“So it’s the lipstick and handbag museum today then?” I said to the boys, raising a hopeful eyebrow.
It’s a running joke: keeping them entertained during the long, long holiday involves so many boy-related activities that I do like to rebel every now and then, and threaten them with an art museum, or (to their wide-eyed horror) a spot of shopping.
They looked at me aghast, as though I’d suggested slow torture. “Lipstick and handbags? NO WAY!” they chorused, in unison.
DH, who’s just spent 36 hours with us in the UK, might have smiled too, in silent agreement – and I might have inwardly sighed at the thought of another aviation museum (on top of the castle with murder holes yesterday; two air and space museums in DC; a train museum in Baltimore; numerous train rides and a submarine tour).
But off we went …
Each year, on our summer sojourn, I’m reminded how much longer my boys’ school holiday is than the six weeks or so enjoyed by British children. This is truly astonishing considering how much my sons don’t know yet and, therefore, how much schooling they need. I’m also reminded exactly why the words, “MUM-EEEE, I’m bored,” grate on your ears far more than the most irritating ringtone.
I digress. Where was I? The birthplace of British motorsport and aviation.
Actually, Brooklands Museum near Weybridge in Surrey is a great place to visit. The boys clamboured onto old airplanes; there’s a Wellington Bomber, a Hurricane and a genuine ‘bouncing bomb’, all carefully explained by friendly volunteers; and a bus museum, too. You could probably even have a sarnie under Concorde’s wing, if you wanted to.
But the highlight was the vintage car ride – a thrilling dash up Test Hill, along the Banking and down the Finishing Straight of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit.
“Awesome,” screamed the boys in delight, as we flew up the hill and our world turned sideways while careering round the steep bank.
Displaying high-spirited glee, they started singing, “Everything is AWESOME!!!” And with the wind whistling through our hair, it really did feel like we were reliving the halcyon days of racing.
Our silver-haired driver chuckled, then remarked: “I’ve learnt a whole new language since starting this job.”
He turned round to face the boys after the car came to a juddering stop: “Wicked, eh?” he deadpanned, with a wink.
Yes, it was – and so much better than hearing, “Mummy, I SAID, I’m bored.” On repeat.