Today was a busy but interesting day. Firstly, I took Iona to a local fire station, which was having an open day. She was very excited when I told her she was going there, as she's fascinated by all sorts of alarms, and also emergency vehicles. Once there she was shocked by the display of what happens when you pour a cupful of water over a small chip pan fire (to be fair, so was I even!), and refused to go anywhere near any other displays. However, she loved seeing the fire engines and was very interested in everything, asking me a couple of questions to which I didn't know the answer and which I had to collar a fire fighter to answer for her. All good practice for her at learning from others in the community.
After that, we rushed into an arts centre in town, who were having a do-it-yourself mini well dressing session for children. For those who don't know (as I didn't before I moved here), well dressing is a tradition from the Midlands of England which is said to have arisen as a way of giving thanks to God for safe water in a time of the Black Death (see this article in Wikipedia). We managed to arrive half an hour before the end, and had a lovely time with a very helpful lady. For only £1GBP we were given a tray of terracotta clay and access to loads of materials, as well as good instructions. Iona chose a cookie cutter and helped me use it to make a teddy shape in the clay. The lady then told us to use peppercorns to outline the teddy. After I showed Iona and explained to her what to do she quickly got the hang of it, and only needed occasional reminders not to put the peppercorns outside of the line. I was surprised how accurate she mostly was, although I helped her by doing some of the outline as I think she would have got bored before it was finished. Likewise, with the red gravel, I helped her to fill some of it in, but again she didn't need much correction. Finally, Iona was able to choose her own flowers to outline the teddy, and she was able to pull the heads off and push them into the clay mostly by herself.
She was justifiably proud of the result, and I was really impressed with how well she concentrated, after quite a long afternoon already, how well she took instruction and how independent she was.
The lady who taught us said they are planning to run some more, different sessions in the summer holiday, and if they are as good and as cheap as this one was I certainly hope to take Iona to them.