If ever there was a fairy story with a set of morals we all grown up Housekeepers could use to create a life resplendant with the kind of ritual and routine that makes our hearts sing, then The Bam Bam Clock is it. Written by J.P.Mcevoy and beautifully illustrated by Johnny Guthrie of Raggedy Anne fame, The Bam Bam Clock tells the tale of one Dorothy Mary whowas, by all accounts, a wonderful little girl who simply couldn't manage to do things on time, so frequently found herself missing meals, playing carelessly and simply refusing to go to bed at a proper hour. Sound familiar? Yes, me too.
What a shame then, we cannot be visited by our very own set of fairies, eager and willing to save us from ourselves...
'Something must be done about Dorothy Mary. She is a good little girl and she means well, but that is just the trouble' 'Yes that is just the trouble' cried all the little fairies in a chorus. 'Some day if she doesn't change, she will grow up to be one of these people who mean well, but do nothing else. She must be taught how to be prompt, tidy and cheerful and we must begin teaching her right now.'
And so the fairies set up a teeny little clock in Dorothy Mary's bedroom, presided over by two Pendulum Fairies, Tick and Tock, who strike the clock to remind Dorothy Mary to wake and eat and sleep and play, and at every Bam of the clock, release a little set of Time-To-Get-Up fairies, Time-For-Breakfast fairies or Time-For-A-Nap fairies accordingly, who help this fuddled, busy, carefree little girl to do what she needs to do and be where she needs to be throughout one rather magical day, ritualised with songs and prayers that remind her to celebrate all the joys a regular routine can bless us with.
"The Bam-Bam Clock said 'Bam' and that is Time-to-Get-Up.' The Clock says so and it is never wrong. Besides, if you will listen, you will hear all the birds outside singing their Good Morning songs. Do you know a Good Morning song? "Why no, I don't, " said Dorothy Mary,"I wish I did." "When you wish for anything good, you always get it," said the Wake-up Fairies, "so now we will teach you a Good Morning song."
Isn't it just a little bit of wonderful then, this reminder that when routine and ritual shape our days we feel all the better for it? By the end of the book dear little Dorothy is a changed little girl, as dedicated to taking proper rest as she is to eating well and using her play-times to dedicate herself to purposeful, fun times carefully marked by the Bam of the clock...
Breakfast seemed to taste much nicer to Dorothy Mary after saying her prayer, but still the Breakfast Fairies had plenty of work to do, teaching Dorothy Mary how to use just enough sugar without wasting it and how to eat with- out spilling half of her food on the table cloth and how never to talk when she had food in her mouth and how to keep her spoons and knives and forks from dropping on the floor and her milk from spilling and the crumbs from scatter- ing and how to sit quietly at the table until everybody else was through.
And so we too must listen for the chime of our very own Bam Bam clocks so we are never again tempted to put off what needs to be done if we are to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. We must stick by the routines we set out in our Housekeepers Planners, dress each and every one up with rituals that make those routines as pleasurable as can be, and always, always, always make time for gratitude in our day.
This is the story of the Bam-Bam Clock and how Dorothy Mary came to be a cheerful, tidy and prompt little girl.
For we mean well too, don't we? We spend hours and hours wracking our brains to come up with the routines that will help us be cheerful, tidy and organised housekeepers and then we abandon them for an hour or three slumped in front of afternoon television, indulging in our very own guilty pleasure (Mine? The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills). Or we fall into bed too late and slump into a dead sleep fuelled by resentment for all we failed to do and another day consumed by all the things we shouldn't be...
It doesn't have to be that way. Routine might be dull, but ultimately it is twice as satisfying as always flying by the seat of your wrap-a-round apron.
This, I, and the fairies, know for sure.