Building a castle of dreams…

My younger son called to tell me he was off work, if I wanted to bob round. He has taken a few days off to look after the girls and their Mum, who is recovering from surgery. “You can come and see the…” I didn’t catch the rest as my signal was poor, but hearing my granddaughter’s voice when I arrived, I walked round to the back garden.

“Not bad for a couple of hours’, eh?” said my son, as I admired the cardboard box castle he and Hollie had built a few days earlier, while little Imogen slept.  ‘Not bad’ was a bit of an understatement. This is a proper castle, complete with turrets, heart shaped windows that open and close, a working drawbridge, a tower and a dungeon with its own escape tunnel. It is decorated with jewels and artwork, it has a windmill for wind-power… and Hollie insisted that they add some holders for her flowers.

I was given a flower-crown to wear and invited to explore, even though she wouldn’t let me bring any dragons inside. “You’re weird, Grandma.”

Hollie is four, going on forty, and rules her father with a wicked sense of humour. I couldn’t help remembering a four-year old son who had built a full sized aeroplane from blocks, big enough to sit in and ‘fly’ and I told Hollie about it. She reminded me that he is not a little boy any more, so now he can build castles instead.

The castle is brilliant. The magical combination of love, play, time and imagination has created a whole world of fantastical stories from a few cardboard boxes. It is not as if the girls need a playhouse… they a have a wonderful wooden one, painted pink, complete with window boxes, tucked away at the bottom of the garden. Daddy built that one too… but it was Grandma, armed with a glass and paper, who was called upon to dislodge the huge hornet that had found its way inside.

“Grandma’s a crazy woman,” my granddaughter confided in her father. I was touched; their other grandparents are wonderful…they are a close-knit family… so I’m happy to be the weird one who bobs in and out, doing odd things, crawling around on the floor and disposing of monsters. She is convinced I keep pet dragons and that the sword that hangs on my bedroom wall is magical. My arrival at Hollie’s third birthday party, dressed as a fairy, has still not been forgotten. Nor has her  very loud, “That’s my Grandma!”  that made half the theatre giggle, when the Wicked Witch came on stage in the pantomime that Christmas…

Alex is a joy to watch with his daughters. He is everything a Dad should be. He can be gentle or firm at need, but he is always a loving teacher, even though he doesn’t always realise it himself. As a spot of rain fell, Hollie began to worry about her castle, but he was quick to reassure her.

“If it only rains a little bit, it might just go a bit crinkly.”

“Like Grandma…”

“But if it gets ruined,” he shrugged, “we’ll just build a better one.”

“Okay,” said Hollie, in perfect trust.

As the rain started in earnest, we went inside to play and I thought about the life-lessons my son was inadvertently teaching, and had already taught with his cardboard boxes. Lessons my granddaughters will unconsciously absorb. Castles don’t just happen, they take imagination and they take effort. Perseverance. Maybe teamwork and cooperation. Sometimes, they don’t work out…or do not last… but, using your experience of what has gone before, you can build a new one, often a better one. There is always another chance.

Castles and dreams have a lot in common; they cannot simply be bought and they are both products of the imagination, which is in inexhaustible supply. And, just because a castle, or a dream, wilts in the rain, it does not mean that it is forever lost.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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79 Responses to Building a castle of dreams…

  1. Sadje says:

    You’re so right. A valuable lesson taught and learned.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ennle Madresan says:

    This is very special–full or riches…thank you for sharing with us. Great lessons, and I love “crinkly”–so much nicer than “wrinkly” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TanGental says:

    Now theres an inspiration. Fantastic piece of cardboard engineering. As for you being the weird one I’d say a very perceptive lady..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s an awesome castle your son built! I imagine Hollie had an amazing time playing in it. As a 25 year veteran playworker, reusing and imaginative play scores highly with me. Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is lovely, Sue. I would get on with your son. Both the reblog and the like buttons have reappeared this morning. I hope they stay for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jenanita01 says:

    So lovely to see… happiness and learning in the making…


  7. V.M.Sang says:

    What a fantastic complement, ‘Grandma, you’re weird’.
    Such wonderful lessons absorbed. I wo’t say ‘learned’ because it’s more by osmosis than active learning. The best way to learn life skills.


  8. joylennick says:

    Hi Sue, What a delightful son you have! And what a great father. Too many parents do not play or interact with their offspring, more’s the pity. Lots of little girls would love a Grandma like you too…xx


  9. Mary Smith says:

    How wonderful for Hollie to have a weird, crinkly grandma who keeps dragons – and a dad who builds castles.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Violet Lentz says:

    Brilliant post, Sue. It is easy to see where your son gets his wisdom.


  11. WOW! That’s a fabulous castle. May we all build castles, if only in our mind…. xo


  12. ksbeth says:

    a perfect and magical day


  13. I adored this post. Wonderful castle – she’s a lucky girl. Quite a personality too 😉 ❤


  14. What a wonderful post, Sue. Fabulous castle, and cheers to grandmothers who keep the magic alive. You have one lucky granddaughter. ❤


  15. What a stunning life.


  16. I love this post, and the fact he does things like that with her in the first place.


  17. Jennie says:

    Wonderful! WONDERFUL!! The joy and imagination and life lessons run thick. Thank you, Sue.


  18. Widdershins says:

    It must be wonderful to imagine the sort of woman she’ll grow up to be … and all things being equal, that you will get to see her grow into. 🙂


  19. Oh so lovely… The magic lives on! A most wonderful post, Sue!


  20. How wonderful! And such detail too. Much fun!


  21. Darlene says:

    How fantastic. Your son is a wonderful father. That is one fabulous castle and one I would have loved as a child. (or maybe even now) Here’s to weird grandmas all over the world. We rock!!


  22. dgkaye says:

    Little Holly gives crazy a positive spin! It’s so great she adores her grandma, and I’m thrilled to see she’s happy and healthy. ❤


  23. willowdot21 says:

    This is such a wonderful post Sue , I just think these little ladies have wonderful parents. Daddy sounds just a lovely dad, who made him so . Crazy Grandma 🤪💜


  24. Dale says:

    Wow! All round…


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