Thursday 12 July 2012

Crafty Tales from the Wilderness

 You may not know that Linda, the creative half of Crimson Cloud, lives in South Africa, in an area very appropriately called "Wilderness".

Here is the first of a new monthly newsletter, written by Linda,  "Crafty Tales from the Wilderness", which I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did!

Crafty Tales from the Wilderness.
At the weekend my "crocodile dundee" South African husband announced that his sister in law's sister's daughter, husband and daughter were on their way from Cape Town to stay with us for the weekend! We live in the Wilderness, South Africa so guests are rare and always welcome - a time to catch up with what is going on outside in the real world! 
They arrived and were a delightful couple with the most beautiful child I have ever seen. Waist length blond curly hair, dark brown eyes, bare foot, tanned and without a shy gene in her body. I introduced her to my family of teddy bears and we were soon new best friends.
South African Princess

Her parents were going to referee a Duathlon race the following day.  Marcus, (Dundee)  was telling this four year old about the wonders of Auntie’s craft room and its contents. In less than a nano-second this complete stranger of 4 years old decided that she was not going to the race and wanted to stay with her new auntie and friend.

In spite of having raised 4 children myself, I am not what you might have called a conventional mother! But I love children, and the new niece-in-law, as we decided she was  (or at least that was as far as we could calculate from the family tree), assured me that their little princess must have picked up on that fact and has never stayed with anyone so willingly or so soon before! I wonder what else she may be picking up on??

She appeared in my very sleepy bedroom at 6.30 the next morning and declared I must "get up, clean my teeth and get dressed OK!"   Soon over to the craft room we go - which is fine as I have just arrived back from the UK and am weeks behind with work. In my naivety I sort her some paper, stamps, ink pads and gluey, glittery stuff and sit down at my desk - planning a productive morning of work.  After at least, now let me think.... 2 minutes I realised this working thing was not going to happen as I seemed to be attached by a ‘bungee’ to the child on other side of the craft room. 

The adult in me said “embrace the moment, it isn’t often you get to spend time with an innocent 4 year old and teach her stuff”. This lasted a further few minutes as now we are both bored as she will not stick stuff where it is supposed to go or round the right way and I am having a major OCD moment.

So - Plan B! “Let’s take the basket and go for a walk in the woodland to look for pine cones, mushrooms, fairies and the Gruffalo” says Princess. CBeebies has a lot to answer for.

We’re off - all is going beautifully the sun is shining, my three dogs are excited (if a little tired of Fairy Princess’s new power of calling them back from their explorations every 30 seconds for nothing. They look at me in total confusion and decide to ignore both of us from then on.)

We found lots of pine cones which we of course stamped on first (to make sure there were no scorpions underneath), pixie hats (gum tree seeds but really look like pixie hats), mushrooms and a site where the fairies must have been having a party as there were lots of pixie hats in a clearing where the sun was shining through the dappled leaves.

"Let’s dance" says the Fairy Princess "as it is so lovely and bright we can join the party, we just cannot see the other fairies".  As she is dancing and twirling her lovely long blond hair I spot the largest Puff Adder I have ever seen not 12 inches in front of her.

STOP!! I scream and quickly pick her up and throw her over my shoulder, backing up and going around the rear end of the snake. Now my dangling princess can see the snake behind her and is hysterical - as I suppose any normal child would be. 

Having traumatised this poor child I am now trying to persuade her it is safe to get down but no, she is convinced every hole in the ground has a snake in it and I must run through the woods to save us! Now I do a little Yoga most mornings but nothing to prepare me for the mad Indiana Jones rush I have to take through the bush to stop this poor child from screaming. Finally we reach Mr Dundee’s workshop from which he has emerges to see what all the noise was about that has disturbed his quiet morning’s work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We told our story and he said “don’t worry, I will go and get rid of him”. How could he? Now I have to take Princess back to the work shop and explain how “of course we are all God’s creatures but some of us are easier to live with than others and would you rather the snake killed the dogs”. Does that sound convincing? No, she didn’t think so either.

We spent the rest of the day online researching Puff Adders as this is now her major interest. What happened to the fairies and the pixies?  After a couple of screaming fits during the course of the afternoon because I was ‘out of sight’ despite professing she was “no longer afraid of snakes”.

Finally her parents arrived back home. I plied them with glasses of wine and dinner whilst princess told them of her adventures.

Dinner was wonderful, the company great and I hope they forgive me for putting their child into therapy!
Is this why no one asks me to baby sit????????

Linda xxx
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