Friday, April 01, 2005

Have you seen the Gowk?

Most people when it comes to borrowing stuff from their neighbours limit it to garden tools, screwdrivers and the occasional bowl of sugar! We borrow their kids! Seriously, for those of us that don't have kids of our own, limits are thrust upon us of what we can or cannot do! Earlier on this week I noticed an event advertised by the Forestry Commission - a storytelling walk in one of the local forests. I love stories and I love forests. I love the walking part of it as long as it is slow enough and not too steep. The poster specified that children were to be accompanied by adults. It didn't say that adults had to be accompanied by children, but I rather thought that was a given.

We have a number of friends who lend us their children. One set were visiting Granny, so were unavailable. Another set were recovering from heavy colds and probably better off under their duvet covers watching videos. This left us with the twins Emily and Sarah. I am so glad that their parents do not dress them alike, but even so you have to keep reciting the mantra "Emily is wearing the pink cardigan!"

I knew that the storytelling walk was just my thing, but Sarah and Emily were not so easy to convince. Of course we all know the animals are puppets and don't really talk but I would rather not be told that every time we encounter one! I want to imagine and dream and they insist on being realistic and practical!

It was good fun rooting around under fallen tree trunks, rocks and stones for worms and beetles to pretend to feed a toy badger to get him to tell us a story! Making boats out of leaves and twigs proved a little more difficult. These were floated down the stream to persuade a salmon to tell his tale. The best bit was pretending to be bats and carefully listen to the sounds around us and draw pictures. Just how do you draw wind?

The last clue to finding the gowk involved finding a tree of knowledge. According to the butterfly we were to look at the tree and we would see the gowk. It turned out that the forest rangers had strung hundreds of mirrors from the branches. I saw it coming but Sarah and Emily had come up with the idea that the gowk was made up of bits from each of the animals we had met in the forest! Their idea was much nicer and looking in the mirror hanging from the tree at my face reflected back, I felt I had been robbed of a proper ending!

Once back in the car, my two borrowed companions who had been so quietly detached for most of the afternoon erupted into tumbling commentary about every story and every animal.

There are times when I really seriously miss not having children!

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