In a bid to get families reading Alton Towers has unveiled the world’s biggest children’s book (pictured), which at more than 18ft high is taller than a giraffe and is available for families staying in the park’s new Enchanted Village to use. What fun!
While I hold my hands up to
skipping creatively adapting a book when it’s too long and I want to get bedtime over so I can cook dinner (aka pour a glass of wine), we’ve always had two stories at bedtime. Not one or three, it always has to be two. I don’t remember when or why this tradition came about, it just did. But recently the routine has evolved to become one book, and one ‘talking story’.
By this BB means a story we tell her from our head, not from a book. I quickly discovered that with the exception of Little Red Riding Hood, I can’t actually relay any of the traditional fairy tales without swotting up. How does the troll come to be under the bridge in the Three Billy Goats? What does Goldilocks do, apart from eating too much porridge, before breaking Little Bear’s chair? Absolutely no idea.
So following the first few requests for a ‘talking story’ I thought it would be nice to hand down family anecdotes I loved in my own childhood. One of my favourites was a tale my Granny and Grandpa used to tell me and my brother about the day they visited my dad at scout camp.
In a nutshell, the story went that all the mums and dads were invited to a summer fete, and there were so many of them that the scouts decided to make tea in a great big dustbin, which they washed out with disinfectant first. The only problem was they didn’t wash it out properly, and my Granny spat her tea out everywhere because it tasted disgusting (there was always a big emphasis on disgusting). And because it was such a hot day all the sandwiches the scouts had prepared curled at the ends, and they were disgusting too.
The story used to have me and my brother squealing with laughter. Over Easter I told my dad the Scout Camp Story is among our new routine of ‘talking stories’, but it seems we’ve got a classic case of Chinese whispers on our hands.
It turns out it wasn’t scout camp at all, it was choir camp. It wasn’t disinfectant in the bin either, it was carbolic soap, and it was my Grandpa who spat the tea out, not Granny. (I can see how it happens on Antiques Roadshow). But as a former editor once said to me when we were debating the ins and outs of a headline: never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
So scout camp and disinfectant it is. I just better make sure I tell Little B the correct version, or the truth could be lost forever…