Penelope's Lanterns

Those of you with more acute memories will remember that Ms Playchute returned from her travels in the far east with half a dozen silk Chinese lanterns. Her intention, all along, has been to string together a number of light bulbs and hang the lanterns along the trellis at the back of the house of an evening. Along with “that damned hat,” these became known, unsurprisingly, as “those damned lanterns.”

Unbeknownst to me, she had communicated with Adam and Sugar before their arrival that she would really like another forty-seven lanterns and, although they failed to deliver the quantity she requested, they did arrive with eight more, bringing the grand total to fourteen.

For two years now I have been successfully ignoring her requests for a string of light bulbs to be strung along the trellis. Naturally, our two boys were only too willing to become victims of her latest scam and, like Tom Sawyer's colleagues in the great fence painting scandal, Ben and Adam spent much of their time together diligently preparing a fourteen light-bulb, trellis hanging contraption which had its inaugural performance recently.

Ben and Adam visited a variety of electrical wholesale outlets in the thriving metropolis of Banbury to acquire several miles of electric cable, dozens of lamp fittings, and an assortment of junction boxes and hooks.

They then spent several days measuring the trellis, connecting all the wiring (as well as developing a practiced technique for the rapid deployment and un-deployment of the entire structure).

Finally, after several days' industrious labour, the lamps were erected on Monday afternoon ready for their inaugural display on Monday evening.

The grand illumination was witnessed by all manner of folk in Byfield. The neighbours came round and were suitably impressed; Beryl & Oz even walked all the way from one end of the village to the other to participate in the event.

Although it grieves me to say so, the lanterns do look fantastic and once Ben showed me how to use my camera to take some longer exposure photos, the results are moderately pleasant. Most of the following are from Ben, of course, my photos being markedly inferior to his.

And there you have it - the Great Chinese Lantern Extravaganza of 2006. Many thanks to Ben and Adam for saving me a tedious job, many thanks to Adam and Sugar for bringing the additional lanterns requested by Ms Playchute and many thanks to Ms Playchute for her continuing bright ideas!

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