Thursday, 6 November 2014

A sylvan interlude....

I am struggling mightily with the writing of a blogpost about the development of Aberystwyth's famous 1914 department store, Gosthwaites.

So rather than make you wait even longer for an update from Small Worlds and its UK branch, I thought I would bring you up to date about the fate of the many little animals I introduced into my home about this time last year.

But before I do that, just a word about how I left Small Worlds on 19th October.   That departure is of course my excuse for not having updated the blog since then - first of all driving across Germany with two delightful stays en route, and then the return to England where I have to relearn how to live here.   

One difficulty I had not anticipated is returning to a home that is still fairly new to me.   Butterfly is not yet back from New York where she is coming to the end of her day job as a text and voice coach on Tamburlaine.   I could find nothing in the house - I spent the first few days muttering "I am sure we had x..." but could I locate it?   No.    

That has now passed, thank goodness; Butterfly's return is imminent and the last few days have meant completing the unpacking so that she can actually get into the house with her luggage.

The final events in Small Worlds were the Farmers' Market on 18th October, which always brings in many visitors, and the setting up of the new window display which will of course have to stay in place until I return there in late April next year.

We had around 60 visitors between 8am and noon on the 18th.   Lovely to see so many people but very hard work for my young helper and me.   Quite a few visitors dropped by to bring gifts and say farewell for the winter which was a delightful surprise.  I was all talked out by the end of the morning!

But then there was the window display to set up.   In preparation for this I had been cajoling friends who had come to stay during the summer months to try their hand(s) at 3D jigsaws of buildings.   Have you ever tried these?   Once you have, a flat jigsaw will never provide the same level of challenge! But there is a great sense of achievement when you finally, and after much cursing, behold the completed building in front of you.   Just take a look here for example.....

By the end of the summer, courtesy of Diana and Janet, Lynda and Sheila, I had amassed no fewer than 7 of these constructions - a Normandy farmhouse, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a Breton house, a row of houses in Bavaria, a Norman church, a lighthouse with adjoining accommodation and largest of all, Camelot.   

I was left to complete Camelot myself after friend Sheila had returned to England.  She had moved onto it believing it would prove easier than the lighthouse, which gave rise to more cursing than all the others put together....

She was probably right about Camelot because otherwise I would not have been able to do it since I am spatially challenged. It therefore took me quite a while to work out that the printed diagrams were all back to front.   Grrrr.

You can see six of the seven on my dining table since as you can see photographing them in the window itself gives a rather surreal effect.....

The setting up involved much shouting through the glass of "a little to the left; no that's too much..." by more friends, this time Jana and Ondrej from Prague.   

In the end we achieved quite an impressive display.....but whether any of my friends will ever visit me again is another matter.

As a bonus there is a surprise Christmas offering in the smaller window which will be revealed at the appropriate time by another Jana who has been left with a set of keys to Small Worlds so that she can go in and play if she feels like it.

So back to the Sylvan interlude.   Some of you will remember last year a surprising number of furry creatures snuck into our new home.   They moved with alacrity into the Art Deco Triang which I had been fortunate enough to acquire after years of searching for one I could afford.   Some concern was expressed by readers that the animals were to be evicted when the house went to the Czech Republic......

I am pleased to report that, despite my failure to acquire additional accommodation for them in the form of a caravan as I had hoped, they are well and happy and in fact a model of how to live in peace with members of other species - a salutary example to us humans!   

The last time you saw some of them was in this post but since then my granddaughter has been very busy. 

Summer is ruling in Sylvialand, despite the cold winds outside.    

She has given the house a nursery extension,

installed decking...... 

.....and invited the entire population to join in a garden party, hosted, I believe, by the Rabbit family.

The baker's shop is doing a roaring trade 

as is the Sylvanian equivalent of Small Worlds 

And the youngest Sylvanians are having the time of their lives

Unfortunately the Meercat grandparents have got lost en route to the party, probably because grandfather's spectacles refuse to stay on his nose, but keep dropping onto the floor of the car.

And meanwhile, back in Small Worlds, the Art Deco Triang has a new family installed - you may remember the Caco family were evicted from the patisserie  to make room for the one who had previously lived in the Opera Singer's House?

The Cacos spent some time hunting for new accommodation....... 

but when my granddaughter visited Small Worlds in late August she came to their rescue and, as you can see from the final series of photos, they are now much enjoying their new home.....(and yes I do know there are not enough bedrooms or indeed beds....)

I hope you have enjoyed this interlude;  I shall now return to my struggles with Gosthwaites and I hope to see you again in the not too distant future.   Thank you for following thus far....


  1. It is always a pleasure to wake to a dolls house post!! I have always been intrigued about the 3d puzzles, but you have a fine collection in your window. Good luck with Gosthwaites.

    1. I'm delighted you enjoy them Helen - thank you for always commenting so regularly - I lay bets with myself to see whether it will be you or Chrissie first but it's always lovely to see both of you :-)

  2. What a wonderful post with fantastic updates. So pleased you had so many visitors even it was hard work.

    Lovely that Butterfly will soon be home again and you can get back to normal :)

    Take care

    Love Chrissie xx

    1. I'm always delighted to see your comments Chrissie - see above about the bets I lay!
      I have now met the chef and he is waiting in the "To go to Small Worlds" box though I might find a job for him before that...thanks again :-)

  3. Oh well done that granddaughter! Sylvanian decking is a stroke of genius. They are all having such a good time - even the lost meerkats!

    The photo of the Cacos in search of their home is fantastically creepy - Jumper Man looks like he is casting a spell. So pleased to see that Baby is safe and well. It is well, isn't it???

    The idea of 3d jigsaws makes me feel rather ill - are you sure they are not the devil's work? Many hats off to you and band of friends for completing them.

    Going to look at photos again now :-))

    1. Yes, but we can't play Jenga now :-(

      Well it depends which baby you mean - there are four that I can think of without racking my brains...the one in the pram with the little girl is a neighbour's child. As is the little girl with the fancy hat - work of Milena the Milliner, like the ones in the bedroom.

      Now I would have thought you were the ideal candidate to do a 3D puzzle. I am dismayed to find you view them as you do cereal....

      You will probably be sleeping with the families shortly by the way :-)

  4. Great update, I bought my kids a 3D puzzle of Big Ben for Christmas last year but might have to get them a couple of houses this year to keep them busy ;-).

    My daughter has a huge collection of Sylvanians too but they are packed away now as she has lost interest, I think I will have to get them out for a play now :-). Do you have some in Small Worlds as I think they would be a lovely attraction?

    1. Well I think so too Diane but Butterfly has kind of taken against them....I might be able to sneak some in when she isn't looking. After all, I already have a Bear Cavern.

  5. Better than sleeping with the fishes…


  6. That Art Deco Tri-ang is to die for, it really is. It is, of course, set beside the seaside, in an area that might once have been fashionable in the Regency era, but is now a haunt of the Bright Young Things.... it is simply glorious.

    1. It's probably my secret favourite....Funnily enough you are quite right because where that horse is on the right of the photo, there is now a beach scene...

      Though I guess in real life the house would be up on the cliff above, not the beach....

  7. I love the vintage Triang and the Cacos are lucky to find such a great new home. I also love your window display. I'd quite like to have a go at doing a 3D puzzle one day. They look great made up.

  8. So glad you had a safe trip to England. The puzzle houses are just incredible! And all the animals look very happy. :)

  9. Well, I don't know where my previous comment got to... In fact, I was the first not Helen or Chrissie!!

    What I said was how perfect the Cacos look in the Art Deco house.

    And I can live with Sylvanians in the children's corner - I just don't think they deserve equal adult billing with the rest of the collection!

  10. Have really enjoyed reading your update. You do sound a busy lady!!! It sounds like Small Worlds is doing fabulously....and it looks like you have had a lot of fun particularly with your 1930s Tri-ang. Celia