Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Boxed in

Our house is full of toys and I'm sure the boys already have twice as many as my three siblings and I had throughout our whole combined childhoods. But despite this both children seem to adhere firmly to the belief that no toy, however expensive, can compare with a really good cardboard box. And the bigger the box, the better.

Over the last five or so years we have seen quite a few cardboard boxes come and go. Some of them we have gone to some lengths to customise while others have been left as nature intended.

All have given untold pleasure to the children (a fair amount to us too, if only by keeping them occupied).

We recently reached something of a box zenith with the arrival of a particularly large, complex, and robust example, designed in its original incarnation to transport a small tree.

Even while it still had the plant in it the boys had earmarked it as a rocket, and so it was duly transformed with a coat of silver paint and a few other bits and pieces. Admittedly, it was a somewhat unconventional rocket in that it apparently had the engine in the nose, but this allowed for a great many games in which one person was the stranded astronaut, and the other the interstellar equivalent of the RAC, so we let that pass.

Eventually particularly difficult re-entry caused irreparable damage to the nose-cone which had to be relegated to its former occupation of plant pot. But in removing the offending object a remarkable feature of the box became apparent: namely that it was not one, but two boxes, one inside the other.

A short while later all space travel had been abandoned in favour of a brief jaunt to the Middle Ages. The box had become a castle and the boys were happily besieging one another in the corner of the living room while I rushed about removing anything breakable from the range of their rubber swords and cushion-flinging siege engines. And, for a while, a good time was had by all. Well, by them, at any rate.

Then there was a hiatus. As with so many Norman castles the structure was abandoned and started to fall into disrepair. Parts of it were pillaged and carried off to make other things or became buried under the paraphernalia of day-to-day living and got forgotten.

Until one day R, happening upon the one remaining tower, picked it up and put it on his head upside down, and so Boxbot was born. Owing to the unfortunate placing of an arched window from its previous incarnation, Boxbot originally appeared to be the only robot ever created with pubic hair, but the application of a bit of masking tape and some coloured foam took care of that. And so for a while the box once more assumed its rightful place as favourite toy.

Now, however, I think its reign is well and truly over and come Friday Boxbot will be going to the great green recycling bin where so many have gone before. But we can't claim we haven't had our money's worth.

And anyway, it's nearly Christmas. I expect there'll be a new box along any day.