Sunday, 28 August 2011

Day 8, in which we got it very wrong

Today we let the children run the show.

Hannah came with me to the bakery van and she asked for the pain au chocolat, pain au raisin, croissant and baguette.  It went a bit pear-shaped when there wasn't enough pain au raisin but we coped.

We encouraged the children to browse a leaflet promoting the various activities in the area designed to attract tourists.  We asked them which attractions they wanted to visit.

One of the places they chose was Les Jardins De L'Imaginaire, which seemed like a good choice.  The main image was of an area full of fountains emerging from the ground and the description was of six hectares of beautiful gardens and fountains.  Show me a child that doesn't like running around a garden and playing in fountains.

It was only open for a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon with a long siesta in between.  I guessed it was about an hour away so we planned to leave at one o'clock to arrive at two.

We loaded just one of the SatNavs with the postcode and I picked one of the random streets attached to that postcode as I couldn't find the exact one mentioned in the literature.

45 minutes later we arrived at the destination, except it wasn't.  We'd reached the autoroute which was the random road I'd selected earlier.  We pulled over and considered our position.  We used the internet and maps on our phones to find we were actually a further 45 minutes from our intended destination.

When we arrived we discovered we could only enter the gardens by joining a guided tour, in French.  We paid up and were presented with a English printout of the tour.  The children were unimpressed.

It was dull.  The gardens were OK but I couldn't help feeling that if the Royal Horticultural Society got their hands on it then it would be much much better.  We eventually, after much "I'm bored", "I'm thirsty" and "I'm hungry" noises (from Hannah but mainly Ethan), arrived at the fountain in the picture.  It wasn't a fountain for play.  It was just one stopping point on the guided tour.

Ethan and Hannah tried to enjoy the fountain but I knew we were simply annoying people who wanted to take arty photos with their large-lensed cameras.

We left as soon as was decently appropriate.  Tomorrow the adults are in charge.

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