Monday, 6 April 2009

Medieval Angels, Victorian School Ma'ams and Rabbit Midwifery

Blimey! What a busy weekend we've had chez Domum! On Saturday we made like Lizzie Bennett and hot-footed it to Derbyshire (the finest of all counties) to visit the National Trust's Museum of Childhood at Sudbury Hall, just outside of Ashbourne. We all had a great time, the museum is a real treat for all of the family and I can highly recommend it. My eldest girl tried to climb into a chimney to sweep it (there was a mock display of the various kids of work children had to do in the 18th and 19th centuries) but she chickened out when she had to turn a corner in the must have been pretty hairy up there as my eldest enjoys a spot of abseiling and indoor caving of a weekend!
My youngest was completely enthralled by the mock Victorian classroom, complete with mock Victorian school teacher who taught deportment, cleanliness and curly letters! I am amazed at how well the little one took instruction from such a fearsome woman, but she just adored the whole experience, especially when the teacher told her how well she could sit up straight. The child glowed with pleasure. I wonder if all of that Christian/hippy/attachment parenting she's experienced so far has given her an inner longing for a bit of sergeant major treatment... amateur psychologists, answers on a postcard please. As well as the museum there's a lovely Queen Anne stately home to visit, complete with 1930s kitchen and a long gallery used in the filming of the BBC's production of Pride and Prejudice. Also, on the grounds a rather beautiful church. The DH thinks that the church may have been 17th century too, but as we walked around we saw that dotted amongst the plain dressed stones on the exterior of the church were some earlier elaborate carvings; an imp pulling a face and this beautiful angel, to name but two. The DH says the carvings were probably medieval and belonging to an earlier church building that may have been on the site. I rather liked the angel, she looked so stately and dignified perched so high up in the church fabric: "so this is a how a medieval craftsman imagined angels way back when?" I thought to myself. My thoughts however, got no further than that, as my philosophising is very much of the Pooh Bear variety and I was distracted by thoughts of the tea shop. (Ahh, the blessed NT tea shop, is there no finer institution?)
So on to Sunday. After church the DH spent three hours erecting a rabbit hutch. I had to take the children inside when he was doing it, his swearing was wild. The thing is, when the DH swears, he doesn't just swear, his swearing involves a weird stream of consciousness with meta-narrative, and sometimes characterisation. It's like listening to a live reading of Ulysses. However, we only get the James Joyce treatment when he has to construct anything from a flat pack, this is thankfully quite a rare occurrence. So why were we torturing the DH on a fine Sunday afternoon, an afternoon when sane men are sitting in the garden on a comfy deckchair sipping Sam Smith's? Well, because we wanted to prepare for Mrs Much and Ruby, our lovely lady rabbits!

We went to the rabbit breeders with the intention of buying to baby rabbits ( a buck and a doe) and keep them together so they have a bit of company, it was also my intention to take the to the vets and have them "done" so they didn't breed. Hmm, well the best laid plans of rabbits and men and all that jazz. The breeder showed us all she had and we fell in love with a year old Dutch whom we've called Mrs Much. Mrs Much is sad because she misses her babies, who have all been sold by the breeder, Mrs Much has a touch of rabbit post-natal depression. My heart melted, the eldest girl's heart melted. We bought Mrs Much. Did I mention that Mrs Much is probably preggers and ready to drop a litter in a months time? We also have a big softy called Ruby. Ruby is friends with Mrs Much, Ruby likes a cuddle and thinks she's a Guinea Pig, Ruby is a beautiful lilac colour. We all love Ruby. Did I mention Ruby may indeed be pregnant by a lion haired buck called Aslan? My father has informed me that only a crazy person buys two pregnant rabbits. He's probably right. Our plan is to keep one kitten from each litter and sell the other bunnies. The breeder says we'll have no problem selling them, and she'll even buy the kittens back from us when they appear. And you know, gentle reader, nothing says "Spring-time" like two pregnant rabbits!


Left-Handed Housewife said...

1. The field trip to Derbyshire sounded, as we Americans say, awesome. I want to go to Derbyshire, too! Are there wonderful grounds to walk around at Sudbury Hall so you can pretend that you're Elizabeth Bennett? Please tell me there are. And just the notion of a Museum of Childhood makes me swoon. Even more awesome.

2. Your husband's swearing akin to listening to a live reading of Ulysses: We English majors of the world salute him (and we salute you for the analogy--it made my blog-reading day)! Do you think you might post an audio clip on You Tube?

3. Good luck with them rabbits. 'Nuff said.


p.s. Happy Holy Week!

Dulce Domum said...

Hi Frances
1. I always pretend to be Eliz. Bennett when visiting such places. It's a personal necessity. If you want to do some virtual tourism re grounds in Derbyshire try Calke (?) Abbey. Fab.
2. I'm glad you liked my analogy. I'm sure therefore you'd enjoy DH's swearing. He has a lovely voice and would grace Youtube, quite wonderfully, with his creative profanities.
3. Ruby the rabbit is quite cross and making a nest. I feel a litter is imminent. Watch this space for Easter bunnies.

Happy Holy Week to you too, m'dear!

Gumbo Lily said...

Derbyshire! Oh, one day, it would be lovely to visit there.

So Mrs. Goodwyfe, are you reading to start "calving out" bunnies? Soon you'll have a regular ranch in your backyard!


Gumbo Lily said...

I meant to say "are you ready...." Oops.


Dulce Domum said...

Hi Jody
Yes, I've been rabbit wrangling these past few days. I've been doing so much reading up on the keeping of preggers rabbits you'd think I was going to sit an exam on it! I'll let you know how my first attempt at farming goes.

Marie N. said...

You'll certainly have a house full! I hope you get to take some great photos before the kits are sold.

What a great experience for your little ones, though.