I have always been fascinated by matrioshka – the traditional Russian dolls within dolls which are often so exquisitely decorated. Old-time Barefooters will remember a year when we were approached by two matrioshka manufacturers in the same season. One of them made a magnificent ‘Gigantic Turnip’ matrioshka, with a different animal depicted on each doll; the other made a ‘Babushka’ one. It goes without saying that these two are now my favourite matrioshka!

Turnips aside, I also enjoy matrioshka dolls for the way they speak to me about the passing on of traditions and values through generations. Few of us personally know our elders further back than our great grandmothers, and as a child I knew only one of my great-grandmothers, but the notion of containers within containers, and of women handing down their skills and gifts to their sons and daughters, is one that speaks powerfully to me.

Last  week it occurred to me that the internet can work in rather the same way as matrioshka. This blogpost, for example, contains another. Click on www.bluebellandme.co.uk and you will be taken to the blog of a young Barefoot friend in Somerset. Among many other diverting entries, you will find there a finely written and informative review of ‘Finn at Clee Point.’ Thank you, Arabella! I was not at all surprised to hear at an educational conference a few weeks ago that children who are taught to blog leap ahead with their literacy skills, so I hope that Bluebell and Me leads to many other blogs for children to share with each other (and of course, with their elders as well).

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