Monday, 11 April 2022

Sylvanian Spring Part Two - "Come inside!"

As we enter Easter Week 2022 I return, as promised, with Sylvanian Spring Part Two - we have been outdoors in the Sylvanian village so now it is time to take a peek inside the houses and other buildings to see what is going on.

I have in the meantime travelled a long way in the real world and am spending a few weeks in England prior to making my way back to Bavorov in early May to finalise getting Small Worlds ready for the summer season. We hope, if nothing gets in the way - but who can predict that nowadays? - to open on Saturday 18th June, with normal weekly opening hours following on from then.

This will be a word-light, photo-heavy post, showcasing Butterfly's work setting the scene, telling the stories, and taking the photos whilst I sat and admired her endeavours.

She painstakingly explained to me that in order to reverse the scene accurately, the buildings had to appear from left to right, rather than from right to left as in Part One.  (Or vice versa - I am the first to admit that the reversing of shapes and patterns is a total mystery to me, even when carefully demonstrated!)

So starting on the far right when looking into the window we have the water mill, which houses the baker's shop, known for its delicious Danish pastries.  (Although we call them Danish pastries, the Scandinavians call them Wienerbrød/Wienerbröd = Viennese bread).

No Wienerbrød for Grey Squirrel today though, just a plain loaf and a roll to match.

Tucked neatly between the baker's and the café handily next door are the café tables, not a seat to be had as usual, especially when the sun is shining....

Meanwhile the proud parents of Mimsie Meercat are considering whether to wait for a space or head home having bought some pastries from either baker or café to go with their coffee.

The café next door - buying much of its wares from The Water Mill - is busy.   The Hedgehogs are choosing their morning treats and little Master Hedgehog, in despair at not being able to see properly, has climbed up for a better view.

Ah - now he's happy with his sandwich!

Moving along the street we come to the sort of shop no tiny village should be without - the Dollshouse Emporium!  

In the summer, the owner prefers to mount a display outside, leaving a rather empty shop, but in the spring it is safer to keep the houses safely indoors, away from the April showers.....

And finally we reach Rabbit Range, an imposing house with much space - which is sorely needed since after all these are rabbits and we know all about their breeding skills!

Despite the house's size, as you can see, it has been necessary to convert part of the garage to gain enough space for the ever-increasing family....

Here's the latest addition......

Mrs Rabbit really can't afford to take her eyes off her brood for a moment - look, there's one heading for the stairs while she's waving to Mr Rabbit outside....

And by the time she gets in - oh no! There's two of them - let's hope she is just in time!

So that brings me to the end of the update into springtime goings on in Sylvanialand and it just remains for me to thank Butterfly for all her hard work and to wish you all a very Happy Easter!

 Well - just one more thing. I hate to end a festive occasion without some music but seriously - did this ever catch on?

PS I recently gave a talk about Small Worlds to a group called the Collectors' Studio. It was done on Zoom and can be found now on YouTube. There is a written list of associated links I am happy to send anyone interested.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Sylvanian Spring Part One - "Let's go out!"

 A week or so ago Butterfly and I headed to Small Worlds to remove the Christmas window and replace the display with something more suitable for the time of year.   Because we are still busy unpacking in the "big world" we needed a fairly quick fix so decided to make use of something that travelled over with me from England during the move - the Sylvanian world.

For once I am writing about something that is actually commercially available in toyshops and online in the Czech Republic so these delightful little animals are easily collectible over here. In fact I have had visitors in Small Worlds who have their own collection of Sylvanian families and houses, and there is an avid adult collectors' world out there to be found in many countries.   In some of these the brand is known as Calico Critters.  For more information you can take a look here and here or just google for Sylvanian collectors.

Not that I have had my own collection very long.    In fact I see that I was very dismissive of them back in 2012 when I wrote a blogpost all about scale because they certainly do not conform to any notion of that. Many of the animals have a hard time fitting into the furniture made for them, and as for the relative sizes of the animals themselves.....! You will find mice taking on bears and rabbits the size of elephants. Meercats and cows mix happily, as do penguins and wild boar.

But a couple of years after I wrote that post I read a detective story in which one of the children collected Sylvanians and the descriptions were so enticing I took a further look at them. As luck would have it, my granddaughter was trawling the internet with me and fell in love with the meercats at the same time as I did with the hedgehogs,   And another collection was born of course!

Another fairly comprehensive earlier blogpost about them is here.  But now we are in another country and a new setting.

As is usual with me, everything emerged from the packing boxes in a state of total chaos....

Whilst I sat and sorted through the boxes, grouping and brushing up the families, sorting and cleaning the furniture and accessories, Butterfly started to set out the houses and cars in the window and then began to tell herself stories about what was going on there as the families joined in.

Because this is a window display, the items can only face one way of course which is why this is a two part blogpost.   At some point in the next few weeks Part Two will reveal life inside the buildings and we hope that you will enjoy both glimpses into this particular Small World.

As usual I end with a stream of assorted photos. And two items of good news. If all goes well we hope to open Small Worlds as usual this summer, after the gap in 2021.  Provisional opening date is June 18th.    And my good friend Jana Vlckova has found a relatively easy way of translating the blogposts into Czech so Czech readers will once again be able to follow the miniature scene at Cestininy domečky pro panenky because I hope to be able to continue it if she does not have time. Thank you Jana!

See you soon in Part Two of Sylvanian Spring!

Monday, 20 December 2021

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.....

....if you can find the time between two house moves, one deep into a Covid-ridden Europe.  I am afraid that Christmas has been relegated to the back of my mind this year, as has progress in Small Worlds.

I have only just returned to the Czech Republic from the UK, where I have been since last July closing down our house there, and arranging for the bulk of my possessions to be moved across to the CR. A task made far, far more difficult thanks to the nonsensical intricacies of the new rules following Brexit.  

I have found a delightful bolthole in the countryside just outside Hertford, for my hopefully frequent visits back to the UK, and so the rest of my worldly goods have gone there.   My thanks to my new landlords who have done so much to make me welcome, and to all those who have helped with the move - Jo, Lynda, Sheila, Julia, I am looking at you! And of course Adam and Alison.  None of it could have been done without you.

Not being able to safely open Small Worlds to the public this past year has meant I have spent little time there, hence the dearth of blogposts, for which I apologise.  I hope for better things next year.

However, I did get back to Bavorov last week in time for us to put in a Christmas window at top speed (Butterfly did most of it - thank you Butterfly).

We gathered together some decorations.....  

and all our Christmas stuffed toys.   Butterfly spent an evening wrapping parcels.... 

 ....and Rose's Christmas tree stood ready to be decorated. 

Sadly, photos taken through the window of the finished display are never very successful, and we did not do the usual test run out of the window (apart from the few pictures showing what was going in) so what I leave you with will serve to give you an idea of the horde of cuddly toys celebrating Christmas. They of course wish you all the very best delights of the season, as do I!

Let us hope that 2022 brings some return to normality. In the meantime the incomparable Judy is here to wish us all a merry little Christmas now.   (She is singing in 1944 - it is poignant to realise how apt the words are to us today. )