By: Blonde Two

If your sister invited you to her birthday party, what would your expectations be? Would it include smart dresses, uncomfortable shoes and sitting down meals?

Not so in my family. I have three sisters, all younger and all just as mad as me (to be honest it is a relief not to be the only one), and this time the party invitation included cooking a stew on an open fire, eating liquorice off strings in the shed and building a raft to float on a Malvern (very smelly) pond. If you live in Malvern, you will know the pond that I mean; it is at the top of Peachfield Common and really isn’t something that you would want to fall into.

Which is why sisters 1 (me), 3 (of book illustration fame) and 4 (another pyromaniac) took our raft building very seriously. Here were our given ingredients: The bottom of an old shed, some chicken wire, old compost bags, tiny polystyrene balls, two red sledges, some old washing line, one rope and some hooped nails.Raft Ingredients

Raft Building 1Raft Building 2Raft Building 3Once we had giggled it together, the raft didn’t look too bad; it also didn’t look too floaty. Sister 3 walked the younger members of the family up the common to our flotation-location (I like that); while Sister 4 and I (with the help of Mr B2 and his truck) drove the raft up to the common and carried it along to the pond.DSC_5810

I don’t know if you know Malvern people, but they are a fairly traditional lot; and we did get some very odd glances from the dog walkers who were not used to seeing giggling women balancing bits of old shed on their shoulders. Luckily Mum was with us, so we left her to answer all the questions.

When we had all assembled, and after a quick naming ceremony, ‘HMS Runcible Spoon’ was ready to take on her first passenger; who was, of course, the birthday girl. HMS RS was just big enough for one brave person to kneel on her and paddle with a not-at-all-adapted snow shovel. She was a wobbly vessel with a tendency to list vigorously if her passenger dared to shift his or her weight. This provided much hilarity for the audience (invited and not) and some wet knees for the sailors.

Most of us had a go (see pictures below); but I have to confess to chickening out (I a particularly non-balancy Blonde). Despite this, I did do a bit of rather stylish land-surfing.Raft Floating 1 Raft Floating 2 Raft Floating 3

Job done; HMS Runcible Spoon provided a most excellent sledge ride back down the common for the family youngsters; and then it was back to Mum’s garden for stew and liquorice.Raft Surfing