Actually, I had the most awesome time ever interpreting the Governor's house, since I had ample, delightful company, and was able to wander about, take breaks, and sometimes, just sit back and listen to someone else chat about the house without feeling guilty. I hardly knew what to do with myself, but it was fantastic. We also had a great time completely distracting the kids with the cup and ball toys, then sending the parents into deep despair by *ahem* mentioning that possibly they might be able to find toys just like them in the gift shop.
The bilbo catcher version of the toy was a big hit - that's the one I am reasonably good at. I managed to land the ball on the spike a number of times, once when someone was taking high-speed photos of me (I felt inordinately proud of being able to master a completely useless skill, I can tell you). The cup version was pinkleader 's specialty - despite saying "I never manage to get it", she demonstrated that she could, in fact, catch the ball almost every single time.
pinkleader and I were joined by stringmonkey and another lovely volunteer, Paula, on Saturday (though stringmonkey disappeared for a bit to procure and press the linen for the Governor's bed project she's organizing), and Lauren, one of the staff, on Sunday. I laid out a pretty good working display for the table, with pens, books, a map, and a sundial, as well as the toys and some small grooming accessories for people to see and explore, and it seemed pretty successful, and the kids were very talkative, which is always a good sign. It's great fun to show kids things like the sundial, and see them light up when they realize it actually works, omg.
One of the other fun things is trading stories of the stuff the tourists do. My favourite story of all time came from Plimoth - a couple came out from the village and asked "Are those the original Pilgrims?" - but we get some good ones at Jamestown, too. The one I heard this time came from one of the security people - he watched a woman drag her bag, obviously containing something heavy, through the fort, bit by bit, until she finally got disgusted, and pulled a cannonball out and left it there, right in front of him. Apparently, he said "Don't worry, ma'am, we'll put it back for you!".
A cannonball?! I know people steal things all the time (we keep a close watch on all the small bits and pieces we put on display) - they seem to feel that a stolen item is a much better souvenir than anything they can get in the gift shop - but a cannonball seems a bit excessive. Mind you, quite large things like brooms get lifted fairly frequently, and we have no idea how they manage to hide them. I remember putting out a bowl of apples years ago, and literally, every time I turned around, another apple was gone. I never saw anyone take them, but they all disappeared.
It would be funny, if it wasn't so sad. But I do love the cannonball story.
The small kids, I can sort of understand; the musket ball dice in particular seem very attractive, and I saw more than one child palm them thoughtfully as they stood up from the table, but their parents were alert, and every time, they made the kids put the dice back before I had to say anything. But adults stealing... *sigh*
Most of the visitors were just great, and we saw several people we knew - chargirlgenius and jljonsn were participating in the MTA competition, along with azpapillion and her sweetie. psalite and pirategirleee came by, doing the tourist thing, and thatpotteryguy was doing his selling thing.
All in all, a fine weekend. And if anyone asks, Bob totally did not teach the game of shin-kicking to a bunch of teenage girls. Not at all. And they totally didn't think it was awesome. Nuh-uh. Nope. *innocent*