I am not a geek but I loved Robots Live!

When I was wee and it was raining, mum would pack us off to the museum. And if you’re from Edinburgh, you’ll know that meant the National Museum of Scotland, better known as Chamber Street Museum. With no disrespect to the present day museum people, we’d go under sufferance, because apart from  the fishponds  – dear Museum of Scotland people, you will never be allowed to forget taking away those fishponds ;o) – and the stuffed animals, and a skeleton of a whale hanging in what is now the Animal World, the museum was a boring place for kids, especially this kid.  If we so much as squeaked,  someone would “shhhhhh!” at you in a very loud voice (and don’t even think about walking fast, never mind running). Actually touching an exhibit would have probably got you a prison sentence.  That was, of course in the olden days (hem!). Yesterday, it was raining and  I went to The National Museum of Flight in East Fortune for the Robots Live event. I would have gone had it been sunny. Hanger 4, which houses Concorde,
was where everything was happening. Under it’s masive wings kids and grown-ups were making, touching, squealing, running, laughing, welding, soldering, crying (that was some of the very wee ones, T Rex was very good!), and generally having a great time mucking about with remote controls and robots. There was a T.Rex, a Dalek, a ginger robot(!), a robot with a gun (he got all the kids with the water!), and lots of geeky robotics stuff for the brainiac people to do with monitoring satellites and stars in space and saving energy and heaps more.  Oops, and nearly forgot, there was a real live Robot Wars competition. If you don’t know Robot Wars (and I have a geeky son and husband and so am very familiar with Robot Wars!), it is  TV game show, think heavy rock music meets Who Wants to be a Millionaire meets the WWF with axes (there’s a video clip at the bottom of this page, along with a clip of  the Tyrannosaurus Rex!).

Now you may be wondering what a writer such as myself, more of an arty sort of person, and someone who got an “e” in physics and a self confessed technophobe, was doing anywhere so electronic and downright geeky? Well,  I am reading this book called The Vein of Gold (A Journey to Your Creative Heart) by Julia Cameron. She says  (at least this is what I think she is saying) that the best way for us writer types to widen our creative horizons is to take a break from our normal writing stuff and experience other things. That’s what I was doing, inspiring the creative process. And did it work? Oh, yes, absolutely, and it was a great day out too 🙂 So a big thanks to The National Museums of Scotland and Clicket Edinburgh for making it happen:)

I’d love to hear from you, if you have any museum experiences from the past or present! And to thank you for leaving a comment, I’ll put your name in a hat and at the end of this month, one lucky winner when get a free copy of my book The Blue Suitcase. 


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2 Responses to I am not a geek but I loved Robots Live!

  1. Adrienne Allan says:

    Hi Marianne. This isn’t a museum story, I just wanted to say God, you’re brave getting that close to a dalek – THIS kid is terrified of them, and it could only have been worse if it was accompanied by the Cybermen!! One time when I was in London visiting Jacq and we were out shopping, we came across a dalek which was making a “personal appearance” at HMV. As you found out, these things are bloody huge and it was like I had reverted to childhood or something cos I had to cross the road to get away from it, I was so scared!

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Adrienne – ha ha! I know exactly what you mean. When I saw that Dalek I just about had a heart attack and it took a little persuading to get me up close and friendly. Never in a million years did I think I’d ever hug a Dalek! ha ha! It’s incredible how an impression endures like that. And also incredible how the children at the event were not in the least bit scared of it. It was a really interesting day, and made me think of all sorts of things I’d not thought about for years – like being scared of Daleks (and Cybermen, absolutely, the next most scary thing after a Dalek), and the old museum as it was and what museums are now, and robotics and artificial intelligence, which is all about designing robots which can think for themselves …brave new world, eh?! Thanks for dropping by!

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