So this week rather than it being a traditional day of rest, Wednesday saw us going to the National Mining Museum with two kids in tow. Our original plan to head to the Maize Maze was , sadly, in tatters following what could be described in correct meteorological terms as a fuck-ton of rain. So plan B was to spend an hour and a half underground in the company of a old miner from Barnsley who had a very distinctive use of the English language.
Basically, if you wanted to find a stereotype, then he was it. He was it with bells on. He was throwing expressions and Yorkshire-isms left, right and centre, but for me the best part was that by the end of the hour and a half of spelunking in a coal mine he’d managed to convince a child (precocious, know-it-all smart arse) that coal isn’t pronounced like coal but is, in fact, pronounced like coil.
So that was fun.
But, as with everything Carole and myself do that involves an elderly person – I refer you to the Greyfriar’s Graveyard incident of 2013 – things became somewhat repetitive.
There were 19 of us on the tour. That number never changed. Nineteen went in, nineteen came out. At no point were any of those 19 people from Barnsley. That was established right at the begin when Dobbin (our tour guide, so called because he used to work with the horses) asked if anyone was from Barnsley. And we all said no.
A little later on, he asked us if anyone was from Barnsley.
Now, unless some other people had joined us, maybe having been living in the mine for a while or something, it was unlikely anyone was from Barnsley. And again we said no.
And then a little bit later still… there was stlll no-one from Barnsley on the tour, but he had to check again.
Other than that it was a good tour and another underground place I can add to the caves in Kent that they filmed old episodes of Doctor Who in (the walls still sparkle) and a hydro-electric plant in Scotland as somewhere I have been. And, sort of, one of those places that I want to go back to when we’re not accompanied by children and have a proper look at some of the things on display and I know Carole wants to go back and have a hunt for a relative who was injured in a mining accident.
I say mining accident. A wall fell on him at a mine. It’s not quite up there with the great colliery disasters of all time, but still if there’s a record of it to be had it’s more than likely going to be there. And if we can find it without a child looking bored or looking around for something to eat, we’ll be on a winner.