An Age-Old Conundrum

I’ve been wondering for a few days now just how old is too old? People will tell you, should you feel compelled like I did to ask, that “age is only a number”, and “you’re only as old as you feel”; but surely there comes an age in life when it is no longer the social norm to be taking part in an Easter Egg Hunt, unless, of course, you have some little ones to justify your participation?

The reason I have been pondering such a monumental question is that, with the Easter Weekend now upon us, the NTS will be running their annual Cadbury Easter Egg Trail across 50 properties, so naturally I wondered whether it would seem unusual if a slightly–older–than–normal participant turned up.  According to C.S.Lewis “some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again”, maybe the same can be true of hunting for hidden Easter eggs?

Inhabitants of Scotland in the 1700s would have been mercifully free from such a dilemma.  In his book ‘The Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century’, Henry Grey Graham states that “the old Presbyterians despised keeping ‘Yule’ as a miserable superstition, approved highly of schoolmistresses who gave parties to the pupils on Good Friday”. I’m almost certain the pupils would have approved too, quite far removed from our custom of searching – at times frantically – for hidden chocolate eggs!

According to Henry Grey Graham, “many old Episcopalians, especially if they were Jacobites, observed religious fasts”. Like many people in today’s society, I have given up chocolate for lent (so far, so good!). I’m sure many of you will appreciate the struggle in denying oneself chocolate; however, it is worth remembering that in the 18thC, the act of fasting for lent would have been more severe, with the winter store of food running very low and still a few weeks before the spring bounty began. (Even if Graham does follow on to say that for some this would mean “refraining at least from snuff”!)

But, with only days left to go, the lure of chocolate is becoming slightly unbearable ….maybe the Duck Race at Barry Mill would provide an Easter Weekend void of temptation!

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For more information on Easter events at NTS properties visit www.nts.org.uk/easter.  And remember here at Culloden you can make your own sword and targe on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April (which you could then use at our neighbouring properties to defend your haul of Easter egg treasure!)

As always, please spread the egg-cellent news (well I did wait until the very end!) of our Easter events and let us know what fun you had hunting chocolate eggs by sharing your stories and pics with us on Twitter (@CullodenNTS) or FaceBook (Culloden Battlefield & Visitor Centre) we’d love to see them. Have fun! K & D

A Little Bit of Swordplay

Since Easter is fast approaching, some places may suggest some beautiful, topical crafts for the family to enjoy. Maybe painting eggs or making cupcakes, but here at Culloden we tend to do things a little differently!

So if you’re bored of making the same old things for Easter why not mix it up and make the kids their very own basket-hilted broadsword and targe!

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We have devised a brilliant way to occupy the childrens time, keep them playing for hours and all without making too much mess.

So, just how do you make a sword?

First, equipment, you will need:

Milk bottle, cardboard, scissors,masking tape, duct tape, glue (optional) and colouring pens/pencils.

1. Cut the handle off a milk bottle. We recommend at least a four pint bottle so there’s enough room for the blade but it can be done with two pints and a bit of strength.

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2. Cut out a sword shape from the cardboard with a narrow strip at the bottom to fit into the hole of the milk bottle handle. Also cut out two smaller strips of cardboard for support.

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3. Attach the two strips of cardboard along the thin strip as support using masking or duct tape. They should extend into the main sword piece to give stability and add some character to the sword.

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4. Not bad, but still looks like cardboard. So, cover the sword with duct tape to give it a beautiful shiny silver finish. Or you can use different coloured tape to create your own unique interpretation of a sword.

5. Insert the sword into the handle ensuring a tight fit. Muscles may be required. (Glue can be used to secure more fully into position)

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6. Last but not least, brandish your sword with pride! (We gave our to Bonnie Prince Charlie, not sure how happy he looks about it!)

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You can also make an accompanying targe (shield) with cardboard and colouring pens/pencils, finished off with a handle on the back made from either cardboard or rope.

Alternatively, if you fancy letting other people do all the work join us at Culloden for crafts on Sunday 5th April!

Enjoy your Easter and please share your homemade sword and targe pictures with us on Twitter (@CullodenNTS) or FaceBook (Culloden Battlefield & Visitor Centre) we’d love to see them. Have fun! K & D