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05.06.20 – Jessica Laughton
I don’t know about you, but during lock down we have been finding all sorts of projects to keep us busy in our household. We’ve given old furniture a new lease of life by painting and up-cycling it and rearranged our garden to accommodate space for growing vegetables (we are now starting to enjoy the fruits of our labour). But perhaps the most fun of all projects we have had together was making a scarecrow called Charlie.
The idea came to me not long after lock down began. We’ve been exceptionally lucky with the weather during the past weeks as we’ve been able to spend much of this time outside in the garden and I’ve found myself reminiscing on past summers including family holidays to France.
I remember whilst holidaying in France one particular Summer, we stayed in a beautiful old town and decided to venture off and explore the near by surroundings to the accommodation with an afternoon walk. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Surrounding the little town was mostly farmland and open fields and I remember walking down an old country road passing the odd house. Each house was unique with a beautiful garden of it’s own. One house must have belonged to an artist as they had decided to paint the most amazing life sized picture of an old car parked in the garage on the side of their outdoor building. Another house had a huge pond (a lake almost, as it had its own rowing boat) and sat at the lake was a scarecrow fishing. I don’t know why, but this memory of the holiday in particular has always stayed with me even though it happened so many years ago. Perhaps, it was because it was the first time I had ever seen something like this, or I found the story of the scarecrow falling asleep whilst fishing a little amusing. Or maybe, it was because I could imagine the fun the homeowners must have had thinking up the idea and making the scarecrow.
Now, my mum (Eileen) happens to be one of the most creative people I know and very often I look to her for inspiration. I was thrilled when she suggested making our own scarecrow once we got back home. I knew with Mum’s help the scarecrow would be amazing and we’d have fun but I had no idea just how much fun we would have and that the fun would continue long afterwards.
We decided to boldly sit Charlie (our scarecrow) on a bench in the front garden. The next day people passed the house, one or two had a quizzical look, but most people laughed and stopped to look more closely. Enthused by their response we would occasionally wait until the evenings and change Charlie’s pose. Some day’s he laid on the bench asleep and other days he read the paper. Word must of travelled because before long people were bringing their families to see Charlie. It wasn’t long after this that the village decided to hold their first scarecrow festival.
It was whilst reminiscing about these times in lock down I decided I wanted us to have fun and laugh together as a family. We decided to make Charlie again. The children and my husband all got involved, we made everything from scratch (including the hat) and ran round frantically using whatever we had to hand to make the scarecrow. Once Charlie was finished we sat him at the front of the house and awaited the response. It became infectious and the neighbours loved it, getting on board and making their own scarecrows the next day. It has been wonderful seeing people laughing and enjoying making their own scarecrows.
Occasionally, Charlie changes position, he sleeps, plays the guitar and proudly holds a flag supporting the NHS on Thursdays. Today though, Charlie is climbing some ladders painting the front of our house. I’m not sure what he will be doing next, but I know we will have fun thinking it up.