Monday, July 19, 2010

Suburbs of Our Discontent

"Not another CASTLE??!!"

The historic wonder, Kenilworth Castle, a.k.a. "this place is soooooo boring!"

Kenilworth Castle. Newly opened to the public after hundreds of freakin' years. The spot where Queen Elizabeth I was wooed by the castle's owner, Robert Dudley, who built her a fabulous guest quarters and fancy English garden.

The place where my children decided they were done with castles and palaces. Done, done, and done.

The Phases of My Response To Them

Phase One: Remind them that some children do not spend the summer travelling in Europe. Some children spend the summer playing in the spray of open fire hydrants. Some children spend the summer hoping to get enough to eat.

Phase Two: Bribe children to learn facts about Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, who went all out for Elizabeth's three-week visit in 1575. My daughter earned 20 pence for noting that “even though Robert Dudley spent so much money on Elizabeth, she still didn’t marry him! Wow!”

Phase Three: Scream at children for possibly* eating the strawberries growing in the lovingly reproduced Queen Elizabeth Garden.

Phase Four: Allow children to spend the money that they have not actually earned in the Kenilworth Castle gift shop on rubber tarantulas.

Phase Five: Finally, bribe children to stay "ten more minutes" by promising them a trip to Tesco, the beloved grocery store where they can buy Flake bars.

*Just in case the people who run Kenilworth Castle, the English Heritage Foundation, are reading this, I will neither confirm nor deny this incident.


  1. My family lives about fifteen minutes from Kenilworth, and we've been there loads of times, on what has been referred to in some quarters as the annual "English heritage forced march." Luckily, my kids have always liked castles (as opposed to churches), but this post reminded me of the day my then-ten-year-old son staged a revolt in the middle of Henley Street, stomping his foot and saying, "I don't care about Shakespeare. I'm sick of Shakespeare. I HATE Shakespeare!" (I told him to be careful, or he might find himself burned in the market square for heresy.)

  2. I know I shouldn't be, but I am falling over laughing here. Not that the falling over part is that hard right now, what with the two gin-and-tonics I've had in order to combat the pain of my newly-broken toe, which in itself doesn't do a whole lot to add stability to yours truly. I hope you are eating Flake bars too. :)