Anyone who knows me and Diane’s Puppets over the years, will know that for over ten years I was more than ably assisted by my dear friend ‘Aunty Lena’. We made a formidable team, being best friends gave us a natural rapport and an understanding that didn’t need much communication to work. We simply knew what each other was thinking.
Lena would also assist me with the face painting during the tea time.
When I first approached Lena about working with me, she said ” I’ll do anything but I won’t be able to face paint”. Oh woman of little faith. You turned out to be a face painter of much merit, able to turn out fast and delicate faces with a deft touch and always with a silly sense of humour and a gentle manner.
The picture speaks for itself, never easy to face paint a one year old, but here is a very happy little baby with sweet flowers.
So, Aunty Lena was able to tackle most challenges in the face painting department, including rising to tractors and even racing cars. Not bad for someone who claimed not to have any artistic merit.
However, there was one memorable exception: the notorious, hysterical case of the rocket.
Picture the scene, a busy party, lots of mums are standing around chatting while the rest of the children are eating their tea. A sweet four year old girl sits down in front of you, eyes wide and excited, looking forward to being face painted. After asking what she wants, you start to paint a rocket. It’s not looking quite right so you ask the other person to help you. That other person was me.
I looked over at sweet four year old to see her with a white rocket shaped object , but with a red triangular tip on her cheek. Child is blissfully unaware of the two ladies in front of her starting to giggle.
I realised the rocket was missing engines.
Paint some engines on, I suggested. That should do it.
Both of us realised what we had done was inadvertently ended up painting a rather gruesome phallic looking thing on this very sweet and innocent girls face.
That’s when the giggles started to take over. Aunty Lena couldn’t speak for laughter, tears were streaming down her face as she realised how inappropriate this face paint had become. Quite innocently of course, but there it was, a four year old girl with a very rude looking face paint.
I hastily reached for baby wipes and started over, tears running down my face.
We both hoped none of the yummy mummies had witnessed our fiasco.
Aunty Lena avoided rockets from then on. I tackle ( no pun intended fnar fnar) them carefully to avoid repeating any similar situations.
I mean what was that little girl thinking asking for a rocket anyway ? What’s wrong with a fairy?
( As a very dedicated feminist , that last statement is not to be taken seriously )
Aunty Lena now works in Morley Gallery but remains my loyal and lovely and very delightfully silly friend.
Ah those were the days.