Yesterday I was back on the allotment as Betty Green. Over the past two weeks the children had a received a postcard from Betty explaining that she was feeling ill and couldn’t get out to tend to her flowers and vegetables. They had written back to Betty telling her that they would look after them for her and then had made carrots and sweet corn etc out for tissue paper (and clay potatoes) which they put on her plot to surprise her.
Betty returned and was delighted. She then found a letter from Isabella saying that Frank was returning from Australia and she needed help to organise the party. They prepared menus (a word most hadn’t come across before) which consisted of a soup (carrot was the favourite although some didn’t really quite understand soup and wanted strawberry and chocolate soup!) a pudding and a drink or main course.
After physically acting out the preparation: washing, chopping, stirring etc of 3 dishes and singing a welcome home song we finished by deciding what sort of present we should give Frank for his shed. many of them were able to refer back to the original show and suggest things that Frank liked or needed – e.g. new glasses, eggs, a rake, a spade, some seeds, a new cap, a new cup or teapot, some biscuits which they drew on a ’shed’ shape and hung on my tree – mirroring the first session.
We did have a few random presents including a motorbike, a cat, a football and a Christmas tree but all were offered with solemnity for decoration of my tree.
“Betty’ has been a great hit. At lunchtime I had a moment of understanding for the Beatles as I crossed the playground on my way back from the staffroom and heard the screams and the masses of little people shrieking “Hello Betteeeeey” and perhaps my favourite quote is when after a couple of children at the end of the day had established that I too was going home one of them ran back to me and shouted “I’ll be seeing you Betty Green!” before disappearing again.