Friday 2 January 2015

Preloved : the value of imagination

This is rather a long post. However, if you enjoy hearing of recycling at its best, wonderful creativity and the gifts of love, please take the time to read the story of Fairfax and Olaf, the wooden cats.

We moved house a few weeks ago (my husband, an Anglican parish priest, took up a post in a new benefice). Our new house is smaller than the previous one - which isn't to say it's small, just that the previous one was very large! As a result, a great deal of the inevitable decluttering took place, both before and after the move. Yes, professional organisers do need to take a dose of their own medicine sometimes.

Many items went to charity shops, of course, and made far more money for the charities than I would have made, which pleased me very much. However, a few items were rather special, and I wanted them to have the chance to go to some known 'good home'; so I posted a few photographs on Facebook, offering my friends to chance to claim anything that took their fancy.

One of these was a pair of wooden cats. I have no recollection of where they came from, but I was always rather fond of them; they sat on a high shelf in our living room for many years. The new house simply had nowhere appropriate for them to live, and it was time for them to move on.

I was delighted when they were claimed by a friend as a special gift for her young stepsons - one of whom had coveted her existing wooden cats for some time. When she emailed me to let me know they'd arrived, she intrigued me by telling me the following:

I don't believe in presents for kids that don't inspire the imagination - none of your main stream stuff here.  My poor children have been brought up on a diet of home made stories and toys and are hopefully better (if weirder) people for it. My two young stepsons now receive the same treatment and your two lovely cats inspired a story (I will send it to you when it is complete) which I will package with the cats at Christmas. Obviously the cats needed names for this purpose and Fairfax and Olaf seemed to fit the bill.

I was entranced by this wonderfully imaginative and personal approach, delighted that my preloved wooden cats would become the subjects of a story, and excited to know more. So when today I received a copy of 'the story so far' (my friend plans to continue writing about them) I was so pleased when she agreed that I could share it - in the form of a letter from Santa to the two boys. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I wanted to tell you how successful your cats were on Christmas day, so much so we have not heard of anything else.  And as promised here is the letter from Santa telling the story of how they came to be in their possession. 

Hello Dylan and Tommy

I have heard quite a few stories about you both over the past year. Dylan, I know you have been working hard at school and you have been trying to remember not to shout. It is hard when you want to tell someone something though isn't it? Tommy, I know you have started big school now and you are learning very quickly. I also know that you try to get ready on time but it is hard when it's cold outside and your bed is warm. Mrs Claus likes to stay in bed too. Did you know that Santa and Mrs Claus have a big bed shaped just like the sleigh I bring all your toys on, on Christmas eve? Maybe one year I will harness the reindeer up to it and give Mrs Claus a ride through the skies whilst she is asleep...

Anyway, because you have both been such good boys this year, the magic at the North Pole has whispered to me you should have this special present. It is not new from a shop but something precious that has been around for a long time. It has lived in other people's houses and taken care of them in a quiet and magical way.

And here am I saying it when really there are two things in this box. It isn't one each but for you both to share. Maybe you could be really sensible and work out a way to look after them together?
You also need to decide a quiet place to keep them somewhere near to you. They need to be quiet for their magic not to disappear and also for them to help you. Perhaps your secret shelves would be a good place to keep them, what do you think?

As they get used to being in your house and around you, you will notice the effect their magic has in your lives. You will feel happier and have more fun . Anything you find difficult will become easier and you will learn more quickly.

But. You need to help them keep their magic. I have already told you they need to be quiet but also you need to carry on being good boys and continue to work hard. Try your best always, tell the truth and be kind to others. Be especially kind to animals - you will find out why when you see what is inside the box...

[The next instalment was inside the box with the cats]

Now you know what is in the box, there are a few more things I need to tell you about Fairfax and Olaf. Obviously they don't need feeding or watering but they do need polishing. You can ask Daddy or Amanda to help you (I don't suggest you ask Tom and Ryan as they can't keep their room tidy). You will also notice Olaf has a little splinter of wood missing from his ear. All magic cat pairs have a little something like this and it is a sign to other magical creatures that you two are to be kept safe.

Remember that being chosen to take care of Fairfax and Olaf means you are now their Guardians. It is a big responsibility so take it seriously and you will be rewarded.  If ever you need any advice then please ask Daddy or Amanda. They too have a pair of magical cats entrusted to them so they will be able to help you. 

Lots of love from Santa xx