My children are surprisingly taken by the world of architecture and interiors. I had no idea of this until a couple of years ago when, at my parents, they switched on a TV and found it wasn't automatically set to CBBC or Cbeebies. Instead they stumbled on one of the many daytime home makeover shows. I'd assumed they would switch channels but on returning 20 minutes later to inform them lunch was ready I was greeted with the immortal words:
"Five more minutes please mummy. We just want to see how the wet room turned out."
So perhaps it's no shock that the hit activity of this summer holidays has been 'making fairy houses'.
To be honest, this really began because I, their 42-year-old mother, wanted to make a fairy house. Thanks to gusting winds and my inability to remember to relocate things at risk, I had a large stack of broken terracotta pots. I'd seen various images online of just such 'accidental breakages' turned into extraordinary miniature gardens.
The rules - if indeed 'making fairy houses' needs rules - is that all elements should be natural (terracotta required a judges ruling, but as I was the judge, it passed). And that's basically it.
In fairness my attempt isn't a patch on some of the others I saw and even the kids had their reservations. "It's very nice Mummy but it's hardly practical. I mean I know it's got a throne room but where do they wash?"
The children's own creations were a lot more focused on creature comforts and hygiene with baths, basins, beds and sofas. However, what really surprised me is the next day they built an entire new set of fairy homes - this time with private beaches, bridges and even rope swings. And yesterday they decided to pool their architectural resources and work together to build a fairy hotel. In a particularly ingenious step they even offered different room options for budget and luxury customers (budget = moss carpet, luxury = stachys leaf flooring... in case you were wondering).
I'm just waiting to see how the wet room shapes up.