The two oldest of my Welsh Boys arrived in my bedroom impossibly early.
"We've brought all the characters," Sam informed me earnestly, "plus the string but we don't know
where the scissors are."
"We thought," added James, his co-conspirator, "that you could do the cutting..."
They spread a number of toys out on the bed where
I was still reposing, trying to drag myself out of my dreams and into the real world. Or, rather, a fictional version of the real world. I didn't have my specs on but I could immediately recognise Noddy, Big Ears, PC Plod, Nanna doll, Grandad doll, all four
of the Tweenies plus Doodles the dog. Except that because both boys have far outgrown the charms of Noddy and the Tweenies, the characters ( or "these guys" as Sam liked to call them) were each about to be given a brand new persona.
In fact, only the grandparent dolls and PC Plod would retain anything approaching their former selves in the new stage production about to begin its rehearsals. Big Ears won the part of the Burglar, possibly, but not necessarily, on
account of his big ears. The Tweenies were to be prime suspects. Noddy's role was undefined for the time being. Doodles had the starring role as the Police Dog.
Oh yes, the string - I knew you would be wondering
about that. The idea was that each of "these guys" would have string attached to their heads and arms to turn them into proper puppets. We had tried out the string principle the previous evening when the boys' father confessed that he found it a trifle disturbing
that we appeared to be stringing up - in fact, hanging - several of the best-loved characters in children's literature. I conceded that he had a point but once the Welsh Boys' creative instincts have been released, there is no reigning them in.
It was possibly my fault that the Creative Directors turned up at my bedside so very early in the morning. At bedtime the previous night when Sam complained that he couldn't get to sleep (it had been a most exciting
day), I had suggested that pleasant thoughts putting together ideas for the Big Production might do the trick. He was up with the larks, full of ideas.
Being mercurial by nature, Young Sam soon bored of stringing
up our characters and told his brother and me that he was going to take himself off to what he called the "Script Writing Room" to flesh out the characters and make a start on the script. The Script Writing Room, it transpired, was the boys' bedroom. James
and I soldiered on with the stringing until both boys decided it was time for breakfast. As One Who Is Always Thinking About Her Stomach, I wasn't arguing.
While the Creative Team was demolishing its Weetabix,
I wolfed down my own cereal and announced that I would just have a quick shower and get dressed. I have found, when looking after Small Fry, that one has to be prepared to grab opportunities for necessary ablutions whenever they arise.
By the time I returned to the scene (if you will excuse the pun) the boys were engaged in playing "What Rubbish!" with their mother and the Duracell Bunny. "We've been distracted!" Sam explained, apologetically. "What Rubbish!" is
the exact opposite of, for example, "My Dog Has Fleas" in that it is what might be called a "worthy" game. If you play it properly ( and regular readers know that I always play games properly) then you can learn all about recycling and what items can be recycled
and what cannot. "My Dog Has Fleas", on the other hand, teaches you that if you wish to rid your dog of nasty ectoparasites, all you need to do is to keep turning its tail clockwise till all the nasty biting ones jump off. I suggest you don't try this at home.
Unfortunately by the time the boys had finished their recycling, washed and dressed, helped their Dad track down all their possessions, and raced about the back garden to let off steam before the long journey home, there
was no time to present "The Mystery of the Stolen Eggs". Especially as it ran to two Acts, with an Interval during which (according to Front of House aka James) we needed to provide refreshments which we hadn't had time to prepare.
I have promised I will bring the guys with me when we head down to Wales for James's birthday. I have packed Noddy, Big Ears, PC Plod and Co back in the toy box in the garage. To save time I have left them all strung up.
It is perfectly possible that by the next time I see them, the boys will have come up with a Grand Plan for another Puppet Play, with new characters and a fresh plot. I will be expected to support in the usual fashion.
That is, of course, fine by me. My job, as I see it, is not to dictate or direct, simply to do as I am instructed.
No strings attached.