Return to the Walrus of Horniman

Come on Francesca, pay attention to the walrus!
After visiting the Walrus of Horniman in August, it was clearly high time to return in December for another showing. And by "showing", I mean "showing my daughters to the walrus by holding them up to its face in some strange ritual of large-aquatic-mammal-worship". Heaven knows what the staff make of a bearded man holding a three month old child over his head and leaning towards their prized exhibit.

Before we got to the Walrus ("Daddy’s Walrus" as La Serpiente now calls it, which fills me with pride but also makes me worry about what strange beliefs I’ve bred in her mind) we walked through the gardens around the museum. La Serpiente found some other children of a similar age to play with, and they ran around in circles beside the bandstand. I’m overjoyed to see small children in very large coats running at great speed – they’re like little Michelin Men (Bibendums, if you’re going to be pedantic) rushing around, bouncing into one another and looking very cute. This happens much less in Singapore, because if you put a kid into a winter-weight coat they’d faint after a couple of minutes, and in any case it’s not a climate conducive to lots of running around and screaming. More’s the pity.

We also contained our excitement enough to go to the cafe before the museum. I must remember next time I go to the Horniman Museum not to drink the coffee there, because it’s horrible, over-acidic stuff that just makes my brain hurt and my body do terrible things. Also, some clown had removed the seat from the toilet – why do people do that?

My joy was not abated by these things though, because we soon got to go into the museum, stopping first at the aquarium and then on to the main attraction, the wonderful (and, I was surprised to discover, Canadian) Walrus itself. La Serpiente spent some happy time running up to lots of the other exhibits before finally going upstairs to the apostolic clock, where she made me read her books, and astounded me with her recollection of names for arctic animals (she can recognise and name polar bears, snowy owls, seals, …)

They’re selling an activity book for children at Horniman’s now that includes lots of things about the contents of the museum, including stickers. This I worry about, as on the one hand kids love stickers, but on the other kids love sticking stickers everywhere, and that could mean the base of the walrus attracts lots of unwanted decoration from little bundles of joy like mine. I just hope everyone else is assiduous in maintaining control of the stickers and where they eventually get stuck.

I would say more about the exhibits that are in Horniman’s at the moment, but I was blind to the new photographic exhibit and to everything else, because I was focussed solely on the walrus and on my children. Does that make me a bad person?

(If it does, then my karmic debt may have been called for earlier than expected, as our stroller seems to be falling apart, and I got rained on this morning as I came back from the shops with new tyres for the aforesaid stroller, and having gone for a run tonight in the cold air I can’t stop wheezing. But apart from that, no complaints…)

4 responses to “Return to the Walrus of Horniman”

  1. Hi Denise . Of course there is a picture of The Walrus ! Just ask the author of this blog and you may be regaled with many ! Other walrus related artefacts are also available, eg fridge magnets, cuddly toys etc. Is that demeaning for a facsimile of The Walrus to be constantly moved around a fridge door. On second thoughts, it is the closest to artic conditions it will get in most uk homes.

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