Friday 27 July 2012


Those of you who have been following the progress of my journey to a dolls house museum of my very own here in the Czech Republic will know that a meeting was scheduled for Wednesday to look at the room I shall be renting.   The Mayor and the Head of Technical Services picked us (daughter and me) up at 9 am and we drove the very short distance to the room.   Good thing it's a short distance because it means that even with my arthritic knees I should be able to manage the walk once the houses have moved in there.

This post will be mostly photos of how it looks now so that a later post - I hope in mid-September when I come back to the CR after a very busy August in England - can show the "After".
Seeing the room without the exercise bikes and other fitness objects it did seem to be a little smaller than I had remembered it, but it is still big enough providing we are clever with the shelving.   The two end walls are identical, with windows and huge radiators beneath them which is annoying because it wastes space.   However I shall site my worktable at one end and the windowsills are wide enough to hold room boxes or small houses at the street end to tempt people into the museum.

 I was thinking that I would have the work table at the other end but two visiting friends think it would be interesting for people to see me actually working on houses and miniature items through the window.   I am not at all sure I can work tidily enough for that to be possible - as you can see from work in progress on Laura's Life in Books! 

We agreed that the formica panelling would be ripped off, the ceiling would be lowered so that the brown tiles would thankfully vanish from view without too much trouble and the pipes at ceiling level would also disappear.   The pelmets too will be removed - I shall probably install blinds but certainly no curtains.

I should very much like to also dispose of the wash basin but since I do need a water supply I fear I am stuck with it. The broken mirror will go and I have asked that the tiles either be removed or painted white like everything else in the room.   The Czechs have a passion for tiling - it is very rare to see a bathroom that is not tiled from floor to ceiling and I shocked the builder when I refused to have a single tile in mine.   I did allow a small amount of tiling in the shower room!   Some discreet screening around the door and basin should solve the problem.

Lowering the ceiling - a brilliant idea from the Tech Services man -will also mean that it will be worth installing ceiling spotlights as well as having wall lighting.   The present ceiling is too high for spots and has three fairly useless neon lights.

At the moment there are only two power sockets, both on the same wall I think, and so there will be double sockets installed at approx 2 metre intervals around the walls.  (Note to self: I must remember to tell them they need to be about 1 metre up.)    Lighting is key with dolls houses, and most of them need to be lit from the front, so further lighting will be discussed with the local potter who also doubles as the museum expert in a nearby town, Prachatice, which has a lovely little museum of its own.   Prachatice also houses a puppet and circus museum (further note to self: arrange mutual advertising with other museums).

There are already bars on the rear window, which opens onto a very untidy courtyard; these will be painted white and matching bars installed at the other end.   It's a pity that such things are necessary but needs must.....

The floor is the only thing that will remain as it is but once the rest of the room is no longer brown and tatty, the floor will be quite acceptable - and hopefully not show too much dirt.

It was a very satisfactory meeting!   

I went home and concocted a letter to the Mayor to thank him for all his help, and setting out what I believe we have agreed, and a kind visiting friend translated it all for me, together with the help of another friend.   

Cue digression: I have noticed in the past that we are far "politer" in our business dealings than Czechs.   (The inverted commas are deliberate)  We British like to disguise what we are saying or demanding with lots of phrases like "I would be grateful if.....", "Perhaps it would be possible to....", "I wonder whether you might consider.....?" when what we actually want to say is "Do this please!".   That is how the Czechs would do it and so the process of translation, which usually happens in my absence, led to somewhat heated discussions about how best to phrase things.   To my English, Citizens Advice Bureau trained soul, the Czech way is  unacceptably abrupt and to Czech ears the English method is unnecessarily convoluted.   But we managed in the end and since I had asked her, as I always do, to "czechify" it, I really didn't have a leg to stand on.

So for the time being I can stop thinking about dolls houses and turn my attention to packing for the journey home - except that, much to my daughter's dismay, I succumbed to temptation on ebay last night and will have to take a trip to deepest Essex as soon as I get home to collect these .......

I couldn't resist the Tudor ones and it occurred to me that it would not hurt to have one or two houses available for sale once the museum opens - at least that is my excuse and I am sticking to it!  And at £35.55 for six houses I think I have a real bargain......hmm, there's also the diesel cost of driving to the far side of Essex I suppose.

Our other worry, apart from the packing up and a long drive ahead, is that in the past few days we have been adopted by this little mite and it became impossible to not feed her.   We just hope that she will manage to find another equally soft touch amongst the neighbours once we leave on Monday.   I do have great faith in the ability of cats to control the humans around them........

Thank you for still following faithfully - I can't anticipate the timing, or indeed content, of the next post at the moment but I promise that there will be one - I suspect it may feature six Essex houses!

Monday 23 July 2012

Positive thinking works - Huzza!!

A short post today to thank all those who sent positive thoughts for the meeting with the Town Council earlier today.   

They clearly worked!

Those of you who have been faithfully following this tale from the beginning will remember that, although I am happy to pay rent and the running costs of the museum, the room I have been offered, though well-sited and a good size, is in  dire need of redecoration and rewiring.    These costs I really cannot afford to carry myself.     

A friend, Mirka,  came from České Budějovice in case I needed help with my Czech. We carefully prepared the arguments we thought I might need to persuade the Council that a dolls house museum would be a tourist attraction, and therefore of value to Bavorov.  My friend Jana, who had previously done all the negotiating with the Mayor, left for Bielorussia this morning.

Earlier in the day the Mayor had called round to check I was coming to the meeting.   He caught me still unprepared for visitors - the Czech day starts at least two hours earlier than an English one.

However, nothing daunted,  I gathered up my butcher's-cum-fishmonger's shop which I had hastily tidied over the weekend, and my little, unfurnished and very grubby Fairfield, to give the Council an idea of what would be in the Museum, bearing in mind that although doll collecting is a known hobby in the Czech Republic, dolls houses barely exist here. 

For good measure, and given the Czech passion for mushroom collecting - on arriving for a weekend visit one does not enquire about the weather but greets one's host with "Jsou houby?" ("Are there mushrooms?") - I decided to add 
Peter the Mycological Rabbit to the mix.  He is housed in a sort of fishing basket from Ikea.

When we arrived I decided that "Town Council" was a misnomer and that this was probably the Inner Cabinet, or the Finance and General Purposes Committee.   The Mayor, three others, and the Clerk who is very enthusiastic about the project, but of course has no say over financial matters.   We sat down and held forth briefly, me in my best ungrammatical Czech, but it then turned out that Jana and the Clerk had done their work well.   Everyone already knew that the room as it stood was no good, they had had a preliminary meeting and agreed that they would redecorate as I wished.   I then threw in the electrics which caused a slight hiccup but they agreed to finance that as well.

A meeting is now scheduled with the Mayor and the head of technical services on Wednesday morning, at the room, to take things forward.   I blenched at the idea of 8.30 so we settled for this space.

The Czech wood spirits were clearly with me! 

Sunday 22 July 2012

"Small is beautiful" - but is it the right scale?

The question of scale in dolls houses can be fraught with difficulty and argument.   Does something need to be precisely made to scale in order to look right in a particular house?   Does it matter if something is vastly out of proportion to the other things around it?   Or does the fact that many people consider a dolls house "just a toy" override the need for precision?

In the forty or so years that I have been collecting and making houses and miniatures to go in them I have tended to be fairly pragmatic about scale and work to the premise that if it looks okay, it is okay.   In other words I do relatively little measuring of items to see if they are exactly to the scale in which I am working.   I reckon my eye is pretty good by now and also, by not being too precise, I am working in the best tradition of some of the early miniaturists.

But I do try to keep things looking in some sort of proportion.   I worry, for example, about health and safety issues for the tiny doll in this picture as she deals with the large blue frying pan on the wall - let alone lifting that huge kettle down off the hob. 

And I have severe problems with a popular set of modern miniatures, the Sylvanian Families.   Their heads would be enough by themselves to fit that scale of furniture!

Many of the antique dolls houses one can find in museums round the world, or stately homes in England - a rich source of dolls houses since one was often made for the children of wealthy families by the estate carpenter - are to no particular scale.

Cue digression: It was Vivien Greene, the estranged wife of Graham Greene, the novelist, who brought many of the English dolls houses out of hiding in lofts, stables, cupboards, when after the war she wrote round to stately home owners enquiring as to whether they maybe had a dolls house hidden somewhere.   The results of her enquiries formed the basis of her amazing collection at the Rotunda in Oxford - the home she had built for them in the grounds of Grove House where she lived - and her seminal book English Dolls' House of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, first published in 1955.   Sadly the collection was auctioned off in 1998 when failing eyesight meant that she could no longer enjoy it.   I visited the museum in the early '90s when she was still showing people around herself - wisely, she allowed no one under 16 into the Rotunda.

It was also as a result of Vivien Greene's researches that it dawned on estate owners that the dolls house that was lurking somewhere on their premises might be a tourist attraction.   She was very firm about the notion of "renovation" not being a good thing, something that is still an aim for many collectors of old dolls houses today.  If at all possible they should be "restored and preserved" rather than "renovated".   

The scale of houses and their contents really became important with the advent of commercially built houses towards the end of the 19th century.  The most commonly used scale for "collectors' houses" such as the Dutch House I have been describing in previous posts is twelfth scale (1 to 12).   It's a scale that is very easy to work with  - for those of us in Britain who grew up before the metric system for measurement was introduced in our schools.   Something that is five feet tall in real life converts to five inches in the dolls house world.   But unless those used to the metric system have equipped themselves with old-style imperial rulers (fortunately still available if you hunt a little, or can be printed from on-line sources) they can struggle a bit if they want to convert precisely.

I have also met 1/10 scale, particularly in Europe, maybe because it is easier to work with in the metric world.   However it does make for very large houses.

A scale that is increasingly popular for collectors is "half-scale" or 1 to 24.   Half an inch equals one foot.  It allows for much smaller houses and the next one I will be talking about getting ready for the museum, the Fairfield, is in twenty-fourth scale.

Normal scale for children's dolls houses, if you ignore the Barbie monsters, is either 1/16th or 1/18th and this is what you find in Lundby houses, and the Jenny's Home you can see in this photo on the right and in the Triangs of our childhood below. 

I apologise for the quality of the photos, they are scanned from an ancient magazine article about my collection and will have to do until the houses themselves emerge from their dustcovers in the garage.

As you will see as we go through the next weeks and months preparing my houses for display, much that is not in the "correct" scale can be used, with discretion and to good effect.   But this level of disproportion is to be avoided at all costs!!

After tomorrow's meeting with the Town Council about room possibilities for the museum, which I hope to report back on tomorrow night, there may be a lull in new posts to the blog whilst we entertain wall-to-wall visitors in our last week in the Czech Republic and pack up ready to return to England for the month of August.   Once there I will try to pick up the blog again fairly quickly but August is crammed with events in the real world and so the controllable world of miniatures (the reason why I find it so attractive - things do as you tell them) will have to take a backseat for a while.

Thank you for following this adventure with me and please send positive thoughts for the meeting tomorrow!


Saturday 14 July 2012

Going Dutch or anyone for coffee? Final part

When  I unpacked the Dutch House on arrival in the Czech Republic I was faced with several packets of cereal (the Czechs are only slowly catching up with the idea that cereal made of oats is a good, healthy idea) and a number of shoe boxes jammed into the two rooms .  The most daunting one looked like this - in other words I had simply hurled everything off the shelves in the coffee shop when packing it up and now I faced the task of replacing it all bit by bit.

Actually I quite enjoyed it - I had forgotten what I had collected and placed in the shop over the years in the way of tea and coffee pots, machines, and other coffee related items and even more I had forgotten what had gone into the making of various "commercial"  items.

The coffee pots and grinders were easy enough to fish out, clean and place somewhere suitable.   Well, that was the case until I reached two lots of things made of real silver.   I tried to clean them with ordinary cleaning materials, using a soft toothbrush as I had been for all the nooks and crannies of the empty house, but they still looked fairly grubby.   I was deeply regretting the fact that I had left many bottles of silver polish with my friend in Germany en route from the UK - it's her regular order.  

I certainly didn't want to buy a whole bottle for the tiniest tray set I had ever seen.

  But one coffee pot was to go in the window of the shop so clearly could not remain tarnished and the tray set was annoying me.....So I let google be my friend and looked for a solution.   Toothpaste.....I was very sceptical but headed for the bathroom and lo it is true!   Toothpaste works very well on silver.


If you can spot the tiny tray set in the upper photo you can see the difference between the cleaned tea pot and the jug and sugar basin which are so small that I could not really hold them to get toothpaste on and off without damaging them.

After locating all the "hardware" in suitable positions, ready to be glued down at the end of the process, I turned my attention to the tins and jars of coffee.   I remember raiding various catalogues for labels - the house was made before the days of the internet and in-house printers.   

Cue digression:  If one wants to make small labels or books nowadays it is very easy - source the thing you want on-line, copy it into a Word document, shrink it to the size you want and  print it all out once you have a page full of book covers, labels or whatever.   

That's of course providing you can get the flaming printer to work... excuse the language!   

It's how I made the "Your Life in Books" present for my daughter-in-law last summer that you can see in the photos.  

When I made most of my houses, however, it was a matter of sourcing the picture you wanted at approximately the right size and then taking it to a copy shop where they had shrinking and magnifying photocopiers and reducing it even further.   It was an expensive process because it was often a matter of trial and error before one got the correct size.

Most of the tins and jars were rescued from Barbie shopping trolleys or other miniature shops and then relabelled.   But I came across some adaptations I had done from everyday household items - the ever-useful toothpaste tube top for example, now an Espresso jar.

And because I hate lipstick I was very pleased with how I was able to recycle some vintage wand-like tubes of lipstick.   

Once everything had been cleaned and dusted, and a few of the labels reglued, I put it all back on the shelves with a spot of Prittstick under each item so that the house could be safely transported to the town museum without a minor landslide occurring in the shop. 
You can just spot the lipsticks on the back shelf.....

There were a few more things to sort out but since my daughter is here in the Czech Republic at the moment, busily crafting away with a well-equipped range of materials to hand, I thought I would ask her to make these for me.  

The most important item was an advertising hoarding to cover up the fact that there was now a redundant window in the wall that had to be removed for museum display purposes.   It will now be leaning against the back of the house instead of attached to the side.   You can read all about how she solved the challenges right here - the rest of her blog is also well worth exploring.   Diky moc Alison! 

All that was left for me was to get the scent of coffee into the shop (which was done by using the failed attempt at creating a silver vase for the music room out of the metal base of a nightlight)  and to make the pulley which I had rashly mentioned in the already translated blurb for the museum.

Since I had only the vaguest idea of how a pulley worked I sat through a tedious You Tube video three or four times until I was quite sure I had grasped the principle correctly and then looked around the house for something to make it with.   I found a small packet of press studs left over from when we bought my three year old grandson some new jeans last year and they looked very promising.   I then cast around for something to use as rope.   I settled on the laces that I used to keep my specs round my neck, instead of permanently lost.
I had got the mechanism partly rigged with a great deal of swearing and cursing when daughter appeared and said it was completely out of scale and anyway shouldn't be made of nylon.   Perfectly correct but I wished she had interrupted before I had ruined 3 perfectly good sets of specs laces.  Anyway, in the end I was pleased with the pulley and no one need know that the rope doesn't actually reach the ground so any sacks lowered by it would come to a messy end!

So the house was ready to move to the museum where it is now enthroned in a glass case and probably longing to be released into a museum of my week I should be meeting with the council again to have further discussions about the room I hope they will be willing to have decorated for me.   I will report back in due course.

In the meantime I am moving on to working on a 24th scale house so watch this space.......

Oh - and the people in the music room?   Well, they had stowed away in one of the shoe boxes.   They actually live in the big Walmer dolls house I mentioned in a previous post - Grandmother and a visiting friend, Mrs Francis (so-called because she looks exactly like a friend of my mother's who was no friend of mine!).   They must have had an urge to travel since there was no intention of them coming over to the Czech Republic.   But since they are here I thought that they would be more comfortable in the dignified surroundings of the music room, with coffee always freely on tap,  rather than in my granddaughter's more modern and rather over-crowded house.......

Thursday 5 July 2012

Going Dutch-or anyone for coffee? Part 3

So where to start?   With music, known to be the food of love, or coffee which, according to a Turkish proverb, should be "black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love"?

I think we will go upstairs first (though irritatingly this is a house with no stairs, something which always infuriated me as a child).  I have already mentioned that it was finding the kit for the Mini Mundus Grand Piano that made me decide to make the upstairs space into a music room, but one grand piano would clearly not be enough by itself.  
The Mini Mundus kit contains over 70 parts and takes a while to build.   It's so long ago now that I can remember very little about making it.   I know that I decided not to go for the very shiny finish that the link I posted in Part 2 displayed - such shiny pianos did not come in until rather later than I wanted my room to portray, and the one in the link above was far more what I was after.   I used a walnut stain on the wooden pieces, remembering to stain before gluing the kit together - I was caught like that in the early days of making miniature furniture - as all miniaturists learn to their cost, the stain will not take over glue......

Once the piano was ready, I 
needed to find some music for it so kept a sharp eye out for tiny sheet music.   It's surprising where one finds it - on chocolate wrappings for example!   I have a selection of little brass-bound glass boxes in many sizes - you will be able to spot two or three in various roles in this house.   Here one serves as a music container.   

In the background of the photo you can see a muse standing proudly in a niche on the wall. Or perhaps not a muse but Plato reflecting that "music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul".

One of the delights of furnishing a dolls house room is that things that have simply been picked up somewhere and kept  "in case they come in useful sometime" always eventually find their proper home.   That is certainly how Plato arrived, and also the plaster niche on which he is standing in this photo.

So now for some more musical instruments.   I already had a harp in the Walmer dolls house so decided to move it across to the Dutch House.   In fact I had two harps...

Cue for digression - there used to be a range of metal pencil sharpeners made in various vintage shapes - I managed to gather up two or three old-fashioned cash registers, a sewing machine, a cello (or it might have been intended as a double bass), an old-fashioned gramophone and film projector, a globe, a harp and numerous others.   You can see some of the range that was available in the photo - it was scouring the internet for a suitable photo yesterday that made me realise how many there must be  buried in boxes in the garage in England.   

They came in a slightly odd assortment of scales (there will be a whole post devoted to the tricky subject of scale soon) but with care they can mostly be incorporated into some sort of miniature scene.   With the possible exception of the Golden Gate Bridge which I have just discovered also exists in the range!   

For a time the metal harp was in the music room but it has now been consigned to the attic - the Dutch House attic of course.

The superior harp however joined the grand piano in the music room and I looked around for some other instruments to complete the room.
I found a very cheap range of brass instruments, one of which is actually a brooch - often useful sources of miniature items - and then turned once again to the pencil sharpeners for a cello. 
But in the final incarnation this too has been consigned to the attic and a totally out of scale cheap plastic violin has been recruited to act as a cello.   All these are tastefully distributed round the room and that's the upstairs completed.

Ah no, I forgot the lighting - if the house inhabitants want to play at night they need a lighting source so there are also two candlesticks, the one on the piano nicked from a Barbie or Pippa set (remember Pippa? The dolls actually work scale-wise as people in some of the larger dolls houses) and the other made of glass and really rather nice.   That one has ejected Plato from his niche to give more light to the pianist.   Plato now stands on yet another lucky find - a pillar from a cake decorating shop.

Next time - the coffee shop.   But I also promised to update you on the negotiations with the Town Council for a room of my own.   Yesterday we were able to see it for the first time, still full of the exercise bikes and other instruments of torture one finds in a "Wellness Centre" (a misnomer if there ever was one!).   The windows were partly covered with a strange reflector so it is hard to see how much light might come into the room.    

We have very mixed feelings - on the plus side the location is ideal, next to the library and very close to the Town Museum and the size is reasonable, if somewhat spoiled by a wash hand basin gratuitiously stuck on one wall, but the decor!   Oh dear!  The ceiling is covered with depressing brown plastic tiles, a bit like these, but smaller and without the benefit of stags' heads and Christmas tree.
They almost match the lighter brown lino floor, thus pulling the  room down to seem much lower than it is, and there is brown formica panelling on the bottom half of the walls all the way round. (I detest brown). The lighting would not work for a museum and there is a lack of suitably placed power points.
It could all be dealt with of course but the question now is whether the Council might be prepared to do some at their cost rather than my having to carry it all.  They will after all be getting an attraction to their town - the local museum has problems getting visitors from outside the area and once the locals have made one visit they don't come again unless there is a special exhibition.   So I do hope we can come to some agreement.   

Further discussions won't happen till after 17th July when my friend comes back from Croatia to ensure we all understand each other perfectly, as my Czech can be somewhat haphazard at times, so once again - watch this space.   Before that - the final stages of preparing the Dutch House and then on to the matter of scale.

It is lovely to read your comments and to know that people are enjoying the journey - do join as a follower to keep me company along the way - and congratulations to anyone who spots today's changes in the blog. (A change will also affect all previous blogs, so no clues there I'm afraid.)  It's how I meant it to look all along but the controls wouldn't work - a serendipitous mistake meant that it suddenly did as I wanted! 

You know you've made it when you've been moulded in miniature plastic. But you know what children do with Barbie dolls - it's a bit scary, actually. 
Cate Blanchett

I'd like to inspire more people to delve into the world of miniatures so I am joining the Inspire me Fridays linkup at Joyful Stamper

Monday 2 July 2012

Going Dutch-or anyone for coffee? Part 2

Once the outside of the Dutch house was sorted more or less to my satisfaction I turned to considering what should go inside.   I already knew that downstairs would, as far as possible, be a replica of the wonderful coffee shop in Dordrecht, which sadly no longer exists.

But what could go upstairs?   I really didn't need another dolls house with a bedroom, I already had far too many.   I burrowed through the wooden kits I had bought over the years and found the Mini Mundus Grand Piano kit - I'm glad to say it was much cheaper than now!   That solved the problem, it would be a music room, so I started to keep an eye open for objects that would fit the theme.

Firstly though I had to decorate the walls.  A straight paint job would not do; I felt that there needed to be some sort of panelling. I decided that the lower walls could be covered with a sheet of balsa wood and topped and "tailed" with some mouldings and skirting boards.   I first painted the walls white and then gave the balsa wood the same fetching shade of green (more sample pots of paint from the local DIY shop) as the beams on the ceiling, which are also made of balsa.

Cue for slight digression - balsa is brilliant stuff for minature making since it can be cut with scissors or a sharp craft knife.   It can even be used for making furniture as long as it is just for display and not for children to play with.  

I stuck on the panelling and mouldings and thought that it still needed a little more so once again had recourse to my bankrupt stock of Liden plastic ornaments, painted to match the mouldings/skirting boards.

The flooring is a sheet of real wooden parquet flooring, coming, as much of the stuff I have, from America.

Cue for another digression: We were lucky enough to do a house-swap in 1981 to Washington DC when I was just getting really into the hobby, which was much more advanced over there.   By sheer chance the neighbour family who took care of us were also into miniatures and we had a fantastic time going to fairs and specialist shops.   It's where we bought my biggest and most beautifully furnished house which you will meet in a much later blog.   

The company I bought it from, Walmer Dolls Houses, were local and we went there to buy it.   They let me take away a ready-built house instead of the normal flat packs so that I could have it with me whilst in the States,  to start collecting wallpaper, furniture etc.

They agreed to repack it for me just before we left so that it could be shipped to the UK on the plane with us.   When we took it back for repacking they kindly handed over 3 new flat packs  instead of dismantling the original.  Imagine our horror when only two of the three packs came through at the baggage reclaim at Heathrow.......

We waited what seemed like hours for the next plane from Washington.   I had visions of a half-built house.   But all was well when the third package arrived in perfect condition and the house has now pride of place in our living room.   I am still dithering over whether it should stay in England, wherever we end up, or come to my museum in Bavorov.

With the music room decorated I turned my attention to downstairs.   Again from America, I had some shelf units which I had intended to use for a library in the Walmer, and panelling which was also intended for that house.   Fortunately the "one day" syndrome had meant that I had never got round to using them and I realised they would be ideal for the coffee shop.   

The shelves fitted perfectly and I painted them in what I remembered as the Dordrecht coffee shop shades of blue.   The panelling on the left in the picture is in fact not the superior one from American but balsa wood again, topped and tailed as above.

The superior panelling was put to a different use - I of course needed shop counters and it occurred to me that glued together, with the indispensable balsa wood as the endpieces, the American panelling might work very well.   I added foamboard (another very useful material) counter tops and the work was nearly done.

I can't really remember how the flooring came about.   It doesn't look like something ready made but I have no clue how I achieved the effect of broad wooden boards, if I did it myself.  All that then remained was to make some sort of window display holder and Norman came to my rescue there.

So now to fill it all up with coffee and music - what a blessed combination!   But that has to wait for Part 3 of the Dutch saga.   Thank you for reading this far - I hope you will stay with me........                  

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; 
I know the voices dying with a dying fall 
Beneath the music from a farther room. 

Thomas Eliot  Love Song of Alfred J.Prufrock (1917)