Twenty six 7-9 year olds in front of us to learn about daily life in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Amongst other things, we dress them up, give them toys to play with and set them to work with my recently acquired hand butter churn. Of course it is the wrong time of year to make butter; the seventeenth century housewife made butter in the spring but we want the children to have an idea just how much hard work this was. As they start their lunch we leave them with the churn to plunge away with in shifts. We do have full cream milk – no hope without but wonder if we should have gone for super extra creamy milk to give them half a chance. The children stalwartly thud up and down with the hand churn for nearly 2 hours. The milk has gone decidedly yellow and there are signs of little solid flecks in it. I wonder if this may consititute slave labour so I take over whilst my colleague puts out the Great Fire of London again. Yes, as I rinse the churn out after the children have left, there is definitely something solid in there. It’s very small but it is there. I am very excited by this. Even after my short stint my arm is aching and I shall probably never play the violin again (not that I could in the first place). This is the way to begin to appreciate the sheer physical effort required for the daily tasks of our ancestors.