Monday, September 03, 2007

Clippety clop off we trot for the Last of the Summer Whine

Say hello to Hyperion, we met him today at the National Horseracing Museum in Newmarket on our last outing of the summer holidays. This is what he looks like now (be warned, he's a little thin and if you're squeamish about skeletons, just close your eyes and scroll down)

(photo courtesy of the NHRM website)

I know nothing about horses but according to those in the know, Hyperion was the most successful British-bred sire of the twentieth century who won nine of his thirteen races. Even to an equine ignorant like me that sounds impressive.

The museum proved a hit with the children. Of course they were not interested at all in the facts and figures of horse-racing itself. Neither was I really and apart from the odd sculpture and painting even the wide range of works of art couldn't grab my attention. Ironically it can sometimes take a focused visit like this to make you realise that you're not really a horse lover.

What had drawn us in though was the museum's Practical Gallery, which features a replica stable, jockey colours for dressing up, weighing scales and a horse simulator, similar to the ones used by real jockeys in the winter. The children enjoyed the dressing up and looking at all the different horse-feeds, but most of all they enjoyed the horse-ride, the eldest on the simulator, while the youngest looked on in envy from the back of a little rocking horse.

What did awaken my spirit was the garden exhibition featuring wire sculptures by artist Laura Antebi.

The children loved these. My favourite sculpture was the Boxing Hares, which couldn't help remind of recent scenes at home, now that the boys have got a bit weary of their time together.

I can't believe that it is the end of our first school summer holiday. It has gone very quickly and has been jam packed with lots of interesting experiences. We've had lots of down-time too, which I think is also very important. We now have just one more day to go!

I am beginning to think that the whole "back to school" thing has passed me by. Have I missed something big? Apart from one new pair of shiny black shoes waiting in anticipation for their first scuff, I've not succumbed to the full-on marketing hype and he will start his first day back with the same uniform that he left school with just six weeks ago.

I'm not such a terrible mother that I'd send him in with trousers half mast or anything like that, it's just that last year they were too big and thankfully this year this still just fit. I guess he's just not grown much this year. Maybe we can stretch them out until at least half term, the trousers that is not the poor lad's legs.


Vicky said...

The museum looks such fun - definitely one to remember. Did you go on the horse simulator too?

I know what you mean about the going back to school thing. I haven't done anything. Maybe it will all hit me tomorrow when I realise they don't have anything they need. Oh well.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

Have you ever seen hares boxing? It is a wonderful sight.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Vicky - didn't dare try the horse simulator despite the fact it looked quite fun. It was seeing how much heavier I am than the average jockey which put me off. I hope no-one else was looking at those scales. ;-D

Hi Paul - no I haven't, does it look different to a 5 year old and 3 year old? We have hares in a field near us, I should take a closer look for signs of activity. Hope the toe's better by the way :-)

Ruby in Bury said...

I didn't know there was a museum of horseracing in Newmarket - good place for it though.

At bedtimes I'm reading the fourth book in the "Charlie Bone" series (which is excellent) with the kids, and it has a phantom horse in it, brought back to life from long ago, by putting spells on its skeleton. I can't help thinking of it, looking at that photo. I wonder if Jenny Nimmo was inspired by a visit to Newmarket?!

21st Century Mummy said...

I'm looking forward to books that don't have kipper in them ;-)

I think the Rubyettes would love the's not even far from the train station.