Sunday, August 19, 2007

Crafty Camping with Chrestomanci

Leo and I had a fine time at camp, though I must say I ended the week rather more tired than I began. Woodcraft Folk camp is organised along quite communist lines, with everyone obliged to participate in the work of running the camp, through a system of ‘clans’. There’s no Gulag involved, but it’s in many ways quite the opposite of the self-pleasing life of the autonomously educated child. Leo had no trouble adjusting to this new reality, and turned up for all his duties with enthusiasm. He’s showing no inclination to increased helpfulness around the house now that he’s home, however!

In between shifts of cooking (for 100!), washing up, cleaning toilets, fetching wood etc, we did some fun things, including:

  • Tie dying and screen printing. After some initial difficulty getting to grips with the requirements of the screen printing process, Leo finally produced this lovely golden dalek.

    I had a go at this too, and was pleased with my two-tone Penrose tiled fabric.

  • Making salt dough and modelling with it. In about five inspired minutes, Leo sculpted this amazing pig slave head (as in Daleks in Manhattan). Everyone who saw this (including me) was quite stunned by it.

  • Running a stall at the pea fair, introducing people to Japanese Kumihimo braiding, which we first learned about at the Bridges maths and art conference last summer. A pea fair is a lovely event, entirely improvised on the spot, at which people offer each other games, activities and goods for sale, using a currency of dried peas. As well as our stall, there was a whack the rat type game, something involving sponges being thrown, face painting, beautiful decorated mirrors, salt dough creations and origami for sale.
  • A walk in some lovely woods near the campsite
  • Playing Doctor Who, sometimes with a friend, and sometimes happily alone. My improvised washing line was further improvised by Leo into a climbing frame for Dalek Sec hybrid

  • A bit of knitting. My Penrose blanket is nearly finished.
  • Singing songs by the fire, melting marshmallows, eating chocolate bananas cooked in the embers and other fireside activities.
  • Reading. I finished Fermat’s Last Theorem, and Leo and I both enjoyed Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones. This is the first book in the Chrestomanci series, published in the 1970s, of which I’m sure I read some as a child. We are now on the hunt for more of them.

I’m pleased to be home. I think we were both a bit tired by the end of the week, though Leo is keen to go on another weekend camp with his Woodcraft group, so he must have enjoyed it.

It’s quite strange here without Pearlie. She’s phoned a couple of times from her camp, and seems to be having a great time.


Nic said...

Sounds like a great experience, if not a recipe for a lifestyle all the time ;). Very impressed with all the craft efforts - dalek and pig slave look fab :)

emma said...

I adore the Chestomanci books.

THe 9 lives of Chistopher Chant is the obvious next one, and then The Magicians of Caprona (tyhink that's the title) and then The Pinhoe Egg (Pinhoe egg has Cat in again)

I met Diana Wynne Jones a few months ago - completely star struck. She's a lovely ordinary middle aged lady who is impatient of literariness and unhappy endings! (she said "why should I invest all that time writing and you invest all that time reading if it isn't going to come out right in the end?" or words to that effect)

ps my word verification starts lgb, which I thought you might appreciate :-)

HelenHaricot said...

thanks emma. i loved charmed life as a child so much tat after getting it from library, I saved up my pennies [and they were mostly pennies] and bought the book. i didn't know there were any more though. I have bought the dianna wynne jones books that were bundled at the book people for SB for later.

HelenHaricot said...

and that pig mask thing is fab - though the doctor who bits go woosh over head!

Dani said...

Thanks, all

How wonderful to have met her, Emma. Does it matter what order you read the Chrestomanci books in? I've reserved the Magicians of Caprona at the library, on the basis that it was the next one published, but we can have a look for the 9 Lives too if it's better to read that first. Exciting to hear that there was one published only last year, too.

Anonymous said...

magicians of caprona needs to come before pinhoe egg, just to introduce characters in the right order. Apart from that it doesn't matter much (though I can't bear to think of it being months before you read the 9 lives!!!! I love that one)

Like helenharicot, I had charmed life and adored it as a child. My copy finally fell apart completely in the last year, so I had to buy a new one (they've changed the cover design harumph) and I only discovered the other books about 5 years ago.

Yeah, I was pretty psyched to meet her, I have to say. We met at a function where there was the opportunity to sit down with her and have a chat with a cup of tea and a biscuit, so I had her all to myself. It reminded me of those Puffin Club events of my childhood where one got to meet Shirley Hughes and people. *misty eyes*


Beth said...

Don't forget Witch Week -- that has Chrestomanci coming into it rather as he does in The Magicians of Caprona. Also, four short stories in Mixed magics. Oh! And Conrad's Fate, that's another one. The Pinhoe Egg is so good. They are all favorites around here.

Diana Wynne Jones has written lots of books -- I love pretty much all of them!

Wobblymoo said...

Oh wow, it all looks fabulous, I wish I was crafty