Today I used a few minutes of baby sleep to do whirlwind tidy-up, putting away a couple of errant Christmas decorations that had somehow managed to hang in there till now. And I came across a little gem that I wanted to post about before Christmas. Were this not such an important find, I wouldn't write about such an unseasonal item, but I think you're going to want to see this ...
My mother - who is, as we've already established, an All-Round Good Egg with a philanthropic bent - was much taken by a selection of Advent calendars, handmade by a Peruvian Women's Collective. The idea is simple, but particularly enchanting for children (and those young at heart.) The calendar consists of a landscape scene depicted in felt and 24 little pouches
each containing something that pertains to the Nativity, which can be attached to the scene by its Velcro fastening. So we not only have astronomical features like the sun, the moon and a very dashing star
but there are all of the people who appear in the story of the Nativity, many lovingly dressed in Peruvian costumes.
And there's also a plethora of mammals, reptiles and birds. This is where it starts to become a bit shaky, as it includes what looks like a zebra with udders, a lion, a dodo and another animal that might be a grizzly bear. The Peruvian Women's Collective have decided to eschew the traditional donkey and cow in favour of something more exotic. Good for them.
However, on the 12th December, things take a strangely political turn, as the Peruvian lasses decide to tackle hard-hitting Christian issues face on. I'm talking about Creationism, folks, as our South American ladies make the radical decision to include a stegosaurus in their Advent calendar.
Frankly, readers, I was stunned. While the elder lemons of various Christian churches grapple with the idea of whether Adam and Eve had to watch out for dino turds in their post-Eden world, the Peruvian Women's Collective bravely includes a dinosaur as part of the flora and fauna in suburban Bethlehem four thousand years later. Not since Galileo has there been such a barefaced challenge to accepted teachings. Did the stegosaurii graze there in flocks? Were they part of migratory herds? Was this one stegosaurus at the watering hole when he heard a commotion at the stable and wandered up for a gander? In any case, as the pouches for the later dates did not contain little bloodied limbs or a manger reduced to kindling, I think we can safely assume that the dinosaur cuddled up next to a shepherd and the zebra-cow and beheld the infant Jesus with a modicum of respect.
And thus, for their foolhardy decision to spit in the eye of science, I take my cap off to them.
Peruvian Women's Collective: I salute you.