19 MAY 2022
Britten Court—in person
Each week, we send an Activity Pack, together with the children’s work, to the adults at Britten Court.
In this way, the two groups can respond to one another’s work and get to know a little bit about each other.
Saying hello in person
This week, however, was different and Dean and I were able to visit in person.
It was lovely to be back at Britten Court with Julie and her team and to see residents we’ve met before, and new participants, all ready and eager to take part in the activity.
What we know already
Through the power of postcards and pigeon post, we already know a lot of jokes from Martin, a fair amount about football and some wonderful snippets of news about pets, hobbies and favourite ice-cream flavours.
What we need to know
Soon, the children will be visiting Suffolk Archives, to explore some of the documents for themselves.
They’ll be finding out a bit about how things have changed, and why it’s important to conserve old papers, maps and photographs.
We wanted to know from the adults what they thought was important to keep.
An imaginary scrapbook
When we asked them for some ideas of what the children might look for, the conversation rapidly blossomed into an entire scrapbook, with individuals painting vivid pictures of what they would like included.
From photographs of relatives in their service uniform to timetables, shopping lists and sporting programmes, you could sense the pride, joy and love they felt for each item.
On the facing page is that imaginary scrapbook, compiled by residents and staff at Britten Court and full of tender, loving memories.
An Imaginary Scrapbook – the poem
Pat puts in a picture of Toby, her well-behaved and much-loved Labrador.
Stan adds the blue of his uniform, the roar of the aircraft,
and the weight of the rifle on his shoulder,
as he patrols the perimeter fence.
Maureen puts in her grandad’s riding crop and spurs from WWI;
they put them up on the wall, when he came to live with them.
Audrey chooses a photo of her grandson, his face covered with chocolate.
Martin makes bus routes sound like poetry; he pastes in a timetable and the advice he was given;
‘You have to slow down to get there on time’.
Marlene remembers the errands she ran
(and the walk from Pakefield to Kessingland)
and pops in a shopping list for
two bags of sugar and some butter.
‘My dad was in the RAF, he did good things,’
says Chris and in goes a photo of him,
complete with his pilot’s cap.
Rodney wants a football programme, preferably from the
Bobby Robson testimonial match,
and that takes Julie back to her days at Carrow Road,
sitting in the stands in her special black top.
Abbie wants her teddy in there,
the one called cat that Dad gave her on the day she was born.
And Rachael slips in Lloyd, the teddy from the pharmacy;
he’s only got one arm now and he’s been with her all her life.
Getting to know you
We asked the children to suggest other ways in which we might communicate with the residents.
The list, as you can see from the shiny whiteboard, was long and included suggestions such as sand writing and Morse code; I’m not entirely sure how bananas got in there.
Dean led the group in a writing activity, in which the type of communication is dictated by the type of message to be delivered.
“I sent you this map, so you can find the buried tank.”
“I sent you this wish to tell you I love my cat.”
“I sent you ‘Harry Potter’ because this proves that I am good at picking gifts.”
Inspired by the residents’ imaginary scrapbook, we were keen to see what the children would produce.
Into their scrapbook they had to paste:
● a photograph
● an object
● a sound
● something they’d had for a long time
● something that made them smile.
And so they created scrapbooks with the sounds of dogs panting in happiness, cats meowing, family photographs, precious jewellery, a trip to Disneyland and …
“A piece of paper which is cut into a speech bubble.”
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