Today was a good day.
Weather wise it couldn’t have been nicer. The sun was out and the temperature was unseasonably warm for the time of year. I woke up fresh and early , put on my work clothes , ribbons and all, packed my suitcase full of my handmade puppets and set off for a morning gig at a lovely Nursery , Puddleducks in Putney , South West London.
I trundled off down the road heading for the train station, dragging my pink suitcase full of my puppets behind me. The sun beat down and the birds sang. ‘Life is good’ , I thought.
I managed to catch the train without having to wait , a minor miracle in itself, and I settled down for an uneventful journey.
I hadn’t bargained on the very charming very old man who sat down next to me. Granted he was a little grubby, and worse for wear, it looked like he struggled to maintain a certain standard of dress but he was very old , so who was I to judge? I was certainly dressed in a rather unusual fashion with my ribbons and my gold sequined top and purple skirt festooned with butterflies, dragons and flowers. Most commuters gave me a wide berth on public transport usually, to be frank. Difference is often viewed with scepticism in London ( there are so many
nutters unusual characters about, it is just a part of London life and London caution and reserve).
This lovely man embarked on a question and answer session that would have made Michael Parkinson proud. He interviewed me thoroughly, grilling me ( in the nicest possible way) about my job as a children’s entertainer and puppeteer. Most people dismiss my job quickly as I don’t fit the usual model of adult in the workplace. It was highly unusual that this old gentleman kept saying how serious my job was and how difficult it must be to work with such young children. It was wonderful to have such validation from such a sage man, here was someone who naturally understood my #Respectthesilly campaign. As the train pulled into the station, we both got up to leave and this gentleman started to thank me for speaking to him, over and over again.
Maybe because of the way he was turned out, most people shunned him and wouldn’t talk to him? Maybe he was very lonely? To me he seemed like a wonderful old soul who was there to reassure me that I was on the right path in my life’s journey. Call me silly if you want.
So, after this most unusual start, I got to the nursery and began my first session with the under two’s. It was too sweet to see those little ones playing Sleeping Bunnies with my bunny puppet
I even had these tiniest of clients telling me the animals names in Old Macdonald’s Farm. They were clever little children. Clearly the Nursery is doing a very good job.
Of course there were cuddles all around from my ‘Easter’ bunny Bobby and my baby monkey Twinkle.
After that sweet session with the under 2’s I moved across the playground to the older children. As I crossed the playground, one of the mummies was dropping off her little boy. She stopped in her tracks when she saw me. ” I know you” she said. “I’ve seen you at a party before”. I agreed that that possibility was most likely , after all I have been puppeting for over 18 years now. That same mummy turned to the Head of Nursery and said, “That’s Diane, she’s famous!”
I smiled. One aim ticked off my bucket list: to be famous for a talent.
I’m probably famous amongst the Under 5’s in London, well sort of.
What other sort of fame could I possibly want?
Well, we had a ball! Hopping with Bobby the Easter Bunny, laughing and quacking with Mummy Duck and her babies.
It was when I was preparing the children to meet my puppet Fairy Fifi
and showing the children the fairy toadstools on my skirt
when the children came alive with their own stories of fairy sightings. One young boy’s voice rang out above the other excited enthusiastic contributers and he said: ” I saw a flairy ( sic) in my garden today and she looked like you!”
So that was my childhood dream and ambition fulfilled right there in that moment. I had always wanted to grow up to be a fairy but at a hardly delicate UK size 16 , I had all but given up on that ambition. This young lad had just confirmed that I had reached my goal.
So there you have it ladies and gentleman. I am now officially a f(l)airy, a rather substantial,a little older and a feminist fairy , but a fairy nevertheless.
An old man and a young boy made my dreams come true today.
This feminist fairy is very happy and grateful.