I fear I am letting the side down drastically. Caitlin’s favourite pastime is anything that can be described as ‘crafts’. Unfortunately, the only craft I am really familiar with is the cheese manufacturer.
|Caitlin colouring at Cardiff Bay|
When I was in school in the 70’s, benefiting (I use the term loosely) from a move towards equality for boys and girls in Arts and Crafts, I endured woodwork lessons and metalwork lessons. All I can remember is the smell of each workshop and the amusement on my parents face when I presented them with a piece of wood with a dent in the middle and a piece of metal with a bend in it. Both ashtrays for my pipe-smoking father.
I was unable to draw anything which wasn’t square or, on a good day, cubed. My pottery was always too dry and fell apart. We still have an evil, open mouthed clay gremlin I made, glazed in a haphazard manner in a strange purple. He lives on my parents windowsill by the front door to ward off cold callers.
Caitlin will sit and draw for hours on end. Card is cut into random shapes. Glue is applied to pom-poms and glittery pipe-cleaners. Posters, door plaques, beads and endless pictures of butterflies adorn the house. Ieuan is still in his angry artistic phase and has moved from doing violent scribbles with such vehemence that the paper shreds to marginally less angry pictures of Spiderman and Ironman who both wear the expression of someone who has spent 45 minutes on the phone to the Tax Office and has just been cut off.
It’s strange really because I used to spend hours telling stories to my niece Emily, now 20 and a budding film-maker. It’s almost a kind of performance anxiety. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of having lost my imagination which, as my comprehensive medical files will probably attest, is just not the case.
Caitlin will sigh and say “Mum, I WISH you’d do some crafts with me” and I shuffle along behind her to the big table and we sit whilst she takes charge and creates whilst I just observe.
This state of affairs is, of course, not helped by the army of ghostly mummy bloggers who hover constantly over my shoulder whispering “we’ve just built a fully working model of the Forth Road Bridge out of matchsticks and now we are going to reconstruct Big Ben and the House of Parliament out of sponge mix and a light buttercream icing”.
These women are all Cath Kidston-ed within an inch of their life and have houses so clean that Barry from Cillit Bang is offering them a speed rush on the kitchen table. I, on the other hand, would frighten Juan Sheet from Plenty and attract nothing more than a very stern glare from his grandmother.
Still, craft duffer I may be, but I show willing. I know where our local Hobbycraft is and I also know that hours of amusement can be had by covering your palms with PVA glue and peeling it off like alien skin. (This was how I spent most of my primary school craft sessions). I’m hoping this will be enough.