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BLOOMIN' BOTANIA

Before you read any further, get hold of the necessary bits and pieces, 'cos, right before your eyes, is a real winner for the kids' entertainer. Item number one is one of Max Andrews's "Botania's". Mine is the £10 job and a lovely one too. Next, one oíd flower from a flower dart or old bouquet, a couple of pieces of tissue paper, a slate, a piece of white chalk and a duster. So armed you have a ten minute laughter raiser for kids of all ages.

The "Botania" is on your table with the old flower stuck in between the flowers of the 'prop'. You inform the children that you are going to show them how to grow flowers by Magic. A boy is asked to assist you and he is handed the duster.

Taking up the slate and chalk, you ask the children what is needed to grow flowers in the normal way. Ail sorts of replies come to this question, but out of the flow of answers you pick first "Earth". Get them all to agree that that is the first essential, so with the chalk, you write on the slate, in large letters " E R T H ", proudly showing it to the audience.

You will soon be told that it has been spelled wrongly and that there should be an "A" in the word. You apologise for the error and proceed to chalk in a large letter "A", but—you place it in front of the word, so that it reads "AERTH". Needless to say, after a certain amount of banter, you spell the word correctly.

The boy is told to hold the slate while you show them the "Botania" Tube. Go to the table and pick up the tube, showing it to be empty (?). You then remove the rings and take up one of the pieces of tissue paper which you place on the top of the tube. As you reach for a ring, the tissue, paper floats off. This ancient gag or bit of business still rings a bell and you can play it as long as you dare, finally trapping the paper on each end with the rings.

Back to the boy, you ask him if he still has the EARTH, and after he has convinced you that he has, you take the duster from him and wipe off the letters. Carefully carry the duster over to the tube, informing one and all that you have collected the necessary earth, pierce a hole in the top of the tube with the index finger and shake the duster over this as though you were emptying the earth into the tube.

Return the duster to the boy and take the slate from him. Ask for the next essential thing to grow flowers and from all the replies 'take' the word SEEDS. This word is now written on the slate but mis-spelled to read "SEDDS". More business with your incorrect spelling and you rub out the centre "E D" and insert a "Y", spelling the words "SYDS". Finally, after more by-play, you spell it correctly. Repeat the business with the duster, carrying the seeds over to the tube and pretending to spill one or two as you 'pour' them into the tube. Pick up an odd seed from the table where you have apparently dropped it!

Coming back to the boy, you take the slate and ask them what is next. Now for some fun ! But take care where you do this bit of the routine. If a number of the children shout out MANURE, then go ahead if the type of people warrants it. Write the word as follows "MANYOUR" and proudly show it. More shouting from the know-alls. Rub the word out and re-write it "MAN-OUR," finally spelling it correctly.

Arriving at the business of wiping it off, hand the slate to the boy and ask "Is that manure?" and when he answers "Yes", get some fun by smelling at the slate, then turning up your nose and screwing up your face. You proceed to wipe the chalk off, all the time coaching the boy to hold the slate as far away as possible, then over to the tube, all the time keeping your head averted. But —you walk past the table, realise that you have lost it and look round for it. eventually dis-

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