The trick is finding ones with robust stalks. It’s easier to make a slit in them and they stand up to a bit more wear and tear. If you’re not careful in your choice of stalks, the whole thing will probably fall apart. Mine always stayed together, right up until the petals withered.
The reason I got so good at making them is because of sports day. I used to dread it, for me it always soured the first sign of the hot summer months. I didn’t have to do much on sports day because, for most events, the best kids were picked – and that was never me. Luckily. I spent most of the afternoon sitting by the side of the track, slightly off to one side from my team picking daisies and plaiting them together while I dreamed of being a grown up and not having to take part in competitions ever again if I didn’t want to.
It was quite therapeutic, threading and plaiting in the sunshine, over and over again, breaking off to cheer and clap if a teammate won something. It used to lull me into a false sense of security because, although I was crap at athletics, everyone had to take part in something and, for me, the thing I was least terrible at was sprinting. Though really that was only because if you can put one foot in front of the other, you can take part in a sprint, even if – like me – you’re hobbling to the finish line long after the winner has crossed. The PE teacher used to say that this was the part of sports day everyone needed the most stamina for, waiting for me to get across that painted white line on the grass.
So on a lovely summer’s day, bright and breezy, outside somewhere green and pleasant, if there’s a scattering of daisies in the grass I’m not really there. I’m 12 years old again, lining my foot up behind a painted white line, squinting at the finish in the distance, the hairs on the back of my neck raised, waiting for the dreaded, ‘ready, set, go’ that can’t come quickly enough.