I wasn’t really looking forward to today’s job to Warwick Castle and Birmingham from Stratford, discovering that I had 21 Peruvians to look after. For one thing I don’t speak Spanish and for another all I know about Peru involves Machu Picchu, Michael Bentine and Paddington Bear.
Things looked even worse when I met the coach driver and he told me that, despite my worksheet saying “Afternoon Tour of Birmingham”, the group were in fact going to Cadbury World.
When I met the group, apart from the two teachers, they were all 15 year old girls. Really the sort of people likely to want to listen to someone like me.
Well, Jelfy, that’ll teach you to make assumptions. Yes, they were all fashion victims. Yes, they wanted to shop. But goodness were they interested in the Castle and its past and did they know their English history and culture. Certainly more than a lot of British youngsters of the same age know…….and certainly far more than they (or I) would know about Peru. They listened intently to a run through of Henry VIII’s wives, laughed at the story of the death of Frederick, Prince of Wales (allegedly hit on the head by a tennis ball!) and took enough photos to fill up an 8 gig SD card every half hour. They were here to have a good time and a good time they had.
Letting them loose in a chocolate museum in the afternoon produced the sort of reaction you’d expect letting teenagers loose in a chocolate museum. Next week there will be a flight back to Lima unable to take off due to excess baggage, most of it in the form of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.
And to round things off nicely - for me at least - while I was waiting for them to come back to the coach, there happened to be an afternoon concert going on at the Bournville Carillon. We had the Carillon played for our wedding in Bournville and this brought back some very happy memories indeed. There was a visiting Dutch Carilloneur called Frank Steijns playing and it was really rather wonderful. I do love Birmingham. Usually.