Today Ellen and I took the bus into Tring. We caught the 11.46 am bus (which came and left 5 minutes early, unlucky for anyone not at the bus stop) and arrived just after mid-day, due in large part to the bus driver’s ill-concealed ambitions to be a racing driver.
The main reason for our trip to Tring was to visit Tring Natural History Museum. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/tring/index.html . For those of you who don’t know it, this is a fantastic – free to enter – little museum containing Lionel Rothchild’s personal collection. Ellen loves animals and it doesn’t seem to matter whether they’re alive or dead – at Tring Museum they’re all dead (stuffed), the bonus of that is that they don’t move and they’re really close to the glass so you can get a good look at them!
First we made the obligatory stop at the gift shop to find the toy who wanted to accompany us around the museum. Today it was a whale, who not only looked at all the exhibits with us, but also helped to fill out our gallery trail questionnaire – The ABC trail which meant we had to find all the letters of the alphabet in the galleries. The alphabet contained the weird and the wonderful including ‘pacarana’ (a rodent) and ‘hellbender’ (a giant salamander). Ellen has an incredible memory for animal names and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she starts talking about gerenuks and thylacines, I just hope she doesn’t spot any of the latter out of the kitchen window! There was a pigeon called a ‘topknot’ pigeon whom Ellen was particularly taken with as he had a topknot like the Fimbles, although disappointingly no stripes. She also loved looking in the cabinets at all the disgustingly creepy spiders, cockroaches, beetles and scorpions and indulged in her every present love of massive crabs. Fun all round.
Then it was lunch time and we eschewed the finer eateries of Tring and made our way to Ocean Fish and Chips right in the town centre. Perfect food for Ellen, sausage and chips plus we were the only ones ‘dining in’. While we were there, a woman intriguingly came in just for a takeaway portion of mushy peas….another ordered her cod bites and chips and then proceeded to make a phone call loudly telling the person she was talking to how many pills she had left to take (for what?!). If I ever do a JK Rowling and decide to sit somewhere public to write, Ocean Fish and Chips would seem to be the place.
By this time Tring Library was finally open. On a Wednesday, it’s opening times are 2-6 pm so we trekked up there and started looking through the books. We managed to kill another half an hour flicking through some books, before a trip to Costa and back to the bus stop for the 3.15 bus back home. Amazingly we had managed to spend over three hours in Tring – a feat I would previously have thought impossible!