The joy of toys

I might compile a list of the places in Brighton that I feel ashamed of having never visited, and just get them all done. It’s utterly ludicrous that I could have lived here all those years and never, until Friday, visited the Brighton Toy and Model Museum, which is an absolute treasure trove of joy and pseudo-nostalgia. Not only was the Muesum, as part of the Festival season, open late specially, but the marvellous 0 and 00 guage train set was up and running.

Me, Sam and Dan circled it hungrily, wanting to reach out and touch, while Laura looked tolerantly on and scribbled in her notebook. I like the furniture best, I decided, the level crossings, roadsigns and brick red pillar boxes. Through one window I admire a model landscape more reverently than I do the rolling downs on my daily commute.

I hear Sam talking loudly. He and Dan have stopped by a cabinet containing a model helicoper. “Why does it have twin rotor blades?”, Dan is wondering. And Sam is off. “Well actually”, he says, “the vast majority of Soviet helicopters had twin rotors. The second was introduced to counteract the effects of torque on the single blade…”. I can’t bear it. I don’t care if Sam is right or not. I denounce him as a bullshitter, loudly. Behind him a couple of children, who were listening attentively, look disappointed. Sam is now a pariah in their eyes.

They eye him angrily.

Our enthusiasm for the toys is not infectious. After a while – when we’re on our third lap of the exhibits – Laura announces that she’s going to head off and leave us to it. She does. The men are left to their toys. We grin at each other.

“Pub?”, we muse.

“Pub”, we agree.

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