Tuesday 3rd August 1993

Today we went to the play scheme up at the farm.  I hung around with Rosa today.  I like Rosa.  I did clay first I made a snake.  Then I did five wholemeal bread buns with Andrea in the house.  I had dinner with Rosa.  Then in the afternoon I made biscuits.  At quarter to three we tidied up and play parachutes in the front garden.  We rolled the parachute up so much then we bumped people on it.  Then Sarah gave us all a biscuit then we went home.  It was fun at Lower Shaw Farm. We’re going to the farm tomorrow.  I want to do juggling and paint my snake tomorrow.

I kept the clay snake for years but eventually it started to crumble, the tail snapped off and it ended up in the bin.  It’s one of the few things I’ve actually thrown away as I take after my Mum in the hoarding stakes.  I only recently threw away a pot which contained teeth I had removed when I was 12 but I still have the wisdom tooth I had removed early this year! 

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I’m not obsessed with teeth I hasten to add, I just like keeping hold of things.  I have nearly every birthday card I’ve ever been given, a shoebox full of bookmarks which I’ve been collecting since I was six, several old mobile phones and at least 50 balls of yarn.  I have eclectic taste to say the least.

I’m not in touch with Rosa but I know that she is now a successful entrepreneur running her own business Rosa Bloom ‘a travelling boutique which tours the UK festival circuit each summer, with its quirky collection of circus, burlesque, theatrical, vintage-inspired costumes, clothing, and accessories!  This online shop brings you a little taster of the finest treats from the Bloom collections. Everything contained within is exclusively designed by Rosa Bloom, and made by tailors and artisans in Bali, Indonesia, where Rosa Bloom works one-on-one with the producers, ensuring fairly-traded goods, made to a high level of detailed workmanship.’  http://www.rosabloom.bigcartel.com/

She channelled her eccentricities into a business, I’m just headed for crazy cat lady status at some point!

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Monday 2nd August 1993

Today it was my dads birthday.  We got up and gave him our presents.  Then we rang the play scheme people.  And now we’re going to the farm on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We went to Town Gardens it was fun.  We saw an avairy it was lovely.

I’ve never been keen on early mornings so it shows how much I love my Dad that I got up at 7.25am during the holidays.  Although how reliable that is I don’t know as I couldn’t really tell the time until I was at secondary school.  I also had trouble with my shoelaces.  What I lacked in practical skills I made up for with a creative flair.  My Mum says I’m special.

Lower Shaw Farm in West Swindon played an important role in our childhood.  Nina went to kindergarten there, Adam used to play on the rope swing in the barn and we all went to the summer play scheme when we could afford it.  The Farm website notes: ‘Once home to seventy black and white cows, the farm is now a 3-acre oasis in an area of suburban development. It is run as a co-operative by residents Andrea, Matt, and a phenomenal team of helpers from near and far. Its outbuildings have been converted to meeting rooms, dormitories, and workshops. With its large vegetable, herb, and flower gardens, its shrubs and trees, its puddles and ponds, hens and ducks, black and white sheep, friendly pigs, and unspoilt areas for play and exploration, the farm has developed an atmosphere and character of its own. Its outer ramshackle appearance masks an inner order and warmth. It’s sort of wild, welcoming, and very nice!’

It really is very beautiful and still has children’s activity days along with cooking courses, yoga, crafts and Festival of Literature events, do visit if you can!

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Sunday 1st August 1993

Today we did nothing much. Me, Nina and Adam played a game with the dolls.  We pretended to live in Miami, and we all put our swimming cossies on.  Then Nina went out with Claire and Emma.  Adam went out with Damon.  I was left on my own to watch EastEnders.  During EastEnders I had the idea of making a thertre.  I found a box and sorted out some card.  I got a book to write the plays in, and then Nina, Claire and Emma came in the back garden.  I went out and Adam tied me to the swing.  I came in for a bath.  Then after the story we wrapped my dads presents.

I think I may have had too high expectations for the summer holiday as I did a lot of complaining about the lack of anything to do.  My imagination obviously knew no bounds though – I’ve never been to Miami and I can’t swim but in my fantasy world all things were possible!  However, my favourite bit of this diary entry has to be the illustration of the swing and ropes I was tied up with.  Adam was briefly in the Boy’s Brigade but his knot skills can’t have been up to much as I evidently escaped without any help as my Mum doesn’t remember this.

Ever one for a bit of amateur dramatics I mentioned ‘I was left on my own’ and then proceeded to make a theatre although I’m not entirely sure what I achieved.  It can’t have been a full size replica of Walford, or even Albert Square, as it was only a crisp box and some bits of cardboard.  Blue Peter had a lot to answer for making it look so easy but I don’t think you could build a whole set from some loo rolls and sticky-back plastic.

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Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence of what I actually created but it probably looked a lot like the photo above.  Probably.

Saturday 31st July 1993

Today we did nothing much.  We played Battle Ships in the afternoon.  We called ours Space Ships.  Me and Adam won because Adam cheated twice and I cheated six times.  Me and Adam had ten strikes each.  I drew 15 planets Nina drew 9.

I’m sure my parents hoped that as the eldest I would set my siblings a good example in life.  Instead I taught them how to cheat and took advantage of the fact that Nina is four and half years younger than me and screwed her over!  I don’t remember making this game but I have always been a fan of board games and winding my sister up, although possibly not in that order.  Poor Nina has been very long-suffering and it’s a surprise she still talks to me.  

Mum used to help Nina when we played Scrabble so she stood a fighting chance but  Monopoly frequently ended in a paddy.  I used to hide money under the board or in my lap so Nina would think she was winning, or at least not losing, and then I’d suddenly produce hundreds of pounds and buy the properties she needed.   Then when she realised she’d just pack it all up mid-game and that was the end of that!

Another game that used to annoy her was Frustration which she pronounced Frusteration and the whole injustice of the game made her cry on occasion.  The whole principle of the game was that if you landed on another player’s piece you could make them return to the beginning.  I’m sure she thought I was just being unnecessarily mean!  I certainly didn’t look like the evil/demented child on the front of the box though!

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