Thursday, 21 October 2010

Leading Americans Up Mr McGregor's Garden Path

"Say," said the large tourist as he blocked my way on the narrow pavement in Bowness-on-Windermere. The unmistakably twang placed him as being an inhabitant of America's Deep South. His wife's Texan drawl confirmed it.

"Is this the way to the Potter exhibition?"

"Yep," she continued, turning to her husband, "I am so looking forward to this Harry Potter exhibition."

As you will all know the Lake District is the home of Beatrix Potter, not Harry Potter. The exhibition I directed them to was 'The World of Beatrix Potter'. I thought ignorance was bliss and therefore left them to figure it out for themselves.

I still feel a little guilty as I imagine their horror when they found no Dumbledore, Hagrid, Voldemort or any Weasleys; only Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Mrs Tiggywinkle.

Even worse was the thought of them struggling to get past the crowds of Japanese tourists, who monopolised the stuffed exhibits by insisting that they stopped and posed for photographs at every one.

That's mass tourism for you.

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