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‘Chicken Runner’ Challenge




10.04.20 – Eileen Priestley

When taking food to our ‘self isolating’ houses, it feels really unusual to see how quiet the roads are. When I was young this used to be called ‘Sunday’. Then families didn’t often go out, shopping was unheard of on Sundays because there were no shops open. Everyone that I knew had Sunday dinners, which was always some kind of meat, roast potatoes, two veg and Yorkshire puddings. Our Mums used to keep the fat from the meat to make dripping, which was lovely to eat on bread with lots of salt. It was probably one of the worst things you could ever eat.

When the weather was poor, so you couldn’t play outside, we used to make games to keep us occupied. One of our favourite things we used to like to make were ‘runners’. My two brothers and I would get one of Mum’s used cotton bobbins, which were at the time always made of wood. You would put in a tack at one side of the bobbin, get a small rubber band, thread it through the bobbin and at the other end put a hair pin across the hole threading through the rubber band. You would then wind the hair pin round so the rubber band gets tighter and tighter, put the bobbin down and it runs across the floor. My brothers and I would spend many a time having races across the living room floor with the bobbins.

Moving on many years later as our children became adults, Christmas day started to become a little too quiet. We would have our Christmas dinner and then sit down to an afternoon of the specials on T.V. As a group we decided we needed to spice up Christmas. So for a number of years now we have been setting up ‘Christmas Challenges’. There have been the most weird and wonderful challenges ever.

Here’s just a few:- Make a flying object – The winner is the one that stays in the air the longest. Darrell won that one with an aeroplane attached to a piece of string. The string went all the way around the room with the plane looking as if it was flying around. Make an instrument – The one who could play ‘Jingle Bells’ on their instrument was the winner. My brother won that one – with a set of bagpipes he made from some garden canes and leather for the bag.

Gone now are the sleepy afternoons watching T.V. In are the noisy, laughing and fun afternoons playing with each other’s games, instruments and toys, that we have made. Here we are ten years later still doing the challenges and still having lots of fun, with our grand children joining in.

So while we are all in lock down and wondering what to do, I’m going to set all our students a challenge. The challenge is to make a ‘chicken runner’. Keep your chicken runner safe and when we are allowed out again and are back at the Music Academy we can all take our ‘chicken runners’ in and have a race. This challenge is especially hard because bobbins now are made of plastic!