There are a lot of things I definitely wouldn’t do. Lock myself away with 300 poisonous spiders. Watch 238 episodes of ‘Friends’ back to back. Wear the same dress every day for a year. But all of these things have been done, and for the best of reasons. To raise money for charity.
Some of the things that people do for charity are just downright painful. Take the sheriff in South Carolina, who volunteered to be tasered every time $1,000 was raised for his chosen charity. Or the students who played the same track, non-stop over the p.a. system on campus until they reached their target for a new cafe and arts centre. (I like this one because it brings back memories of when I was a student. The juke box in the coffee bar got stuck and whatever the record choice, the same track was played. After two weeks of ‘Je t’aime … moi non plus’ I would have paid good money to make it all stop too!)
So why am I telling you all this? Because it makes me look sane in comparison. This summer I didn’t get tasered or run across London Bridge dressed as a caterpillar. I helped make a High Street out of cardboard.
There was some method to our madness. Making a model of a local high street, as it was 100 years ago, was designed as a community project, which would be interesting and fun. And to tell you the truth it was fun. We checked out the census for 1911, so we knew who lived in all of the houses and shops. We found old photos which told us what the street looked like, and old maps which gave the shape and position of each building.
Then came the challenging part. Armed with a very large stack of super-thick card, about a gallon of glue, rubber bands, metal rulers, heavy duty snippers and a disproportionate sense of optimism, a small band of volunteers set out to make over a hundred shops and houses.
Here’s what we did:-
When they were finished, the houses were surprisingly sturdy. We painted boards, to indicate the roads, pavements and gardens, and made tiny trees and fences. We gave the models a trial outing at Christmas, and then on the hottest day of this summer we set our model village up in the shade of a large awning, and wondered what people would think of us.
Would I do it again? Well, if I’d known the amount of work it all entailed, I probably wouldn’t have done it the first time. But the research was fascinating, as was making something entirely from scratch. And sometimes, doing something you wouldn’t normally dream of doing, in support of a good cause, can be oddly satisfying.
So ladies, make me feel better! Tell me about the crazy things you’ve done, or seen being done for charity!