Love On The Rocks Peterborough - part of the new pebble painting craze
Anyone who hasn't heard of increasingly popular painted rock trend must have been living under a, well, need we say more?
Stone love has become stronger still during summer holidays with kids across the country turning time back by, wait for it, playing out!
TVs and tablets have been turned off, games consoles and fidget spinners snubbed, in favour of great family fun in the great outdoors.
Old school as that may sound, pebble painting or “rocking” is successfully taking today’s children back to nature in their own back yards.
Fresh air, open fields and street corners are being revisited, as in byone days, with youngsters aplenty aspiring to be illustrated rock stars with not an Ozzy Osbourne tattoo in sight.
The widespread craze sweeping our nation has gone global, so much so supporters are - with apologies to Quo - rocking all over the world.
Social media groups glory in such titles as “Who Gives A Rock” and, amassing an amazing 65,000 members, “Love on the Rocks” - the Peterborough facebook group (Love On The Rocks Peterborough) alone has more than 8,00 members).
Together they share decorative design ideas and images of finished articles in this thriving new twist on traditional hide and seek - Central Park, Ferry Meadows and Cuckoo’s Hollow are particular hotspots in Peterborough.
“Hem Rocks!” is one such community hub on a roll as young and old alike colour, photograph, find and hide stencilled stones far and wide.Lucas Carter, aged eight, is among growing band of followers, mum Angela confirming “he was so excited to hear about this”.
She explained: “We go out on daily walks in search of a rock find. It’s brilliant how it’s got children, young people and adults outdoors and chatting about it.
“It’s a great idea that’s a free activity, done at a time convenient to you. Perfect for the summer holidays.
“It’s grown as families create their own rock masterpieces to hide and to be found, some choosing themes that making learning fun. Thanks for bringing Hem Rocks to Hemingbrough!”
Mum of two Laura Trembath agrees. “It’s a great way of getting kids involved in village life, bringing everyone together for one big game over the summer”.
Added Lauren Kirk: “My little boy is too young to really get involved with this at the moment but I’ve really enjoyed spotting the rocks on our dog walks, and noticing when they’ve moved on the next day.
“Particular favourites have been (Magic Roundabout) Dougal and the Full English. It’s a great idea to get people of all ages out and about in our beautiful village. You all rock!”
And, although receiving stony response from some killjoy councils on health and safety grounds, this mania shows no sign of gathering moss.
As with many fashionable fads, we have transatlantic trend to thank for birth of art rocks’ role in Cape Cod heart shape of Kindness Rocks Project.
Collecting colourfully decorated stones, covered with cartoons to cryptic messages, soon spread from coastal resorts with abundance of raw material.
Rising fives to aspiring artists have got in on the act, transforming humble rubble into works of art, waiting to be found, concealed and discovered again.
One enthusiast advises newcomers: “Decorate pebbles using acrylic paint or permanent pens, then seal it against the weather, using clear nail polish or varnish.
“Write the name of a dedicated Facebook group on the back, hide it in a safe place, wait for someone to find it, post on your group, then watch its journey.”
Yorkshire’s Wendy Keniwell commented: “We love finding rocks out and about on our travels. We found one on the East Coast the other week.
“A quick FB search for the Channel Rocks group showed it’s a group in Kent. Cool how they all travel, reminding me we need to re-hide it somewhere new”.
Some rocks cross continents, one such rolling stone - presumably within baggage allowance - winging its way from public places in London to Morocco.
And they have spread moving messages as with Manchester Arena attack tributes that bore city’s emblematic worker bee symbol and #lovemcr hashtag.
Loraine Laybourn said of her addicted granddaughter Lily Caisley: “She loves painting rocks and hiding them. Lily’s nine and only just got into this craze.
“We found a stone in the Lake District and brought it back to Yorkshire to hide somewhere. Since then she’s designed a few more, always signed with her initials.
“We love searching them out and looking on the back to see where they have come from. It’s a brilliant idea because kids love colouring the stones in.
“It’s a bit like waiting for your pen pal letters when I was a kid”, added Loraine, for whom Pebbleart Ingleton has become a family affair.
Secret of its success? Psychologists suggest our 21st century need to still connect as communities.
Rookie rock hunter Ella Trembath, aged three, simply says “I just love finding bright stones”.