Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Museum

'I'm going to open a museum,' said Aunt Bim. She's a bit mad.

Over the next few weeks, all sorts of oddities appeared; crates of bird and lizard eggs of various shapes and colours, trays of beetles and, last Tuesday, the bemused postman turned up with a pair of antlers, carefully wrapped in brown paper.

'Good,' said Aunt Bim. 'Now my collection is complete.'

Aunt Bim lives in a very small house on a very thin street and nobody could see where she was going to store all her curiousities, let alone display them.
'In the front room, of course. I can live quite happily in the kitchen.'

So all her furniture was moved out and she spent the rest of the week arranging her trays and crates and, of course, the antlers. They took pride of place over the the fireplace.

'What's this?' we asked, the day the Museum officially opened.

'That,' replied Aunt Bim, 'is a hurly whirly beetle, to be found only in deepest Madagascar. They only eat red fruit and, when startled, spin around and rattle their wings. Like this.' Aunt Bim did an imitation.

'And this?'

'That is the skull of the flip-toed lizard of Brazil. If they are caught by predators, their toes fall off. And those,' she moved to the next tray where we were pointing to a familiar looking object, 'are my spectacles. Good, I'm glad you've found them.'

Nobody came to Aunt Bim's museum for a while. She rearranged everything several times to create maximum effect. She bought some peacock feathers and started a small feather collection in a free corner of the room. Still no one came. So she enlarged the 'Museum - Free Entry' sign and painted the letters in red.

Finally, the man that lives at the next-but-one house visited and said he knew someone at the local newspaper, and then she came and took photographs (mainly of Aunt Bim), and then everyone started coming. Aunt Bim made them tea in her overcrowded kitchen and they stayed for a long time, although not many spent long in the front room.

Aunt Bim was delighted. 'I knew it would be a success in the end,' she said. 'Now, do you think anyone would be interested in unusual pine cones? I'm thinking of expanding my collection…''

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