Ta-daaa! So here it is, Xanthe's Mud Pie kitchen. At the grand old age of 4, Xanthe is already an allotment veteran. We've reached the stage where miniature tool sets and packets of seeds have waned in the excitement stakes and every announcement of an allotment visit is met with loud howls of protest.
I've been avoiding this flashpoint by only visiting the allotment when Xanthe is at nursery but as demands on my precious child free time grow this is becoming impractical. The issue of keeping Xanthe amused and engaged feels even more important at the new allotment where our plots aren't fenced and the neighbours are the neat and tidy straight lines types who wouldn't fancy small feet tramping over the border.
I appealed for ideas on Twitter and Facebook and got some great suggestions including making scarecrows, flower pot mud castles (like sandcastles only muddier), flower pot stilts and cardboard tractors. All of which are fab ideas I have squirreled away for future use. The lovely Rachel, she of the transplaneted courgette, came up with the Rolls Royce solution: A Mud Pie Kitchen.
An hour in the charity shops of Diss produced a wooden wine rack which a dab of glue, 2 cheap hob covers and 2 big red buttons turned into a cooker. We added in a variety of charity shop utensils and the job was done. So far, it's proving to be a huge success. It's spent the last 48 hrs sitting in the living room, waiting for today's allotment trip, where it has already facilitated Xanthe's hamster stew ("pretend we're cats cooking hamsters!")
We took it to the plot today where Xanthe put it through it's muddy paces. For the first time in this family's allotment career, Xanthe was so absorbed in her mud and weeds cookery it took all my powers of persuasion to get her to leave and Willow's in a sulk because she hasn't seen the kitchen in situ yet. My ears are ringing to a new and unfamiliar refrain "But Muuuuum, when are we going to the allotment? I haven't been for aaaaages!"