You can see how stressful all this holidaying with 3½ year olds is – this ended up as a webpage instead of a blog post – now in its proper place! Today the delights of Blackgang Chine, billed as the country’s earliest theme park; it opened as a pleasure park in 1842. I first visited at Edward’s age (a few years after 1842) and we have been returning ever since. In my day it was a garden with a few lights and plastic gnomes. Much of the park of that time has now disappeared under many cliff falls but further inland the climb-on fibreglass dinosaurs, talking litter bins and toadstools of my children’s era have been joined by animatronic dinosaurs, a dodo valley (needs to be seen to be fully appreciated!) and an underwater world, lacking in water. As I first visited with my parents and grandmother, five generations of the family have now laughed at themselves in the hall of mirrors, got lost in the maze (although I know the secret) and climbed through the crooked house.
So, apart from yet more dinosaur conversations, with dodos thrown in, how did we relate this to history? Well, we spent the day taking photos that replicate those of earlier generations taken in similar positions. Unfortunately I only have the modern ones here, so you can’t get the full effect but believe me we have a whole series of ‘my children sat on toadstools’ photos, to which I am now adding ‘my grandchildren sat on toadstools’ images. I also have a picture of me aged three holding a cuddly toy and this is, I believe, the same spot although the gnomes have now been replaced by a dinosaur.