Saturday, March 23, 2013

(Nursery) Crime and Punishment

Those of you who have read my ramblings for some time will be familiar with the traumatic trail known as the Nursery Rhyme Walk. I had long harboured dark fantasies of taking a blowtorch to those badly painted and peeling boards featuring warped monstrosities from the Salvador Dali school of children's decor.

With the departure of Old Boss and the arrival of Acting Manager a window of opportunity had presented itself, under the guise of  change and improving the visitor experience. My proposal went somewhat as follows:

"Can we rework the existing walk and turn it into a nature trail?"

"There's nothing in the budget for a new trail."

"Not a problem, what I have in mind won't cost a thing."

"All right then."

A few days later saw myself, McColleague and Lovely Warden standing amid the forlorn Nursery Rhyme exhibits wondering just where to start. We were quivering with excitement, this moment had been anticipated so eagerly for so long.

In the end McColleague kick-started things. Take that, Little Pig. We hate you and everything you stand for.

Then it was the turn of the Three Little Pigs' houses. What the Big Bad Wolf couldn't achieve Lovely Warden most certainly could. Huffing and puffing is all very well but opposable thumbs and an ability to fling bits of wood a very long way is what's needed to top the food chain. It was all as deeply satisfying as we'd imagined it would be.

All too soon we found we'd demolished the whole walk. Humpty, Little Miss Muffet, Snow White and the rest of the mutants had been uprooted and flung into the abyss. We'd closed off the steep stairs of doom down to the swamp of despair and re-routed the walk entirely. No more would families with pushchairs find themselves confounded by uneven steps and tricky gates. Toddlers would no longer have to negotiate nettles and clouds of mosquitoes on their way to be terrified by what looked like Eeyore, if he was made of plastic and been left on a hot radiator for too long. Now they could stroll contentedly through our nature meadow and on down to the bird hide. They could even buy a bag of bird seed to take with them to top up the bird feeders if they so chose. Not only had we improved the walk for nothing, we had found a way to generate a tiny bit of income while improving the visitor experience.

This was surely a triumph and would look good on my annual review. I could almost taste the rewards to come.