I am going to bed now as it is bedtime. This is a self-imposed bedtime and, to be honest, I don’t even know what time it is. The point being, I am going to bed and reflecting on the day I have had. A day in which I gave myself a surprise treat.
Today I went for a drive because I needed petrol and, in a Forrest Gump way, I kept on driving and driving. I eventually stopped and, where I chose to stop, I noticed there was a museum over the road. I only pulled up to get a drink and then continue my drive but curiosity got the better of me and so I decided to walk into the museum. It turned out to be a museum of mining – the most self-obsessed of all museums. The assistant immediately engaged me (in conversation rather than proposing marriage) and, in a moment of maverick spontaneity (after all, any longer than “a moment” and I couldn’t class it as “maverick spontaneity” – which it most certainly was) I proclaimed, “One adult, please!”
Fortunately for me the assistant had obviously heard this request before, or was at least wise enough to interpret it, otherwise she may have panicked, as I probably would have, and delivered an actual adult. I would then have had to pay for the adult and, rather than going home with a bottle of water; I’d have ended up a human trafficker! As I say, she read between the lines and none of this occurred. What did occur, however, was to change my entire day… and the lives of others. Perhaps.
The assistant asked the question, “Would you like the museum, the tour or both?”. I was on a roll! I had only wanted petrol in the first place, then I decided to drive a distance for it (ironic in itself), I’d made a stop for water and now I found myself narrowly missing out on becoming a slave trader in a museum I was only now becoming aware that I’d stepped inside. There was only one answer: “BOTH!”.
Actually, there were two answers and the one I gave was distinctly more British and polite, “Oh, well, um, both, then. Please?”.
So I set off, on my own, for a little tour of the mining museum. It was very interesting and, at one point, I engaged 4 pensioners in a conversation about the Chilean president. Well, it was a Tuesday, after all. It was shortly after this point that a tour guide came to collect me – I imagine at the relief of the bemused elderly quartet.
5 minutes later and I was stood over the road from the museum with a tour guide and a couple I’d never met before. All three were wearing hiking gear – sturdy boots, water proof trousers, waterproof jackets, back packs. All three members of the party looked like they were ready to go into a cold, damp cave. Unfortunately, there were actually four members of the party. The fourth member, who for the sake of this tale I shall call “I”, wasn’t so well equipped. For a start off “I” had been suffering from ‘flu for the past 3 days so heading underground probably wasn’t the best idea “I” could have. Coupled with that my exploration get-up consisted of jeans, a chunky woollen hoodie and gold trainers which weren’t really meant for walking (some would argue there weren’t meant for wearing in public) and it was a disaster waiting to happen.
Fortunately, a disaster didn’t happen. I explored the caves – some of the tunnels were hundreds of years old – I saw some spiders and some mineral rock things and I didn’t once bump my hard hatted head, despite having to practically crawl through holes no bigger than small holes. I even conversed with the couple – who were from Boston, Lincolnshire and enjoyed “doing caverns” – about bats:
Me: Do you like bats?
Couple: Not really, no. Do you?
Me: I’m not really sure.
Couple: Hmmm. Well. Bats, hey…
Me: Yeah. Bats…
I even found out that the guide studied architecture at university, she knew more about rocks and minerals than equiptment and she had never hosted a party in cave. It also turned out that she had never said, during the course of a tour, “This is mine… all mine!” Although I don’t see how anyone could resist that.
After the tour we all parted and went our separate ways but, it has to be said, I don’t think the other three really felt the connection that I did. I didn’t ask for phone numbers but my “Nice to meet you, maybe see you down another hole soon?” wasn’t reciprocated. Actually, now I come to write that down, it does seem a little odd to have said it. I’ll let them off that one.
So that was my day. I didn’t get the water – although I did have some chips – but I managed to get petrol for my car. I wanted to put £20 in but then I decided I was enjoying the random theme of the day, so I kept going until I reached £32.
So, Here’s What I Have Learnt Today: It is good to surprise yourself. Not only could you walk in the footsteps of history but you may well bring a couple closer together as they reassess their outlook on bats. Congratulations: You’ve just saved a marriage!