So, as official doting aunt I thought it would be nice to take my nephews on an outing. How lovely am I? Consequently I gave my OCD sister three months warning that I planned on taking them to the 'Butterfly Jungle' in Conwy. Now, this is close by Welsh standards. Only 31 miles away and I had this thought that we might be there for an hour or so and then we could go round the castle since the oldest nephew is obsessesed by being a soldier (he can frequently be found with a bucket on his head (sterilised first of course), pretending he is on parade.
So lunch was prepared for them (you can't expect them to eat food from a strange kitchen for goodness sake) and we met at 10.00 o'clock this morning just outside the butterfly house. My sister already had the look of a martyr being sent to the burning pyre but both boys looked pretty excited at the prospect of being allowed outside their bubbles and there was much reiterating of the fact that we were going to see 'Butter and flies'. Come to think of it, maybe that was why my sister looked so martyred. She does hate those flies.......
First appearances of the butterfly jungle are not very preposessing. Imagine a greenhouse that is more suited for mass illegal growth of dope and you are about there. Inside it was warm (it's a greenhouse so that's not really a surprise) but there were butterflies of all shapes and sizes. Huge electric blue ones, jagged winged black and white ones, beautiful multicoloured ones with intricate patterns. They flew around our heads, they came and landed on the boys coats, they ate nectarines, they drank water off the floor at our feet. They disguised themselves as leaves and fluttered up as you walked by. The boys were entranced. Not a swoon in sight they wandered round going 'ooh' and 'aah' and 'look - a butter fly'. They hunted for caterpillars and they studied the goldfish in the pond with great intensity.
After twenty minutes the youngest was sleepy (isn't that a good thing?) and the oldest was hot so we said we would go outside for five minutes and have something to drink and then come back in to have another look. Well, that was the plan I knew about anyway.
As soon as we emerged both boys perked up and started shouting about which butterfly was best. Before we even got near the drinks, my sister started marching us all back to the car. The oldest nephew asked in a tone that Oliver would be proud of 'can we go back in now?' and was promptly told that he was too tired and didn't want to. Actually, I wanted to go back, my father (who had come along to defend us from unknown butterfly perils and show willing as a grandfather) wanted to go back, and of course the non sleepy nephew wanted to go back. But no. What did we know? Apparently this was more than enough stimulation for the month and having been inside for a whole 25 minutes the boys could not possibly stand anymore entertainment without being thoroughly overcome.
I swallowed this blow manfully and brightly suggested that we go to the castle instead as the smallest boy would think it was just a walk, and the oldest would love it. I could have bought him a brand new bucket as a helmet and he could have marched up and down the ramparts defending us from all comers. This suggestion was also squashed as being entirely unsuitable for such delicate flowers. Instead they went to Tesco, which apparently would be more than enough entertainment for them, and then they went home.
My whole grand outing took three months of persuasion, two hours of driving and a total of 25 minutes actually spent with the butterflies. I think I might swoon with frustration.
The price of health
12 hours ago