I'm sure it all seems like a great idea, when you're a primary school teacher. You want to have a lovely event for the children, in which they all dress up, and so you think of something relatively simple which they can all wear and which can be made at home. It will fire their creativity, promote a sense of shared artistic endeavour, get them bonding with their parents as they lovingly work together. So you fire off a quick email to the parents, instructing them to make (I quote) "a simple homemade fez" at the weekend. Just to make sure no-one ignores this, you add the line "the children will feel sad if they do not have a fez." Just for good measure, you add "do not forget the tassel, as we want tassels to swirl when all the children dance."
Teachers, do you just want to stop for one minute and imagine the parent's reaction whent they open this email, at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon? Do you suppose they're going to crack a benevolent smile, picturing the heart-melting sight of their darling child in an adorable homemade fez dancing around, tassel swirling? Or are they instead going to think: where the hell am I going to get the materials for making a fez, complete with tassel, tomorrow and fit it into an other-wise busy weekend?
Now, I am lucky in that Friday is my day off work, so as it happens (having already polled friends on Facebook about how to create a fez) I DID have time to go to an art shop and buy some red art foam and red card. Several people had suggested a plant pot, but I was a little worried about Littleboy 2 dancing with a plant pot (even a plastic one) on his head.
The tassel has proved more problematic. I don't happen to live near a haberdashery shop, and I don't (as suggested by Facebook friends) have any old curtains or dressing gowns hanging about the house with tassels on them. This is what happens when you are renting your third house in five years (which happens to have modern drapes, not curtains) and have ruthlessly thrown out anything old. I have looked in various charity shops/homewares over the course of the weekend but whenever I asked the shopkeepers if they by any chance had a small tassel, they just looked at me as if I was slightly bonkers. Unless we can obtain one in the next 24 hours, it will have to be small strips of cut out foam tied together (Littleboy 1's idea). Not exactly swirly, but better than nothing.
Can I just add here that we also spent the whole of Saturday
afternoon visiting, and taking photographs of, St Paul's cathedral, for
Littleboy 1's school project? So that's a good half of the weekend taken up by homework-related projects. I'm just glad we didn't have any massively exciting social engagements this weekend, and that I'm not also a doctor who's on call (as my husband was this weekend, therefore neatly excusing him from any fez-related activity).
I am going to be looking closely at the fezzes when the boys turn up for school on Tuesday morning. I simply defy anyone to have spend the whole weekend making a really good one, but I am sure there will be some, made by alpha parents that could not bear for their child to turn up with a slightly rubbish fez.
Ours is, I admit, slightly rubbish, but hey, it was genuinely home-made by me and my child. I could have tried to buy one, in Brixton market, but that would have been cheating I suppose. So that's "all good" (as Ian Fletcher in the marvellous BBC comedy W1A would say). And, well I guess I have to thank the teacher for supplying me with good material for a blog post....