This week my living room has looked rather like a reconstruction of a Blue Peter studio. It’s been school history project time and the lounge floor has been covered in paints, moulding clay, plant pots, bits of plastic and many and varied types of glue. Valerie Singleton would have felt right at home here (and doesn’t that immediately age me!)
Molly had come home and told me that our mission (ours, not hers) was to build a model of a Motte and Bailey castle. I had never heard of Motte and Bailey - the name itself conjured up images of a TV detective duo or a dodgy firm of solicitors. However, for those others of you previously unaware, Motte and Bailey castles were introduced in the 11th century when the Normans invaded, and Molly and her classmates had been tasked with making a model of one of these, using any materials they liked.
As I’ve mentioned before I’m not really an arty, crafty type of person, but I knew I had to throw myself into the project to support Molly in her artistic and historic endeavours. And so we scoured the web, found pictures and started to work out how we could make the Agnew Motte and Bailey. Apparently papier mache was going to be a favourite with many classmates, but I’m afraid the thought that the flat would be covered in newspaper and glue rather terrified me (and my OCD) so I decided we would work with slightly less messy materials.
After our initial planning meeting, I figured, rather optimistically, that I could buy all the component parts in the pound shop. Sadly I was wrong. (By the way, why is it impossible to go into the pound shop without buying several things which were completely unplanned? This particular trip’s unnecessary haul included a comb, some slug pellets and a rather super rubber spatula.)
Anyhow, managing to spend over a tenner in there and still not having all that we needed, we then had to bite the bullet and venture to that mecca of all things creative - Hobbycraft. And that was when I realised why I’m not an arty crafty type of person. Because it all costs a fortune! I’m not going to divulge my total spend but suffice to say I had to numb the pain of the purchases by indulging in a large glass of my good friend Pinot Grigio.
So this week we have spent every evening being creative. Molly was definitely the architect of the build, and I was chief cutter-outer and gluer. And I have to say when Molly took the final article into school today we were both rather proud. The model might not have been of the quality that Messrs Noakes and Purvis would have created -for example the name of a well known cereal brand can be seen through the paint in certain areas of the ‘wooden’ palisade; the roofs made of cupcake cases are a little flimsy and the moulding clay sheep and cows look somewhat inbred and mutant – but we gave it our best shot.
Perhaps more importantly, we’ve both really enjoyed ourselves being a bit crafty and my stress levels have happily reduced now all the materials have been tidied away. But maybe we’ll dig them out again sometime soon and make something else. Anyone know how to build a scale model of the Great Wall of China?
NOTE TO SELF: As that clever man Albert Einstein said ‘Creativity is contagious, pass it on.’