Whining in Windsor

Are we having fun yet?

I recently dragged my family to Windsor to get some fresh air and sunshine outside the city.  Windsor is an easy day trip from London, and I thought it would be fun to spend some time together.  I keep forgetting that “family fun” is often elusive even with the best intentions.

The teenage chorus of complaints started immediately: 

WHY are we going?  WHAT is the point? WHERE is this place?  WHEN will we be home?

I don’t even bother to respond any more.  Suffice it to say, we were a group divided. Windsor was wonderful for the adults and woeful for the children.

We got off the train and were welcomed by the pageantry of a parade and the ceremony of the changing of the guards.  I never get tired of all the pomp.

Windsor looks like a storybook castle.  I enjoyed the tour of all its splendid staterooms, priceless artwork, and magnificent chapels.  One room contains the famous Queen Ann dollhouse that is described as a “monument in minute perfection” designed by the greatest craftsman and artists in their day.  It had running water, electricity, crystal chandeliers, oil paintings, a wind-up gramophone with real records….all built on the tiny scale of 1 -12 centimeters. Amazing!  It was never intended as a child’s plaything though, which struck me as rather odd.  To sing along with the girls’ complaint chorus for a moment, what’s the point?

After lunch we took a short walk over a bridge and across the Thames to the venerable Eton College.  We saw one student in his full uniform of white tie and tails running to class with a backpack.  Jackie could not understand why he was dressed like that to go to school.  Who would ever want to come here?  Only most of the Prime Ministers, Masters of the Universe, and Posh Patrons of Society.  Well, they must be weird to want to wear those clothes!  She may have a point.

After a few hours, Jeff and I conceded to the relentless complaints and made our way back to London.  Misery loves company.  My friends all laughed when I recounted our “fun” day and shared their own stories: I wanted to strangle my kids on a day trip to Greenwich to see the Cutty Sark….We just don’t go anywhere any more….You have to practice zen-like calm and ignore them….

In response, I have my own chorus of complaints:

WHY are teenagers so impossible?  WHAT is the point of bringing them along?  WHERE is the family fun?  WHEN will this stage pass? 

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