Recently at Alfie’s primary school a boy was injured on the playground equipment. He sustained quite a nasty cut to his face and I’m not sure of all the facts but I believe he did need a general anaesthetic with plastic surgery to repair the gash. The playground was immediately closed ‘until further notice’. An email was sent to all parents letting us know that over the years there has been a couple of other injuries and so it has been decided that the playground is unsafe and no one can play on it. I am very sorry for the boy who was injured but I don’t think play equipment was ever invented with any notion that from time to time there would not be an injury.
A few days after the playground was closed I was walking Alfie to school and as we entered the school grounds there were a couple of girls doing handstands on the artificial grass. The deputy principal walked past and told the girls they were not allowed to do handstands because ‘you could break your wrist’. That’s a bit of a long-shot isn’t it? My friends and I must have done a million handstands and cartwheels during our school years and that action of tipping ourselves upside down never resulted in a broken bone.
When I was going to primary school in New Zealand my sisters and I had to walk a fair distance to school and that included having to walk across an over-pass above a railway line. We walked rain, hail (literally) or shine through every condition of every season. In winter the over-pass would be covered in black ice. I remember a boy slipping and falling down the stairs. He broke his leg. A few days later another student fell and broke her elbow. There was no Royal Commission or investigation into the safety standards of the over-pass but I do remember that when conditions were icy the principal of the school would stand at the bottom of the stairs yelling out, ‘Be careful, grab hold of the railing’. And the slipping on black ice that resulted in a couple of broken limbs didn’t cause our mothers to drive us to school, and not just because people movers and four-wheel drives hadn’t yet been invented. They were quite happy to let us walk and just gave us a few common sense suggestions like, ‘Be careful you don’t slip’.
I don’t like seeing children injured but I hate the idea of children having to sit still, not run around and have nothing to play on for fear that every few years, someone might hurt themselves. Couldn’t we perhaps return to common sense and acknowledge that a childhood without the occasional band-aid would be a very dull childhood indeed.
And it’s not as if I’ve not experienced that awful moment when the phone rings and I’m told my child has had an accident and is in an ambulance and is being rushed to the nearest hospital. Archie clocked up 17 admissions to Accident and Emergency (two in an ambulance) before his 14th birthday. Alfie has had a few admissions with one trip in an ambulance but Arabella has managed to stay pretty much in one piece. And they’re all fine. Whatever happened to them has been treated, repaired and fixed.
My concern is that in an effort to ensure no one receives as much as a scratch, we are robbing our children of a childhood.
Back in the day when I used to slide across black ice in an effort to get to school we had Easter Eggs that were filled with marshmallow and coated in chocolate. When I was aged just 11, Home Economics was a compulsory subject and at Easter time, we had to make marshmallow Easter Eggs. They were a huge success. If only I had kept the recipe! But I have done my best to recreate what we made. These Easter Eggs don’t look as ‘perfect’ as they should, but what they lack in appearance they make up for in flavour. As Carl said to me tonight, ‘One bite of these and I never want a manufactured Easter Egg ever again’.
Marshmallow Easter Eggs
Degree of Difficulty: I’m giving these 5/5 if you want to persevere until they are perfect looking. If you’re happy for them to have that ‘home-made’ look about them (like mine!) I’ll give them a 4/5.
Cost: All relatively inexpensive except for covering the marshmallow in chocolate – I used couveture chocolate and that is not inexpensive.
- 1 large square cake tin
- plain flour (about 6kgs)
- 1 1/2 tbspns gelatine
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 160g light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbspn vanilla extract
- 500g dark chocolate
Place flour in cake tin (or roasting dish or similar) and pour in flour. Flatten and smooth. Using an egg, press egg half-way into flour to make an impression. Remove egg and continue until you have 32 impressions.
In a mixer bowl place gelatin and water and mix until well combined. Leave for about 5 mins to congeal.
In a medium sized saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and extra water and stir over high heat until sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil until syrup reaches 120C (use a sugar thermometer). Remove from heat and carefully add vanilla extract.
Turn on mixer bowl to a slow setting. In a slow and steady stream pour in syrup. When all syrup has been added, increase speed to high and beat for about 5 mins until marshmallow has volumised and become cool.
Using dessert spoons, spoon marshmallow into egg molds. Allow to set but do not refrigerate (about 2 hours).
In a mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate. Remove from heat. Take two marshmallow half-eggs and join the non-floured sides together. Dip in chocolate and allow to set in the refrigerator on baking paper.
Want to stay in touch? Let’s be friends on Facie!