Dragon Posts

February 2018

From the Dragons’ Den

Running repairs were being carried out to the Little Dragons’ dolls house recently. This item is a really popular aspect of each meeting as many of our little people enjoy experimenting with the various placements of furniture and people therein. There is plenty of furniture to move around at will – settees, chairs, tv and tv tables; kitchen furniture including a kitchenette, cooker and fridge; utilities including washing machine and interesting bathroom equipment and facilities to be placed at will. There are various inhabitants of the house encompassing several ages and races, and thus we have a multi-cultural three-storey, detached house, which is certainly an interesting property to view and develop.

Many of our Little Dragons go through a phase of organising the furniture and the inhabitants for a little while and it occurred to me that perhaps we also could perhaps benefit in life if we had a doll’s house as a part of our lives to organise and reorganise at will.

The lucky owner of such a house is able to move furniture at will, choose to live upstairs or downstairs as the mood takes one; in other words, have total control over things, people and places – even if not in reality.

How frustrating life can be when things don’t seem to be working out the way we want them to. Our furniture doesn’t seem to fit the room any longer; everything is the wrong colour or shade; other inhabitants won’t sit where they should, tidy up when they ought, wash up as required – and on, and on, and on!

Would life be easier, perhaps, if we could order everything simply to suit our wish of the moment? Perhaps not! Then we would maybe have little to strive for, no one else to please and we would, no doubt, become totally selfish, only thinking of our own desires rather than trying to please, or at least, fit in with others.

It may be a good idea to purchase a simple doll’s house; change it, decorate it, enjoy it at our will in order that the rest of our energy can be put towards helping to meet the wishes and support of others in our real lives. Receiving satisfaction from manipulating our little dolly world could then leave our energy and talents free to serve the needs of others with a will. Worth a thought!

Every good wish, Val

January 2018

January 2018

From the Dragons’ Den

George writing as Val recovers from the excesses of Christmas.

Happy New Year to everyone from George, Uncle Sam and Idris. We are allowing Idris to share our greetings as he has been much better behaved and much more reliable of late. He still breaks out of the basket now and again and goes off adventuring around the church, but sometimes asks us to join him, so we think he is perhaps developing a sense of sharing and enjoying things together. It is possible that he has observed some of our Little Dragons learning to share toys and play together. It is certainly much easier when he is co-operative and willing to share. Also, as he has some great ideas for getting up to mischief, he can be quite good fun to accompany as he leaps out of the basket and hurls himself into fun activities.

During the Christmas Break he took us to look at the church windows; those that have beautiful coloured glass in and the plain ones that have the names of people written on them. We are really pleased that we could read the names on the plain ones and we knew some of them. It made us feel that we belong to a great big family.

A little while ago some of our Senior Dragons came to some meetings called, ‘Fruitfulness on the Front Line’ which they said they had really enjoyed. Other people who come to the church on the special day called Sunday joined in as well and we have learned some of their names. We think they belong to St. George’s Family as well and it makes us really happy to know that we all belong together and care about each other.

Time to finish now as Idris has a plan under his wing for a great adventure – to do with something he calls ‘swimming’ and ‘diving in the font’ – whatever that may be. Here goes!

Every good wish, George

December 2017

From the Dragons’ Den

I happened to be speaking with two ex-Little Dragons recently. Both are now aged 14 and are young adults, full of ideas about life and where they want their lives to go; thinking about options for future study and possibilities of what they may aim to achieve in the future.

It is good to know that, whilst immersed in the excitement of teenage, they are still able to recall their days as Little Dragons when they loved to dress up as pirates, cowboys or fairies and, on occasion, were invited to help with story time. One recalled helping with ‘The Owl and the Pussy Cat!’, holding the moon and the stars above at the correct moment; also recalling the excitement of a special visitor, dressed in red, at the Christmas Party; the joys of hand printing and, on one mad occasion, foot printing when (I remember very well) one little soul could not bear to put his feet into the shallow bath of paint and, probably to this day has not recovered from the experience.

             

It is interesting to observe developing concentration on the faces of current participants and the increase in that concentration as time goes on. From experience in an earlier life, it is sometimes very apparent which Little Dragons will continue to develop concentration skills and which Little Dragons may have some difficulties in that department – and so it always was! Very little changes in the learning process!

Now, as we prepare once again for the special visitor, dressed in red, and try to remember whether we made those changes to our address lists or where we put the left-over cards from last year, let us remember to keep at the forefront of our minds why we are doing this; remember what it is that we are preparing to celebrate – the birth of that tiny child, the Light of the World.

….. and may our light continue to shine brightly before others!

 

 

Every good wish, Val Butterworth

 

November 2017

From the Dragons’ Den

Sometimes, quite unexpectedly, there is a moment of magic during story time at Little Dragons. Such a time occurred recently during the story of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ as the tiny caterpillar having eaten, and eaten, and eaten apples, pears, plums, strawberries, oranges, chocolate cake, ice cream, a pickle, Swiss cheese, salami, a lollipop, cherry pie, a sausage, a cupcake and a slice of water melon had turned, not surprisingly, into a huge, plump creature. When the big, bright caterpillar appeared out of the story bag, there was a surprised hush and one of those amazing, magic moments that is much to be treasured by the story teller.

That specific magic moment reminds me of the first song that our elder son sang snatches of around 1959 or 1960 – Magic Moments by Perry Como. Perhaps you remember it. ‘Magic Moments, Memories we’ve been sharing’. That was in the days when an innocent song was just that with no hidden meanings or undertones.

 

It is good to reflect on the magic moments in one’s life. It is good to take a few minutes (given chance) to think back and let random thoughts drift through the mind, allowing some of those moments of magic whisper at the edges of the memory bank.

It would be good to have a box in the West End Room where people could place, possibly anonymously, a record of such a magic moment in their own memory, to share with others. What a range of experience that would cover I am certain. Those magic memories could be collated into a small book containing happy, magic moments which, I am certain, would entertain all who cared to read it.

Hmmm. Get those thinking caps on – and, watch this space!

Every good wish, Val Butterworth

 

 

 

 

October 2017

From the Dragons’ Den

There is something special about a teddy bear.

It is often the first gift that arrives from new grandparents to a first grandchild and often remains very special to the child for many years to come.  Our own son, now aged 58, still owns his very first teddy bear, originally white although now a ‘whiter shade of pale’.  He (the teddy bear) only possesses one eye now but, regardless of that slight infirmity, still remains precious.  Another teddy bear that resides with us was a gift from a fond Great-aunt to our second son, now aged 56.  This teddy is of a rubbery substance and, equally loved many years ago, now resides in an old linen basket which contains lots of Little Dragon props and toys which take their turn in being the special characters in Little Dragon stories.  This teddy isn’t used very often, but one is always aware of his presence due to the fact that, when one scrabbles around in the linen basket to retrieve a mouse, a spider, a cat, or any other character as required, this rubbery teddy emits a loud squeak.  When our younger son, turned over or even moved slightly in his cot even as a very small baby, we were made aware of this as the teddy squeaked loudly – better than any expensive baby alarm.

Recently, we held a Teddy Bears’ Picnic at Little Dragons.  Along came teddy bears of all shapes and sizes to join those that inhabit the Children’s Corner.  We enjoyed tiny sandwiches, teddy crisps and decorated special teddy picnic buns.  It’s always nice to share a picnic with friends and our Little Dragons picnic was no exception.

As I observe people around me I have come to the conclusion that, as we grow older, we may come in a small way to resemble teddy bears.  As we perhaps lose the slimmer contours and become a little more rounded and we muffle up in clothes perhaps more suited to warmth and comfort rather than fashion, it could be said that we take on an aspect of a cuddly teddy bear.  I just hope that we are loved as much!

If in doubt, all the more reason to do our best to love each other!

Every good wish, Val Butterworth

September 2017

From the Dragons’ Den

I wonder who remembers the poem, Pippa Passes, by Robert Browning.  When I was a child I loved this verse, especially the last two lines: –

“God’s in His Heaven, All’s right with the world.”

From a very young age I felt in my heart that this was true.  My Dad was away somewhere, involved in something called ‘The War!’; we didn’t have much money and food was scarce – where were all those things called biscuits that I loved which appeared to have disappeared, to be non-existent? Yet, in that time of uncertainty and some fear, I was sure that as long as God was in His Heaven, then we would be OK.

Currently, as we look around our world, reading and watching the news of happenings that we find hard to understand, we are blessed here in our part of the world by the people around us who care.

It is interesting to watch our Little Dragons each week.  They are too young to worry about whether someone has more, or less, than they have.  They don’t mind whether they sit on the green cushion or the red cushion.  They may, as their age increases by weeks, or months, decide that a purple bowl has much more to offer than a yellow or a blue bowl, but usually they don’t notice that the next LD may have received 5 raisins compared to his/her four, or that he/she has one more piece of banana in their bowl.  Naturally, as they mature a little, they may, as we have mentioned in other journal entries, develop an awareness concerning the colour or size of the blue bike compared with the green and yellow bike, or between the fire engine with a ladder versus the one without, but that is a normal occurrence.

For the majority of our Little Dragons, ‘All’s right with the world!’ for much of the time.  For some, at times, it is less so and we, as Senior Dragons, do our best to offer support and love as required.  In addition, there are times when a quiet word, a big hug and the suggestion of a cup of coffee can turn the day around for a Carer who is finding life a bit tough.  The same goes for Senior Dragons who also need the smile, the hug and maybe several cups of coffee when the world doesn’t feel alright.

There isn’t always a lot that we can do in the wider world.  We can support through giving to charity and by volunteering help where and when applicable but, at times, we feel very helpless on hearing of the plight of others.

However, we can do a huge amount here in our own community.

As Little Dragons Play, Learn and Grow together, so can we, and we can play our part in showing that ‘God is in His Heaven. All’s right with the world’, here in Pontesbury as we share our love, energy and prayers with those in need.

Every good wish, Val Butterworth

August 2017

 

  From the Dragons’ Den

Summer holiday break.  A time to rest and rejuvenate the system, do all the jobs that one has put off – and put off – and put off. A time to tidy up, clean and renew Little Dragon items that have become dishevelled and worn out during the past year. 

It is the time when some Little Dragons leave us to commence formal schooling and we hope that the things learned with us, such as sitting down quietly at story time, joining in with singing, creating interesting articles and pictures in ‘art’ form, learning to share, will all come to their aid in the bigger world of school.

It is the time when we Big Dragons sit back and declare amazement that after eleven years we are still continuing to come each week to share with these little people, delight in their delight and support their Carers as and when we can.

When we began our Little Dragon venture I think we anticipated it lasting just for a year or two and we aimed to simply be a support body for those who might need a space for their toddlers whilst giving them, the Carers, chance to take breath.  It has turned out to be that, and more.  We have listened, laughed, cried, comforted and generally supported ‘all sorts and conditions of men’ – well, mainly women actually.

Our aim, initially, was to be a body of Outreach, and we know that several who have reached out to us have been helped by our simple support. We have opened our hands, arms and hearts to those who have reached out to us – sometimes for simple help, at other times for huge support, care and kindness. 

If we have helped anyone in any way; if we have provided support or sustenance to someone in real need, then we have done what we set out to do.  The hope that this may be so gives us heart to carry on when our own lives are tough and we, ourselves, have seemingly unsolvable problems. 

 

We sometimes need to remind ourselves that we are never alone.  We are each in the hands of One who is greater that we could ever hope to be.  We, though, can continue to do our best to support those in need and to notice and care for each other when we can, hands and hearts at the ready to support those whose need is much greater than our own.

We need to be there!  – for each other!  – and we will never be alone!

Every good wish, Val Butterworth

July 2017

 

  From the Dragons’ Den

So, what is it about play dough?  What is it about play dough that is so fascinating, not only to Little Dragons, but to adults also?  It is interesting to observe at Little Dragons that alongside the children manipulating, rolling, shaping the pliable mass, there is usually an adult carer (or even Senior Dragon) experiencing the mysterious joy of the said medium. 

I suppose that many of you have ‘fond’ memories of the old-fashioned plasticine of younger days.  I can conjure up the vision of the muted colours; basic blue, red, yellow green, brown and not much else.  I can recall the peculiar odour and the rubbery feel as I was allowed, aged 4, to roll out on a little wooden board, with a little wooden rolling pin, the easy-to-manipulate substance. Easy to manipulate, that is, until it suddenly lost its stretch and elasticity, and began to flake off in lumps before being abandoned in the wicker waste paper basket in the corner of the classroom.    

Today’s play dough, in a variety of bright shades, is much more pleasing both in texture and odour.  Easy to manipulate, easy to model into something wild and wonderful; apparently quite tasty to eat if our current Little Dragon users are to be believed. 

Psychologists would no doubt explain to us, if asked, that the act of submitting the play dough (or plasticine) to our will, by moulding, rolling, bashing, or even eating, can assist us in ridding the mind and body of the frustration met when obstacles or other people mar our comfortable journey through each day.  When happenings in our lives seem to be more than we can bear; when people or things cannot or will not bend to our will and we seem to meet opposition no matter into which direction we turn, then a few minutes suppressing and managing a handful of pliable material may relax us and enable us to manage the moment(s) with ease. 

Recently, someone gave me a recipe for home-made play dough – easy to make, cheap and so much longer lasting than that purchased for LDs.  Having lots of colourings amongst my cookery items I decided, in my wisdom, to add a gorgeous purple to the mix.  Good idea – however – greyish purple result!  Doesn’t look as vivid as I had imagined but a huge success as far as many, many pairs of hands (large and small) are finding.

So, if anyone is in need of a relaxing, healing means of recovering or retaining equilibrium – we are your people!  For a small favour (such as becoming a Senior Dragon) we are willing to share this wonderful means of helping each day to be a special time.

 

Every good wish, Val Butterworth