I had my first Auntie Mabel moment today. Come Outside has long been my favourite Cbeebies programme. I particularly like it when Auntie Mabel flies with Pippin the dog in her spotty plane to visit factories and see how things are made. Things like toothpaste, wellies and pencils. It’s fascinating. And then she sings a song about what she’s seen. It’s got everything you could possibly want from a children’s programme. She used to be Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, which I think you’ll agree is a much better pedigree than the dreaded Mr Tumble’s.
Today we went to the Alexander and Baldwin Sugar Museum on Maui. Housed in the shadow of the belching, factory chimneys, in the old manager’s house, it was small but perfectly formed. We learnt about the demi-God Maui and his harnessing of the sun, irrigation, the families who came to Hawaii as missionaries and stayed to make their fortunes, the immigrants who came from around the globe to work in the cane fields and how they created Hawaii’s cultural melting pot, and of course how sugar is made. After watching a very informative ten minute film, we inspected a fully operational, 3\4 inch to one foot scale model of a sugar cane processing plant. It had been built over a period of thirty years by Mr David Dargie, who when interned by the Japanese in WWII, managed to smuggle it into the prisoner of war camp. It’s a very fine model.
The museum was a joy. And I hope the first of many Auntie Mabel moments. The only problem came near the end of the tour. Dickon asked when we would be seeing the real factory. We explained that the giant rollers and rotating blades used to process the sugar cane weren’t terribly safe, so we wouldn’t. He wailed, until he realised that he could get a free sugar sample, which he proceeded to demolish, making himself rather sticky. He was followed by a small cloud of flies for the rest of the morning.