The farm has a ‘general’ kitchen used for all kinds of activities and one commercial kitchen used for preparing food for the homework club. which has to fulfill all kinds of rules and regulations. In particular, it should have a paper towel and soap dispenser: apparently failure to have one of these can cause an outbreak of biblical-quality plagues and the arrival of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (carrying a nasty letter from the Hygiene Department).

Of course we could buy a dispenser, but that would be boring and would require us to actually spend money, so the boss told me to “have a look and see what you think would work”.

I got together with some of the kids in the workshop*, and we made this.


I hadn’t done this sort of thing since I was officially signed off sick from my apprenticeship a year ago, and the space I had to fit the thing was squeezed between the wash basin and a fuse box**. I distinctly saw a spark come out of a hole I was drilling at one point but the cook is a former electrician and he assured me that if I had hit a live wire the resulting sparks would have reached halfway across the kitchen, so we carried on and I managed not to look too surprised when it fitted first time.


The piggy was made by incredibly competent student and former fashion designer M, who spent six weeks simultaneously putting up with me and the children, and somehow organising our chaotic workshop ‘when she had time’. Unfortunately she has since left the farm to complete her training as a kindergarten teacher.

There were mutterings that having a little pig in a strictly vegetarian kitchen is at least somewhat ironic, but we liked it, so there.

*We’re always encouraged to do this so the children can learn alongside us, make something for other people, et c. It also means that if we make a mistake, we can say ‘It was a learning project’…

**Germans seem to take a rather robust approach to electricity and water in close proximity. The same approach applies here to children and animals,  tall climbing frames, and sharp objects.