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Lovely trip to London looming with intent led me to declare that each family member was allowed to choose one favoured destination. This seemed both excellent and democratic. It lead to a somewhat scatter gun approach to the cultural life that the metropolis has to offer. Dinosaurs, Kew Gardens, China Town, River boat trip were some of the highlights but it was my choice, the Tate Modern that turned out the surprise hit. Having jumped along the wobbly bridge in the rather-ill-thought-through hope that it would wobble, break and plunge us into the Thames we arrived into the turbine hall for a good go at running and sliding on the sloping concrete floor. Whilst I abortively and unimaginatively queued with most of SouthWest London and their progeny for tickets to the Hirst exhibition Sam wandered over to take stock. He casually announced looking upwards at an enormous banner announcing the headline exhibition along side Hirst ‘Ah Yayoi Kusama, I have just made a 3ft Wonderland Mushroom inspired by her work, let’s see that rather than the dead shark’. As I stared open-mouthed at this unexpected sign of erudition and education in Number One Son I became aware of a frisson of startled energy in the Middle Class Mummies around me. I was being eyed with distinct hostility; if death by competitive mother looks could kill I would have evaporated on the spot. Some of these smiling harpies descended on me immediately to ascertain, which school was attended, which we were applying to, which tutors where being used and which scholarships were being attempted. They were not at all mollified to be told that we were just out of towners on a holiday jaunt. Clearly disbelieving me and suspecting us of finding some way of stealing a march on the cut throat business of the school selection in West London Sam was tailed around much of the exhibition in case he let slip our strategy. I had forgotten the unbelievably gruesome nature of the 11+ parents in that neck of the woods – so managed to skip back to Bath and congratulate ourselves on the wisdom of escape from that particular element of rat race.

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