The Dunkirk Spirit!

The Most Priceless Gift

OK….OK….I know my youngest child is now 14 but that doesn’t stop the Shanks family from doing daft things and thoroughly enjoying them, and Easter is one of the silliest times of year in The Mad Shanks Residence!

It’s been a long standing tradition to have an Easter Egg Hunt over the holiday period but as the years have gone on it’s developed into a much more complex set of activities than just a plain old look around the garden searching for hidden eggs.  Oh yes, we take it to whole different level as only the Shanks’s can!


Still loving the fun……Rock On Team Shanks!!!


The evolution of this particular event has been gradual, but in keeping with the children’s advancing ages. Toddlers are a lot easier to amuse than teenagers and 20 somethings!  Over the years the hiding places have become more random and much more devious, adding into the equation that the children are all a lot taller these days so the myriad of obscure resting places for the hunted eggs have escalated out of all proportions!

Let’s make this more interesting!

This still doesn’t make the event as epic as it needs to be so every year we have a ‘challenge’ the children have to complete and be judged on before they can even begin to ‘hunt’ the chocolate down.  In the past they have done everything from making decorative sweets out of different coloured chocolates and miscellaneous other ingredients to painting ‘Easter Sheep’ (they were cheaper than the Easter bunnies!) and various other silly projects.  We’ll never forget the year (captured on film to her disgust!) when I bought craft kits, one of which was a felt handbag that Lorie decided to make.  It was beautifully done but once finished she tried to open it only to find that as she had sewn the handles on she’d also sewn the bag together!  Bless!

So, back to this year!  I decided to be more dastardly than ever and bought pink hats to be decorated in the Easter spirit which would then be judged on numerous different levels…artistic appeal, practicality, ‘Easterness’, technical ability etc…….What I didn’t tell them was they were going to have to wear said hats throughout the egg hunt….I told you it was dastardly!  This meant that the more exotic and precarious the hat, the harder the wearer was going to find it to move around quickly, I felt quite proud of myself!

The hats were duly constructed whilst Jamie and I laid out 187 chocolate items and the judging then commenced when their time was up.  Winner having been announced I then went on to tell them that the hat was to be worn at all times and I WOULD be watching……….faces fell instantly until the giggles set in.

And even more interesting!!

I lined them inside the back door in order of speed (slowest at the front) and just as they thought they could actually get going on the important bit I dropped another bombshell……they were going to have their legs tied together!  For the sake of decency I won’t repeat some of the names I was called or the ‘under the breath’ utterances, but some weren’t pleasant!  They all eventually accepted their lot, knowing that my decision is always final and proceeded to allow me to tie their legs up with scarves.

When I finally gave the word they stumbled inelegantly out of the door and tried to run to find the chocolate and several inevitably fell over.  Meanwhile, as the orchestrator of their predicament, I proceeded to watch with great amusement and had the best time watching them scrambling to reach the unreachable due to not being able to climb as easily as they would have liked!  

I’d had a great day and when they showed the various blisters and rubbed areas from where their legs were tied, I replied with the fact that they hadn’t had to do it and could have given up.  The response to this?  “Give up?  Never!”.  The Dunkirk spirit runs high in The Mad Shanks Residence.

And so it came to pass that, as always after the count up, there were about 30 chocolate treats still lurking somewhere in the 5-6 acres of space I’d hidden them, well I wasn’t going to make it easy!  They were sent out again to find the remainder without hats and with free legs, but again, as always, there were still about 12 missing even after I’d been out and looked myself.  This is an eternal Shanks mystery which I’m convinced will never be solved unless the Magpies see them and steal them?

And so another Easter passed with great success, much chocolate was eaten, lots of fun was had and silly hats made.  When will I stop doing it?  Never probably, it’s a great way of getting everyone together and making some brilliant memories that will stay with us all for a lifetime, and in some ways, I would rather do silly stuff like that that doesn’t cost a fortune than take them away on holiday.  Having said that, if I ever did have the money I probably would take them away, but we would have to go all together…….family is everything!





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