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Saturday, 18 May 2019

Checked Out

A wet day at the Eden Project

Among the parking machine tickets of the last post was a small sticker from The Eden Project in Cornwall – a horticultural attraction near St. Austell in which plants from diverse climates and environments are housed in enormous transparent bio-domes. It reminded me.

It was a wet day with over an inch and a half of rain forecast (4cm), so along with thousands of other holidaymakers we drove to the Eden Project where we would be under cover. We were thankful of the bus from the car park. The bio-domes were packed and the rain on the roofs deafening.

Inside is like walking around abundant outdoor gardens: a tropical rain forest garden in one dome, a Mediterranean garden in the other.

I had been walking along with my ten-year-old daughter some distance behind my wife and son for some time. She was taking lots of photographs of flowers and plants; there were over a hundred in the camera.

We entered a bushy side channel off the main path to look at a coffee plant. Immediately an officious-looking woman came up behind and said, quite unexpectedly, “Sorry we haven’t any red ones for you at the moment”. There ensued one of those polite but unwanted conversations with an intrusive stranger about there not having been enough sun to turn the pods red, there being two beans in each pod and it taking about thirty pods to make a cup of coffee, and how busy it was today because the rain brings in the visitors, which was a pity because they then miss the 75% of the project outside.

It was a while before I noticed she was wearing a small Eden Project badge. All the other staff were in Eden Project polo shirts. She strode off purposefully through the crowd without talking to anyone else.

Is this what it comes to? After a certain age when your brown beard is turning grey and your hair is falling out and you look a bit like a seedy Harold Shipman, and you are innocently enjoying a day out with your daughter, they pick you up on CCTV and send someone to check you out as a suspected paedophile.

I understand the concerns but still felt pretty indignant. It’s equivalent to being stopped on sus just because of your appearance.

11 comments:

  1. I wonder who was more affected by the damp atmosphere, she or you?

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    1. I don't know but I was bloody indignant when I realised what had just happened.

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  2. You might feeling differently if your daughter had been with a paedophile? It's a sad reflection that that staff are employed with this in mind.

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  3. PS. Harold Shipman? Yes, there is a likeness there tee hee

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  4. Perhaps the official had heard that you are very partial to entering bushy side channels.

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  5. I am dense as I didn't see where that story was going. The amount of mistrust these days is great.

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    Replies
    1. Not dense just innocent, like me. It wasn't until afterwards I began to think it odd, and that rather than being a garrulous busybody there was more to her. It was the way she strode off without looking at any plants or talking to anyone that made me realise she was carrying out a task.

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    2. It taints us all as we lose just a little bit more innocence.

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