b]of it all. She eventually took them out on the very last scene, and she slammed the autitorium door nicely after her too. Then as we all filed out, one of the kiddies could be heard in the courtyard screaming like hell itself.
So my BH so far has been ruined. Tomorrow I'm at home all day sewing for Fuzzbutt, no doubt if I open my windows I'll hear the screaming neighbours kids all day. I *so* need to move out to the middle of nowhere :(
Right, time fo pancakes :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: