Saturday, 1 June 2013

Can it be Christmas?

Well if you go by the weather at the moment, then possibly it can.....and I must say that it feels a bit like it for me this weekend.

I am in Bonn at the moment, staying with one of my oldest friends, and enjoying the "airlock" between my two very different lives, a village in South Bohemia and what has now become a suburb of north London.   And the reason it feels like Christmas is that not only were there four ebay parcels to open waiting for me here, but that Small Worlds has received two brilliant items on long loan.

First the ebay parcels - whilst "on leave" from Small Worlds I have been amusing myself by trawling both the UK and German ebay sites for dolls house items.   One thing that has emerged from that, other than a few purchases, is further confirmation of what I already knew - what a fantastically lucky find the Essex Dolls House Haul was.   Most of the houses I have seen on ebay are not only very expensive, but also, to my mind, fairly boring and samey.

Three of the six Essex houses are anything but that, and to think that I got all six for the princely sum of £35.55, is simply amazing. 

Bep experimenting with thatching methods

Plans are afoot for their imminent reincarnation (you may remember that one is scheduled to become a Ballet School) but they already look good from the outside.   

As far as the Ballet School goes, I am pleased to report that the multi-talented Bep, who was last seen thatching a cottage, spent some of her time in Small Worlds making tiny tutus.....

I bought several dolls house books on UK ebay, and when I got to Bonn there were more ebay parcels waiting - a set of furniture and dolls for the house in the Children's Corner and a couple of other items that had taken my fancy.   
I hesitate to say that I have no idea what to do with the Jester - hesitate because I have little doubt that Andrea will at once come forward with an impossible back-story that I shall feel impelled to illustrate in miniature form!   

But maybe he can join the puppet group that Bep found time to restring (and in some cases to refoot, rehead and rehand....they have been much played with by my grandchildren).    If you are wondering about the white polythene structure on the table, it is a new chimney for the thatched cottage - more of that in another post.

But on to something much more exciting.   Very many years ago - about thirty in fact - I was asked to help locate a suitable dolls house for the younger daughter of the friend with whom I seek refuge each time on my journey across Europe.   (I think I may have been partly responsible for infecting said daughter with the highly contagious dolls house bug. I well remember her enthusiastic participation, at the age of ten or so,  in cake making for our patisserie.)    
I found a suitable house somewhere in London and transported it to Germany in the back of my camper van.   Susanne fell to with a will and sat alongside her father whilst he was enjoying his hobby of making full-sized furniture, working on Mini-Mundus kits to furnish her Greenleaf Pierce house.   Luckily she did not have to make the house up from kit form since I had managed to find a shop display one, already assembled.    Later the family moved to New York where it became very easy indeed for Susanne to continue to pursue her hobby since America is an amazing mecca for miniaturists.

And now I am delighted to say that she has offered me her house, complete with furniture, on long loan to Small Worlds, and I took delivery yesterday.

Although the furniture has suffered a bit from living in a family of four boys, there is nothing that cannot be repaired, and I am delighted to see it all again.

Last night we unpacked the furniture in order to repack into the all-too-familiar shoe boxes (I thought I was done with them!) and tomorrow we will try to get everything into the car.   Theoretically son left the space for a house measuring 35.5x33x25 inches when he loaded the car.

We shall see.....

I was particularly happy to renew my acquaintance with the family and servants of the house, which were made to order by a friend of mine, after the style of Judith James who made the dolls in our big Victorian house.

The Pierce will not appear immediately in Small Worlds since Butterfly has reserved the right to add the Pierce to her list of successful restorations and she won't be back in the Czech Republic until early next year, but in the meantime I shall enjoy its visit in my spare room.  

Thank you Susanne!

Almost more exciting is the other long loan to Small Worlds because it was completely unexpected - and there is so much of it.   Or maybe I should say - so many of them!  

Fourteen small, neatly labelled boxes of the most perfectly preserved lead soldiers......

I had asked Susanne, with her four boys now grown out of the playing-with-soldiers phase, whether they might have some no longer wanted ones to go in the fort in the Children's Corner.   They hadn't, but my friend then announced over supper last night that she had something, though certainly not for children to play with, which could be of interest.  And she then produced the fourteen boxes which had been collected by her brother and passed to her by his widow.  I am overwhelmed by this donation - I knew her brother well and so it is an added joy to be able to have something of his in Small Worlds.   

I have the perfect display shelf for them, though I am a little worried about scale and perspective.  And the regiments will have to take their turn as there won't be enough room for all of them to do battle at once.   But it will be delightful to set them out, turn and turn about.

Thank you Inge!

I have been somewhat daunted to see on the news tonight that there is flooding both in southern Germany and the Czech Republic, some of it directly on my route.   Spare a thought for the people of the very beautiful city of Passau which, sitting as it does on the confluence of three rivers, has been subject to severe flooding throughout its history.

I am crossing my fingers that there will not be a repetition of 2002, when the frontier was closed between the two countries because of the heavy floods.  I hope that my next blogpost will come from Bavorov and will highlight the Children's Corner which still has to be set up before the Official Opening on Saturday 15th June.

Thank you for following this journey - see you again very soon.


  1. What a lot of lovely new toys!! Small Worlds is really going to have to get bigger...

    Hope the flooding doesn't impede your progress south - travel safely.
    Alison xx

  2. Longing and longing to see it all! Hope the floods won't impede your progress - or ours, come to that! 12 more sleeps before we set off, probably 17 before we see you!

  3. Such wonders you have on loan and wonderful ideas for all of them.

    Hope your journey is a safe one

    Chrissie x

  4. Gracious heavens - where to start?
    Susanne's house - or rather, mansion - is breathtaking. It reminded me of the Addams family abode, in a good way. It would require a bit of grunging...however I'm sure Butterfly has a fully-formed plan for restoration.
    I have always been partial to model soldiers and am vicariously thrilled by their arrival. And how lovely for them to be with you, given their provenance. At some future stage, please to post more photographs and identification. Thank you kindly. Could they be in the Marvellous Mouses' show? Am uncertain about their size.
    What to do with the jester is simplicity itself. You will be relieved that you can't possibly to do it, because it would fall into the category of model/diorama. In fact, I don't even need to tell you and can just enjoy the idea myself :-)
    Hope you have not fallen foul of the floods.
    Andrea x
    PS a request - please do the thing that means when we click on a link it takes us to a new tab, so your site remains. Ta.

    1. Working backwards:
      Will do my best re PS though may have to consult Butterfly. Actually I thought I had done it.....

      Delayed departure by a day and situation calming in S.Bohemia so heading off shortly. Fingers crossed.


      Soldiers are diorama size themselves and would not work with meeses. Packed in car already or I would oblige with a measurement or two. You would be allowed to set them out to your heart's content were you to ever be in their vicinity :-)

      I am having no spooky Addams houses in Small Worlds. I should be frightened to enter at night!

  5. What a wonderful long term loan the house is, lucky you. We've decided we need to shrink down and come and live in small worlds, we could be The House of (miniature) bears!

    Hope the flooding does not impede your journey. We're looking forward to the next phase.

    1. There is already a Bear Cavern - your space awaits you :-)

      I am now safely here, thanks.....

  6. Hope your journey goes spite of the flooding.
    How wonderful to have the loan of your friend's, daughter's dollhouse. Whew! That was a mouthful!
    I am sure you will lovingly restore it...look forward to the photos.

    The lead soldiers sound could set up various battle or diaramas!