Sunday, 27 September 2015

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness......

Despite the absence of any blogposts throughout the summer reporting activity in Small Worlds, much has been going on.....not least the taking of many photos so that I can write some posts whilst in England for the next seven months.

There have been many visitors, two visits by a small TV crew, a quick flip to the UK for me to attend my neighbour's 98th birthday party, and much energy expended in trying to survive the extraordinary heat that plagued most of the Czech Republic for what seemed like endless weeks - over 40 degrees in my courtyard. Thank goodness both my house and Small Worlds have thick stone walls to keep out the very worst of the heat..

But despite the exhausting temperatures, both in Small Worlds and in my house, things have been worked on, thought about, created - four different things more or less at the same time.

Once the shell shop - of which our Victorian papa is clearly a regular customer - was out of the way, I turned 

my attention to the interior of my 1928 Triang (just as well since I have had it for thirty years or so). It will feature in a post during the winter.   I also prepared the autumn window display, made the 3D Christmas card ready for its reveal sometime in December, and created a little Christmas scene to go into the museum for the Christmas Farmers' Market.

For the first time this year, although the proper season has ended in Small Worlds, we have decided to open for the three Farmers' Markets in the run up to Christmas.   My valiant helpers will be in charge and I did my best to leave the museum in a fit state to be viewed.   The opening hours are here.

This post covers the new window display and as befits autumn in the Czech Republic, the focus is on fungi.   Our very first display, when Small Worlds opened, was also a woodland but I carefully held back the fungi for future use.

As Butterfly mentioned in a recent post, fungi are of great importance to me; it must be my Czech heritage. 
I was therefore delighted when Lynda arrived on a visit, bearing some pottery fungi from France. 

These delightful objects immediately found a home on the lounge windowsill of the Art Deco Triang, next to the tiny Atlas of Fungi just out of sight on the table in the window nook. 

Fungi are such mysterious objects;  they appear out of the soil as if from nowhere and for centuries people believed they were created by a process of spontaneous combustion.   So what better to accompany the flourish of fungi in the forest than a host of Little People?

There was very little actual making involved in this project - it consisted mostly of setting out things that I already possessed.   But one thing I did need was a few gnome homes.  

Step forward the ever-useful strawberry container - some of you may remember its incarnation as a tent.   

This time the process was a bit messier - three containers, all with little doors cut in them, coated with spray glue, and then dunked into dried moss from the Czech cheapie shop, Kik, much loved by me and Butterfly. The dried moss is horribly dusty and unpleasant to work with, but I was quite pleased with the results.

As you can see, the Oldest Inhabitant has already taken up residence.....

I made three gnome homes and then wrestled for a while with a way to put a roof onto a tree house that I have had for a long time - here seen in the original woodland window display two years ago.

At first I planned to use another Kik artifact......

....which I reduced to its component parts.   I then tried to find a way of balancing the wooden framework on the top of the tree stump and covering it with moss in a way that wouldn't look ridiculous.   

I failed totally and after much swearing I abandoned the attempt and opted for the much easier solution of a round cork placemat, dunked in moss. 

I see from the photo that I wasn't quite generous enough with the spray glue......

The only other construction necessary was a "stable" for the trusty steed to be seen in the picture above.

I had a somewhat smaller carton available and lots of lovely pieces of bark, again from Kik. (What would I do without Kik I wonder?).

It was but the work of a moment - well, quite a few moments and some swearing actually - to combine the two elements into a steed sty.

However, in the end the tortoise refused to go in and someone else took up residence.......
Another helpful shop, the Penny supermarket, had some delightful little dwarves in a special offer during the week I was putting all this together.   There were four variations, all intended as toothpick holders, but they are now fully occupied in the Enchanted Wood.   Each has a different task, now that the toothpicks have been removed from the holders.

As the inhabitants came together, I spent quite a lot of time pondering on the difference between dwarves and gnomes, elves and pixies.   

I think the Enchanted Wood has none of the latter two and I am fairly sure that these two are gnomes. 

But what of the two females?

And the two bearded elders?   Dwarves or gnomes?   I await enlightenment.....  

But regardless of clan, deep in the fungal glades of the Enchanted Wood, all is harmonious......

This was horribly tricky to photograph as a whole, and I think my camera is on its last legs, but I leave you with more pictures - and a warning to anyone reading this, and then also seeing it in real life in the window of Small Worlds - don't worry, you are not hallucinating, the whole display is indeed the other way round.

All that remains is to thank you for reading thus far; to wish you the very best of the autumn season, with much successful fungi foraying, and, as a special treat, one of my favourite poems.....

Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath
Overnight, very 
Whitely, discreetly, 
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses 
Take hold on the loam, 
Acquire the air. 
Nobody sees us, 
Stops us, betrays us; 
The small grains make room. 

Soft fists insist on 
Heaving the needles, 
The leafy bedding, 

Even the paving. 
Our hammers, our rams, 
Earless and eyeless, 

Perfectly voiceless, 
Widen the crannies, 
Shoulder through holes. We 

Diet on water, 
On crumbs of shadow, 
Bland-mannered, asking 

Little or nothing. 
So many of us! 
So many of us! 

We are shelves, we are 
Tables, we are meek, 
We are edible, 

Nudgers and shovers 
In spite of ourselves. 
Our kind multiplies: 

We shall by morning 
Inherit the earth. 
Our foot's in the door.


  1. Perfect autumn window display - and how wonderful those tiny mushrooms from Lynda are. Not getting in to the whole gnome/dwarf thing now - I hope the necessary reference books aren't in storage, though I fear they are xx

  2. Just magical with so many wonders. I just adore the little hedgehog and will definitely be making some of those..always wonderful to see your ideas and to read your posts

    Love Chrissie xx

  3. what a magical display this will make for your visitors while you are on your travels. Have fun and I await the next instalment!

  4. I remember how lovely and cool your museum was on a very hot day two summers ago! Hope we will see it again one day - love the autumn display.

  5. How lovely! All that swearing really paid off :-)
    According to Terry Pratchett, dwarves are very difficult to sex and beards are no help as they are sported by both. That's in Discworld at least...
    Andrea x

    1. Aha I had forgotten Pratchett's take on dwarves and gnomes. I think personally that both skirted ones and the bearded elders are dwarves, regardless of beards or not.

  6. Really cute autumn display, wish I could see it in real life :).

  7. What a fun display! Just showed my DH, though, and he gave me a Paddington Bear stare, glanced at the window and said, 'NO!' So I'll put one in his polytunnel instead as I think he loved this but is just worried about retaining his tough farmer image when neighbours call!

    Gnomes, dwarves, tote, pixies - what's in a name? They are all very cute and their homes and livestock are wonderful!

    1. Tote? I've never met a tote - other than as a bag. Where do they bob up?

      You could put a HUGE Enchanted Wood in a polytunnel :-)

  8. Eeek - so many errors above - but I'm sure you get the gist of my comment! DH is worried about my habit of filling our deep window sills with assorted bits and pieces. Jenni xx

  9. What a wonderful display! Love all the little shrooms everywhere! Getting ready for Halloween displays here! :-) xx

  10. The mushrooms in the window are so beautiful! The little gnome scene is so cute! I love making mushrooms too. Yours are gorgeous specimens!

  11. This just makes me smile delightful. Celia