Did you have a favourite story book character when you were small? I loved Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil in Ballet Shoes and would happily have been any of the three sisters, despite never having any desire to learn ballet as a child! They seemed so brave and talented, and the fact that they had been adopted by an explorer just completely captivated a seven year old me! I remember also desparately wanting to go to boarding school, preferably in a castle, which in a pre-Harry Potter era, was entirely down to Darrell in Malory Towers and the Chalet School girls. I suspect this was mainly due to midnight feasts, which appealed massively then, and still do really!
We are lucky enough to live nearby a wonderful annual book event that celebrates favourite story book characters and makes them come to life. Milton Manor, near Abingdon is a beautiful old estate, tucked down a country lane, and only open for a few days each year. It is the perfect home for the yearly Readathon, with it’s forest area, small boating lake and gorgeous old stables. A wonderful team of volunteers host the event, and manage to make it completely magical. It really is like stepping inside all of your favourite childhood books for a day, perfect escapism, and so much fun for the little ones!
Of course we took the oppurtunity to dress up, Mia as Pippi Longstocking and Joe as the Gruffalo. With only a couple of hours notice (last minute change of plan!) we managed to pull together some fairly decent costumes. Pippi suited Mia perfectly; I can understand so well, why she is one of her favourite characters, as wild and free as possible!
There were so many activities to explore, a Gruffalo trail through the woods, an adventure playground and wooden fort in the forest, author readings and illustrator demos and a book swap tent! We spent hours running around the estate collecting stamps from book characters, a sort of treasure hunt, including Winnie the Witch, Postman Pat, and Gangsta Granny.
There was tea and cake too, all homemade and with the tea served with old mismatched tea pots and cups… all pleasingly very Alice in Wonderland. Goodness knows how we would have got through some many of the activities without a litte bit of sugar!
It really was a magical day, and a wonderful event to take part in. This was the first time we had been to the Readathon, and I cannot believe we have been missing this whilst it is so close to home. There have already been discussions about what to dress up as next year, but I’m focusing on getting through Halloween and the party season first of all!