Elephants and Drama

Yesterday was one of those mad days where I created a timeline of activities and the whole family rolled their eyes. We needed to finish the Sheffield Herd elephant hunt, attend the Fun Palace event at Sheffield Theatres, complete homework, clean out a rabbit hutch, and watch the fourth Harry Potter. It was going to be a stretch. But the best kind of Sunday’s include unreasonable expectations, right?

We screeched to a metaphorical halt outside the Botanical Gardens two minutes after they opened and zapped three elephants inside twenty minutes (about 7 mpe – minutes per elephant). I even let them stop to collect conkers which wasn’t on the plan.

A frantic u-turn (not really) and we zoomed (at 20mph) into John Lewis car park, running through the store stopping only to look at picture frames, bags and perfume. Thank goodness, we made it to Sheffield Theatres for the Fun Place weekend.

The event was really good, even though we ended up doing a hoedown within 2 minutes of entering. I held hands with a man  I’d never met (and a number of very small girls and my own two bigger ones) and pretended the whole thing wasn’t embarrassing at all. I also pretended I wasn’t hideously out of breath.

After that the girls made a planet and star to go on the space artwork that will be displayed in the theatre, chucked balls at tin cans and hoops at cacti, and drew on the windows.

My favourite bit by far was the theatre tour where we were taken behind the scenes and I got to stand next to a garment of clothing worn by Kenneth Branagh – the girls didn’t understand what I was wittering on about. I have never seen so many costumes, shoes and bags in my life. If Ken’s costume wasn’t enough to send me wappy imagine how I felt about there being entire boxes marked “espadrilles”.

We saw the unglamorous section under the stage and heard about the theatre’s history and resident ghosts. I even got to revisit the room where I spoke to the registrar on my wedding day which I’d forgotten all about. Plus Paul got to go into the girls toilets to look at the windows which was a first for him.

We could have done so much more. I fancied having special effects makeup and doing the drama workshop but the elephants were calling us unfortunately. The kids did fit in a quick tightrope walk on the way out but strangely the adults didn’t have time for a custard pie in the face.

Upping the pace again we got back to the car and had our sights set on the final two elephants. At Hillsborough park we found that a)the elephant was in a walled garden that’s closed on Sundays and b)it wasn’t even there because they’d removed it already. We cheated and managed to fool the app into thinking we’d seen it.

Finally, Our Cow Molly. We’d waited until the end for this one in order to fully appreciate the free ice cream and flake. I imagined taking the final elephant picture with the girls looking triumphant and us all feeling on top of the world.

The elephant was not obvious. We walked through the farm. The elephant was still not obvious. We walked round the back into an area that we clearly weren’t really supposed to be in, guarded by two angry geese. We had to accept the fact that the elephant had gone.

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It was hard for me but I was brave and accepted the stark reality that I was not to complete the elephant hunt properly. But then to be fair there had been other issues early on. I was, for example, supposed to take the children with me on the hunt, but on one occasion I nipped past an elephant on a working day at Crystal Peaks. I also got the last little ones in my lunch hour having raced through town to get to Atkinsons like some kind of old, overweight ginger Anneka Rice. So I can’t really be an elephant purist.

When we cheated and fooled the app once more to log our 58th invisible elephant there were no fireworks but there was a free ice cream.

Seen very fast without the children in my lunch hour


My sense of completion may have been a little shonky but we had completed the challenge and the ice cream was epic.

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