Friday, 20 February 2015

Humanize the streets: Go googly-eyeing

I have this little sister Molly. She is small and very funny. 
And when we get together (which isn't very often because we live too flippin' far apart) it brings the devil out in us. We tune right back into our playful, mischievous childhood selves and get up to things thoroughly unexpected of two fully-grown women with reading glasses and memory-foam mattresses.

So I will confess right from the start. There was not a single child involved in this activity. There wasn’t even one in the vicinity. They were all at home with their sensible dads. BUT it would be a fantastic thing to do with kids, anywhere, anytime. Which is why I'm writing about it here.

My sister and I had an urge to go on a reminiscing weekend to our childhood town which we hadn't properly visited since we'd left it at age 15 and 11. We wanted to haphazardly walk the streets guided only by our myriad of memories. 
We wanted to see the houses we'd lived in and the driveways where we'd learnt to ride two-wheeler bikes without stabilizers. The schools we'd been to and the sweet shop where we’d stopped on the way home to buy Sherbert Dip Dabs and Curly Wurlys. The library and the Sunday school our mum had made us go to so she could have a lie-in. 
We wanted to see the railway bridge where we'd tried to get train drivers to wave to us and the River Mole where we’d made rafts to ride down the weir on. The swimming pool and the tower block where we used to dare each other to go up to the top in the cranky old lift. The Monday morning veruca clinic and the tree we used to sit in and try out swear words.
Yep, we wanted to go on a magical memory tour of our childhood.

At the same time, although we had a fondness for this town, we knew it was small and not very exciting in itself. We definitely needed to add another layer of fun and mischief to our trip. We bounced around a few ideas, and in the end decided on this:

Eyebombing: Placing eyes on inanimate objects to make them look almost humanThe goal? To spread a bit of sunshine to people passing by.

It was perfect. We could leave a trail of eyes on our nostalgic meanderings – and we'd have the thrill of trying not to get caughtAnd all we needed were big fat pocketfuls of these.
We went for the jumbo-size ones (40mm) because they'd have more visual impact outdoors. They weren't self-adhesive so we put a bit of strong double-sided sticky tape on the back of each one. Here's some of the characters we created over the weekend ...

This classic postbox was just screaming out out for eyes. 
We passed this pole every single day on the way to school when we were kids and got strangely excited when we saw it was still there! 
Have you ever seen a lampost with this much personality?
 Watch out, watch out, there's a roundabout about!
This one on a poster at the swimming pool took more courage than you might think. The receptionist was eyeing us suspiciously, these two women loitering and behaving oddly in the foyer. Our adrenaline levels were through the roof by the time we stuck-clicked-and-ran!
As for these two, their eyes lit up when they saw each other for the first time!
We also took a handful of smaller eyes with us to sweeten up some smaller indoor objects.
The gate of our old primary school wasn't our most effective placing of eyes, but they may have brought a little smile to a few children on Monday morning.
This tree, near the spot where I first snogged a boy, was one of my favourites. 
But our pièce de résistance, our biggest triumph, and by far the most scary and thrilling one to do was this: eyes on a mannequin in a shop window of the old-fashioned department store where I was measured for my first ever bra (a crushingly disappointing AA cup). Caused quite a bit of car hooting this one!
I just hope the town centre management approves.
Yep, Horley, Surrey, you have been googly-eyed!

Exploring our old town and our childhood memories was actually a much deeper and more emotional experience than I'd anticipated and I was very sad to leave.
But my naughty little sister, of course, had to have the last laugh.


  1. I have just started following your blog and decided to take a dive into commenting by saying that I love this post - I could really identify with the 'returning home' as I have done the same thing - It is a very strange mix of happy and sad. LOVE the eyes too! looks like you had a great day! xxx

  2. Thanks for commenting - I love reading people's comments! Yes, in some ways, I felt like I was walking around the town with my 'younger self', all protective and wondering whether her future would (had) turned out as she (I) would have wished. I actually had a big sob to my husband when I got home!

  3. Hi Claire - What an incredible way to spend a day with your sibling - a walk down memory lane. I love your goggly eyes. Looks like you really enjoyed yourselves and that's what life is all about!

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