Tuesday, 2 July 2013

We're going on a Gromit hunt...

So.  Bristol is now home to eighty-four giant Gromits.

The doggy kind.  Not the sticky-in-the-ear kind, obviously.  Although with Thomas’s eardrum perforating three times in as many years, including once in the Gatwick departure lounge (oh how we laughed), his ear may yet become home to giant grommets.

Anyway.  Eighty-four giant, decorated dogs.

This, on the face of it, seems like a Good Thing.  There’s a trail to follow, and they’re located in all sorts of interesting places, and there’s a passport for children to get stamped with big, exciting stamping machines.  There’s even an app – the Detect-O-Gromit.

That’s my non-working Tuesdays sorted for the rest of the summer.

Or so I thought.

Let’s go find some Gromits, I said.  It’ll be fun.  Let me just download this app….

That was when things started to go wrong.  A whole three-and-a-half seconds after I’d come up with the idea.

The Detect-O-Gromit is not compatible with the original Iphone.  And that is not a phrase I ever thought I’d have need to utter.

Not a problem, I thought.  I shall put it on my Ipad.  Yes, I’ll look a right pillock, wandering around central Bristol with my ipad held out before me (and on a side issue, has anyone else ever tried to “be in the map” using an Ipad?  It’s impossible – the bloody thing keeps rotating), but then again, I’m taking two small children to hunt down giant plastic dogs.  I’m probably not starting from a point of much dignity.

So, I attempted to download the Detect-O-Gromit.

Only to be informed that it requires ios6.  I assumed this was one of the irritating updates that Itunes periodically tries to persuade me to download.  I obediently hooked up my ipad to the computer and waited for five million years while the two devices had a lengthy discussion about my music and photos.

Ooh, you’ve got that new whatsisface song she likes.  I’ll have a copy of that.

Is that the new update for that game she keeps playing?  Oh, go on then, pass it over.

Good grief, she takes a rubbish photo, doesn’t she.  Come on, let’s just delete them.  She’ll never notice.

The update completed and I made another attempt at the Detect-O-Gromit. 

Apparently I still required ios6.

I did shout a bit at this point.

A spot of googling revealed that ios6 wasn’t obtained via Itunes, but via the Ipad’s settings.  I followed the online instructions…and ios6 continued to be absent from my Ipad.

More shouting.  More googling. 

Apparently the old ipad can’t run ios6.

I am technologically outdated.  Unable to keep up with the latest advances in digital Gromit hunting.

So, I eventually located a map and, after a little more shouting about shoes and coats and wees and what-exactly-do-you-think-you-are-doing-with-that-toilet-brush, we set off.

The first problem came when we arrived at the M-Shed on the harbourside, to collect a Gromit passport.  Unfortunately, someone called me about a Very Important Work Matter while I was queuing for said passport.  The combination of queuing and preoccupied-mother-on-telephone is a bad one, and my attempt to sound professional went something like “Yes, yes, that sounds entirely…GET OFF THE GROMIT!  DOES IT SAY ‘NO CLIMBING ON THE GROMIT’?  DOES IT?  DOES IT?  WELL THAT MEANS NO CLIMBING ON THE GROMIT….sensible, don’t you think?”

We eventually obtained the passport.  A stamp was also procured.  Unfortunately, what I had failed to appreciate is that the stamps are only available at six Gromit locations.  Thomas, with all the single-minded obsession that can only be displayed by a small child who’s been given a sniff of something collectable, was set on obtaining all six stamps NOW NOW NOW! 

I studied the passport.  I noted the various locations.  I considered tearing up the passport and hurling the pieces at the man behind the desk.  One of the six extra-special Gromit stamps is located in Cribbs bloody Causeway. 

Eleven miles away.

Getting there would involve two separate motorways.

I informed Thomas clearly and calmly that we were not, under any circumstances, driving all the way to Cribbs Causeway to obtain a small, dog-shaped stamp.

About five minutes later, under a barrage of nagging, I agreed that we would, at some point in the near future, drive all the way to Cribbs Causeway to obtain a small, dog-shaped stamp.

In my defence, he nagged a lot.

So, with that minor bit of capitulation negotiation behind us, we commenced the Gromit trail.  The first two were located with no problems.  We even had an educational discussion about the fact that one Gromit was decorated with coins.  This was derailed slightly by the fact that Thomas correctly
identified that coins are money and money is used to buy things and by the way had he mentioned that he wants to buy a spiderman toy for his birthday?

No, I don't know what the stick was for either
We moved on.

Gromit number three on our list was unfortunately missing.  It was located on a wooden ship in the harbour.  The ship had gone.  This is puzzling as I didn’t even think it was sea-worthy.  I thought it better not to speculate about whether or not the ship had sunk.  I thought the idea of a drowned Gromit might rather put a dampener on the expedition – no pun intended.

We did manage another three Gromits, by which time Thomas was fired up and ready to crack on with the hunt.  I was not.

We’ll come back another day, I promised.  Five Gromits in one day.  There are eighty-four of the things.  That’s about another sixteen Gromit-hunting trips.

The classic standing-on-one-leg-next-to-a-giant-painted-dog pose
And one of them is on the railway line to Paddington, allegedly.

Still noblesse oblige.  No pain, no gain.  Tomorrow is another day, and all that.

When Thomas went to bed, I asked him if he’d had a nice day.

“Oh,” he said.  “Yes.”

What part of it had he enjoyed the most, I asked.

“Um, um….”

I helped him out.  What had he done today?  What had he seen?

“Oh,” he said.  “Dunno.”

And went to sleep.
One leg AND stick...

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