This morning I set off along the single track road from my little stone built home in warm sunshine. My task today is to help paint the school shed in a small (but vital) island primary school. The head teacher had already talked with me about what she would like the shed to look like, using as decoration, all the beach litter the children had collected since last summer. Each time there is a high tide or a high wind, the beaches are covered with flotsam and jetsam, some of it intriguing, some disgusting. Obviously the disgusting bits are appropriately disposed of, but the colourful bits of plastic and rope and twine, shells and bones, and all those things careless folk toss overboard, all are gathered, cleaned and stored for the Grand Shed Occasion.
Which is now. Well, the beginning of it is now. It may take some time to assemble, not least because little children have attention spans extremely short but sweet and by the way, not one of them can stand still without fidgeting.
We walked them around the brown slatted shed, and asked them how they would like to see the end result. We fed them the odd line as they began heading off into Disneyworld, just to reel them in a bit, but not too much. We explained the deck chair stripe idea and the starburst of plastic milk bottle tops on one side; the butterflies and daisies on one end, to compliment the big tubs of wild flowers already established to encourage butterflies. We said that once the stripes were finished, they could play with spatter paint, flicking brush loads (well, not LOADS) against the wall. The boys arms were already flexing and they did have to question whether we really meant it. Their mouths formed a WOW.
Throwing paint at the wall…..like THIS????
Can I use a gun? asked one boy.
Er……I think brushes this time, we told him and there was a chorused ‘Awwwww’ with that sweep up at the tail of it, as if we just might say…….Ok then, why not?
We plan a sort of mural on the side nearest the road, to impress the tourists. Deck chairs, they thought. We could stick one on the wall! chirruped one girl.
Not with PVA, I said, sorry, but you can paint one on. I could hear my voice go all dinky winky but she was no fool, and lost interest immediately. She decided, instead, to paint a square rainbow.
A pair of swallows chattered at me as I worked. Birds on the wire with plans for nest building arrested. Sorry I said, but I’ll be gone soon and there’s plenty of daylight left. A pair of lapwings serenaded me from the seaward field, and sparrows dived in and out from the eaves; everyone so very busy.
It’s good to be busy, among little fidgets, in the sunshine with a salt wind blowing my heart around.
Oh, and a square rainbow about to appear.