After writing the guest post for Carolyn I have received numerous emails asking about the boat sand pit/box. The photo I posted of the boat is apparently very popular on Pinterest...
"there is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats" (Ratty, The Wind in the Willows) or sailing to the end of the earth with Reepicheep and Prince Caspian in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (my favourite of all the Narnia series), or playing pirates with the Walker and Blackett children in Swallows and Amazons and who wouldn't have wanted to
This early love stemming from children's books combined with my love for anything vintage and nautical and well, it is just simply something that I have always wanted to do.
So where did we get the boat from? Well, my aunt (technically my ex-aunt but she is still very much part of our family) and her husband live on the water. Their garden is lovely green rolling lawns that wind down to a private sandy beach. After storms all sorts of debris washes up onto their little beach and they are then responsible for disposing of it. Often they find old tenders (or small row boats) washed up. Naturally as soon as I wanted one there were none to be found. However, the universe provided, one washed up on a nearby beach after a storm and remained unclaimed. After waiting several weeks for an owner to materialise we nabbed it. It was definitely not sea worthy anymore, so perfect to be re-purposed into a sand pit for my little pirates. If you don't have access to a beach where boats might randomly wash up, try ebay and also the tip. I have often seen old boats at our local tip, we do live near the sea though.
Do they play in it often? In winter, yes. In summer, not so much. We have a pool though and in summer they spend a lot of time in the water. In winter though they use it a lot. Not just as a general sandpit for digging, trucks and the construction of elaborate waterways and dams. But also to play pirates and sailing around the world type imaginative games.