thank for the fact that I have just ordered a book called "How to sharpen pencils" by a chap called David Rees. It looks to be the perfect present for my nephew for his birthday. It may even be a good book for my brother - who shares the same sort of wacky sense of humour.
I have also bought multiple copies of a colouring book in the past year - although not for either of them. I bought Johanna Basford's "Secret Garden - an inky treasure hunt" for ill and distressed friends and for the Youngest Cat who happens to like playing with pencils.
When I told the Senior Cat I was going to buy a colouring in book for someone in hospital he looked appalled.
"You can't give her a colouring in book. Those are for children."
"Have a look at it," I told him.
He looked and agreed it might be just the thing after all. I added pencils and a sharpener. It all cost less than a bunch of flowers that would only have lasted a week.
And yes, she loved it.
I have since repeated the exercise for a couple of other people who needed it because there is, for some humans, something soothing about the process of colouring in. It is not quite like doodling but it still has some of that same therapeutic capacity. There may even be less stress involved as you don't need to create the design. The most stressful part would appear to be choosing which colour to put in which place.
I have just had an e-mail telling me about the dates for a craft fair. I'll be helping a friend there but the organisers have mentioned that they are putting up a wall of Johanna Basford's Secret Garden drawings and they want people to fill them in to make an art work. It is apparently being done with the blessing of the artist and it will be interesting to see if she comments after the event. (She has already done so prior to it.)
It will also be interesting to see whether people do actually colour some of it in. I am sure some of them will even while others ignore it. I also wonder how they will colour it in. Will they pencil it, ink it, paint it, crayon it or paste something on? What colours will they choose? Will they cooperate with others and put in something they believe makes the coloured design more coherent? Will they think, "That's a mess!" or "That's amazing!" Will they love it or hate it or think it is ridiculous.
I don't know of course but perhaps it is an idea that they could take up in medical surgeries and other secure places where people wait. Give someone some coloured pencils and the picture on the wall to fill in while they wait. If it is soothing it might bring their blood pressure down.
And, if they don't want to do that then perhaps they would care to sharpen the pencils - always after they have read the book of course.