Janet Christie: Is it time to end ordeal by museum?

Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015

New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie
Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015 New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie
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Let’s just nip into this church,” I say to Youngest Child. We’re in Florence. “It’s got an amazing Madonna painting that...”

“We’ve already been in a church,” she cuts in.

“Yes, but this one has some really interesting frescoes,” I say.

“We’ve seen frescoes. We’ve seen religious paintings.”

“Well, just look through the window here, you can see it at the side. Aw, there’s a Mass on, we can’t go in anyway,” I say.

“Good,” says Youngest. “Come away.”

OK, the Ferragamo shoe museum below the shop. She’ll like that.

It’s closed for refurbishment.

“Never mind,” she says. “Let’s look in the shop.” She’s happy rifling platforms and wedges, not so interested in a screen showing highlights of the museum downstairs.

Maybe a trip to San Gimignano, the medieval hill town with its dizzying tower houses in the Tuscan landscape will be more to her taste.

“Assassin’s Creed, seen this before,” she says as we alight from the bus (I’ll kill those boys with their violent computer games). So I’m solo, clambering to the top of the bell tower to admire the panorama of rolling hills while she waits below.

I win her back with a couple of days of foodie treats and clothes shops we could schlep round at home, then try again. “Would you like to go to a gallery to see some art?”

“No.”

“Not religious or frescoes, I promise, something modern, abstract.”

“OK.”

Kandinsky and Pollock, Calder and Hepworth she warms to, then suddenly: “I like this one.”

It’s Marcel Duchamp’s Mona Lisa with added moustache and goatee. “He was saying: ‘this is what I think of your art’.”

Back home I reflect that I must stop dragging people to things when the phone rings and Youngest answers.

“Yes,” I hear her say. “A very good holiday, thank you. Eight out of ten.”

Who knew?