How to make a scarecrow in 10 minutes

Deterrents - Wil's scarecrow is on the left, protecting his strawberries, George's is on the right,

Deterrents - Wil's scarecrow is on the left, protecting his strawberries, George's is on the right, looking after his sunflowers. - Credit: Archant

Babysitting three grandsons... we can do this

It was the first time we had babysat for all three grandsons – George, five; Wil, three, and Herbie, six weeks.

We are relaxed about having the boys overnight because we know they’ll be going home soon afterwards and we can make up for lost sleep. When you’re the parent, you don’t get that.

George, as always, was keen to be busy and within minutes had written and illustrated a book. He appears to be into block colours now. He is probably going through his Mondrian phase, or maybe Rothko. George’s preferred medium in this case was wax crayons, sadly overlooked in the works of most modern masters but so much less indelible when younger brother Wil decides the walls are in need of some additional decorative work.

Wil, on this occasion, wasn’t into art. He had found a toy dust-cart that makes some revving noises and then propels itself across the floor to the grunted tune of the William Tell Overture. This had the effect of startling poor Herbie, whose limbs jerked into the air every time the cart went by. As a baby by profession he devotes all his time to honing those infant skills – startling, sleeping, burping, breaking wind and so on etc; crying, snuffling, burping again, smiling, drinking milk, regurgitating milk and watching you.

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We had bought George and Will a bucket each in their favourite colours to plant up with seeds. Wil’s was red for strawberries and George’s was orange for sunflowers. The boys pressed their seeds into the soil and stood them under the pergola.

All the little chaps were as good as gold going to bed and, when their mummy and daddy arrived back home from London (11.30 from Liverpool Street), all was quiet, all was well.

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We got to bed about 2am and it all kicked off at 6am. Wil got up and then George got up and then something resembling a grandma and grandpa got up. It’s okay, we said, squinting at each other in the over-bright early morning sunlight, we can have a sleep later.

Sunday morning is difficult, being the designated day of rest. The boys wanted to go into the garden but with so many houses and sleeping residents around us, it didn’t seem fair to let them out before 8 o’clock. They stood with their noses pressed to the glass in the patio doors, making us feel like gaolers. “Houston, we have a problem,” announced my husband, appearing to forget my name is Lynne. He had observed a blue tit in one of the boys’ buckets, hunting for seeds. A little bit of wire mesh over the top was all that was needed, I thought, but grandpa had grander ideas.

“What we need is scarecrows.”

“Yes!” agreed George and “Yes!” agreed Wil.

Grandpa and the boys went into the hazard zone also known as the garage and came back with an old curtain pole each. Then grandpa found a couple of sticks in the garden to use as arms. Then George and Wil got to work drawing scarecrow faces onto big envelopes. Wil’s had three eyes but then, it was a big envelope. Grandpa found two of his old shirts, two pairs of gloves and a couple of hats to dress them in. By this time it was getting on for 9.30 so we let the boys tumble out into the garden. There they propped up their scarecrows, one next to each bucket of seeds. We didn’t get a bird in the garden all day, although this could have been something to do with two small boys careering around playing a noisy, imaginary game.

Once the Essex tribe headed off home, we cleared a path through the dinosaurs and cars and had a cup of tea. I read one paragraph of the Sunday newspaper before falling asleep. I should add that this wasn’t the fault of the journalist’s story, I was very, very weary.

How to make a scarecrow in 10 minutes (not to be confused with anything shown on Blue Peter, especially Tracy Island).

Take one pole or length of dowel. Use gaffer tape to strap a longish stick at right angles about one third of the way down the pole, with equal lengths of stick each side of the pole. Now you have your exo-skeleton.

Take an A4 envelope and draw facial features on one side. Place envelope over top end of pole.

Put a shirt or dress on your scarecrow, then gloves, then a hat. Place in garden.

When grandchildren have gone home, take a picture (see above) and immediately dismantle scarecrow.

• What pastimes do we enjoy in the bathroom? According to a poll by, this is what the 62% of people who have bathroom hobbies get up to:

1. Listen to music (53%)

2. Watch favourite box sets, videos, movies (42%)

3. Reading (37%)

4. Listening to podcasts (28%)

5. Complete tasks for work (17%)

Speaking on behalf of the 38% minority which does not indulge, I find the bathroom ambience unappealing. Watching movies? I’m guessing Psycho is not on the list of favourite bathroom viewing...

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