A team of experts and volunteers at 79 Chillworth Road, Tavistock, are still struggling to cope with a major environmental clean-up, three weeks after a group of children were allowed to play unsupervised with Play Doh.
The disaster occurred after a play date organised by Mrs. Muriel Franklin for her five year-old daughter got out of hand. ‘We thought they’d be okay on their own and the tennis was on, so we left them to it,’ she revealed, as she stared dejectedly at the aftermath. ‘It’s bad enough scraping it off the laminate under the dining room table, but where it’s been walked into the hallway carpet… I don’t know if I can carry on…’
‘I told her not to get that bloody stuff out, but would she listen?’ said husband and clean-up supervisor Derek Franklin, who has had to take time off work to dig it out of all those little holes in the sweetie making machine with a toothpick, and that thing where you squish it through the funny head to make different hairstyles.
Disaster recovery expert Professor Nigel Stoleford warned that the use of Play Doh should be monitored by a responsible adult at all times. ‘It’s a difficult material to work with and the pictures on the box only serve to provide unattainable aspirations to the nation’s young. What the makers don’t seem to care about is that the children just get bored, throw it on the carpet and wander off to watch telly. You need at least one OCD parent for every four children to even begin to contain the fallout.’
The incident has been described as the worse disaster to hit the 1950’s maisonette since 2009, when Mr. Franklin’s brother-in-law spilled a bottle of red wine on the new living room carpet. ‘He was making a statement: that having a cream carpet was ‘trying to be posh’. Luckily he doesn’t bother us anymore since his dressing gown ‘accidentally’ fell open in front of those carol singers, but the stain is still there. I don’t know whether to be pleased or angry that it’s now obscured by a rock hard lump of f***ing Play Doh.’
At the time of writing, at least seven volunteers have had their fingernails irreparably stained or have lost their sanity while attempting to separate the brownie-grey mess back into its constituent colours – a task that even the brightest estimates suggest won’t be completed until 2028.