At the end of Samson's last day, the children wanted to do something special. We decided to walk somewhere special and they wanted to go somewhere they hadn't been before. What sprang to mind was a walk to the chapel.
Amanda, the interpretive officer is a friendly neighbour ... she knows we are around and is always happy to see us. The chapel itself has been restored and is quite beautiful ... and I offered to the children that I could take them for a walk and show them another beautiful place near the farm.
I told them it was a nun ... and without wanting to know what a nun was or anymore info, there was general agreement, 'She's a bit scary.'
'Oh...' looking at the painting...'what's so special about him?'
The conversation opened up and I did my best to share answers to their questions about this story, in a simple way and as I've come to understand it.
Well that picture is telling about when he died ...
'He's an angel.'
'So how come there are more pictures?' ... looking down the line of oil paintings.
'Well that's meant to be a story about part of his life ... a bit like a story book up on the walls and each painting is like a page.'
'Oh ... are there other stories too?'
No mostly about Jesus in here ... and then they noticed the stain glass windows ... 'What about in there ... ?'
... 'Well that is more of the same story.'
'Oh .. oh ... not like the other gallery.' ... which of course has the work of a number of artists going on at once.
... and on we went, looking at the seats and sitting in them and asking who else has sat there and seeing how the light shone in the stain glass ... and noticing the organ pipes and asking who played the music and what songs they sang and things like, 'Do you think they know twinkle, twinkle?'
The thing that was really delightful is that children were in a non religious, non prejudiced, multi-sensory experience of the chapel as it was on that day. It's got an incredibly beautiful wooden ceiling and is a bit like the inside hull of an upturned boat, that has been handcrafted. They noticed this and took it in. They walked up close to all thing we saw and touched what they could ... and asked a whole lot about everything else.
In the end, it was deemed, 'a pretty good gallery' ... and that we had indeed gone somewhere special with Samson on his last day.