Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Charlie finds a bit of Africa in a bit of England

'What do you want to do today, Charlie?' asked Uncle Tim.

'I don't know,' said Charlie miserably. 'I wish I was back in Africa. Africa is full of colours and music, and it's lovely and warm.'

'Well, why don't we find a bit of Africa in England, then?' said Uncle Tim.

'Africa isn't in England, silly,' said Miho.

'Miho, don't be rude,' said Daddy.

'Well, it isn't,' said Miho.

'No, Africa's not in England, but some bits of Africa are. Are you ready to find out?' said Uncle Tim.

'Yes!' said Charlie and Miho together.

'Right, off we go!'

Soon Miho, Charlie, Daddy, Granny and Uncle Tim arrived at the Horniman Museum. There at the door of one of the rooms was a very large.....


'Hey!' said Charlie. ''I'm not too sure about this. That lion's got his mouth wide open and he has enormous teeth. I'd really rather look at him from a distance! This is worse than Africa.'

'Scaredy cat,' said Miho. 'All right then, let's see some of the other things then.'

They saw a brightly coloured object in the middle of the room.

'What's that, Charlie?' asked Miho.

'I'm not sure but I think it's very special,' said Charlie. 'I can see elephants and people.'

'And I can see birds and hands,' said Miho.

They walked on round the corner.

'Oh look,' said Charlie. 'There's a model of an African chief and his wife. They've got special clothes on. They must be going to a party.'

'The chief's got lions on his clothes,' said Miho. 'I wonder why.'

'Because the lion's the king of the jungle,' said Charlie, 'and the chief's the king of the village. That shows he's important.'

What else is the chief holding to show he is important?

The next thing Charlie and Miho saw was a cabinet with lots of strange objects in it.

'What are those, Charlie?' asked Miho. 

'Those are special hats which African chiefs wear to show they're important.'

One hat was spiky, one looked as if it was made of lots of hats sitting on top of each other and another hat had bobbles stuck on it. Which hat do you think is the smartest?

Miho and Charlie went on to the next cabinet.

'Look Charlie,' said Miho. 'There are some African dollies.'

'Yes, said Charlie. 'They're Tswana dolls. They've got little hats and necklaces made of beads.'

'I like all these African things,' said Miho.

The last thing they saw was a display of lots of very special dolls and pictures from Haiti, an island in the middle of the sea where lots of African people were taken to live. The display was of mermaids.

'I don't think I would like to have a fish's tail instead of legs, Charlie.' said Miho. 'Would you?'

'I don't think a fish's tail would be much use for swinging through the trees, do you?' answered Charlie.

'No I don't,' said Miho.

Charlie and Miho left all the African things behind and went into the next room. It was full of musical instruments.  Charlie and Miho had a go on every single instrument.  First there was a set of pipes. Miho hit them with a rubber sandal to make a noise.

Then Miho hit the pipes with a stick and made a completely different sound.  Charlie thought she was very clever.

Then Charlie caught sight of a glockenspiel. This one came from Africa. Charlie really wanted to play it but the stick was too big for his hands.

'Charlie, I think you'd better sit down here,' said Miho. 'You can watch how Daddy and I play it.'

'Hmph,' said Charlie. 'You could at least make sure I'm facing in the right direction! How do you expect me to see from here?'

Daddy and Miho played the glockenspiel together. It made a lovely soft sound.  Then Miho played a drum called a bodhran. This kind of drum comes from Scotland and Ireland.

'I fancy having a go on the harp,' said Charlie. 'Let's play it together.'

The harp made a lovely rippling sound.

Then Miho found a little brass ball with a stick to hit it with. It made a little tinkling sound. 

The last thing Miho found was a big yellow bowl with strings to pluck inside. Plink, plonk it went.

And that was the end of Miho and Charlie's visit to the Horniman Museum.

'Well, Charlie,' said Uncle Tim. 'We've seen lots of African things, lots of colourful things and have played a lot of music. I'm afraid I couldn't make it warm, though. For that you'll have to go back to Africa!'

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