Friday, 20 April 2012

The Hippy Kazoo

I have little time for the hippy aesthetic, so when we pitched up with the kids in a woodland skills workshop in the shadow of Screel Hill in Dumfrieshire, I was a bit put off by the tie-died baggy trousers and unlaced combat boots. Worse was to come: we'd arrived just in time for the group exercises. Kids being invited to hide under a tarp in the middle of a circle of people, then grow into a beautiful flower when we chanted their name. B, perfectly sensibly, declared himself out. As did a growing number of other kids. In fact, as ... was it Phoebe? later admitted, the more group bonding games she tried, the faster people fled.

Fortunately at this point, Phoebe dispensed with the cheesy games and introduced us all to the thing that this lot did best: making good things from wood. Their camp testified to this ability: one extremely handsome cabin made from naturally-shaped logs, joined with pegs and walled with wattle and daub. Exactly the same construction methods as used in the Globe theatre.

They gave B a project: make a kazoo out of a hazel branch and two rubber bands. Here's how it's done:

1) Take one seven year old boy, hand him a (troublingly large and sharp) saw. Bid him saw about three inches off the branch.

2) Hand boy a (troublingly large and sharp) knife. Bid him split the wood lengthwise.

3) He then scrapes the blade down the middle bit of each interior face of the wood, to create a shallow depression.

4) Then he wraps a rubber band lengthwise round one bit of wood, sandwiches both bits together and fastens with another rubber band, and also some little ones round the ends just to be sure.

5) He places his mouth over the hole, blows, creates amusing honking noise, laughs head off.

There you are. Thank you clever hippies.