Wednesday 17 October 2012

....and after.

Yesterday I finally got the keys to the museum room and we (I have two friends staying with me at the moment) hastened there to view the bare, newly decorated space and to take measurements.   Those of you who have been following my journey from the beginning will remember this post with the photos of a somewhat dismal, very brown room......

Whilst I have been in England enjoying weddings, important family birthdays and Giant Book Sales, work has been going on in the room to turn it into something more suitable to take a large quantity of dolls houses and allow them to be displayed to their advantage.   A kind friend in Bavorov has been sending me photos as the work has gone along. Quite soon after daughter and I left for the UK the builders started work and one of the first things they did was to begin the process of covering up the appalling brown plastic ceiling.

They also removed the dreary pale brown formica panelling - remember it?  It was clear from her photos that great strides were being made, very quickly.   Work also started on rewiring the room and adding many extra power points and lighting sockets.  

So I was quite excited when I unlocked the door.....I knew that pretty well everything had been done except the bars on the front windows and the final electrical works (there are no actual plugs or switches yet).

The first thing that struck me was the size of the room - much bigger than I had remembered.   Even before we started measuring it was clear that my worries about all the display units fitting into the space had been unnecessary.   Not only would they all fit - there are in fact more than I mentioned in my last blog post -  but we will have flexibility in how we decide to arrange them.

The second thing to strike me was how light the room is now that everything is white instead of dreary brown.   Even the remaining lino, which is still the original brown stuff, has brightened enormously and will serve very well as a durable floor covering.

The entrance archway is very cool - sadly the door doesn't quite live up to the arch itself - but I think making it darker in colour might help.  It seems I am stuck with having a glass panel in the door since the museum will be a public space and there could be health and safety concerns.  

 One thing I now regret is not having asked for the radiators to be painted as well - the photos show the windows at each end of the room, with the large radiators taking up much of the available space.

However since I plan to run one of the display cabinets along the back wall, regardless of the radiators, and at the other end the worktables will be placed under the window so that passers-by can stop to watch "work in progress", they will be fairly hidden and I think I will leave them as they are for the moment.

My other regret is not having asked for the complete removal of the washbasin and tiles.   I figured that I would still need a water supply for all the cups of coffee/tea that are going to be necessary whilst working on the houses but the unit as it stands is very intrusive and will have to be completely screened off. 

Cue digression:  The Czechs have an overwhelming passion for tiling bathrooms and other watery areas.   Anyone visiting the Czech Republic should make time not only to visit the wonderful Gothic churches and romantic castles, but also to visit a branch of what I have nicknamed The Temple of Baths - Siko.  I have a horror of tiled bathrooms and struggled desperately to persuade my builder that 
having one is not a compulsory fact of life.   I won in the end but had to concede some tiling in the shower room....

The other thing that will need some attention is the "back" door which leads to a long corridor, somewhere along which I hope are some toilets.  The door is utilitarian in the extreme and I plan to hand it over to Butterfly for her splendid transformative skills to work their magic on it.
But over all I am delighted with the space (it was even pleasantly warm, proving that the radiators do work) and I am now much looking forward to the scheduled arrival of the houses and display units at the end of this month.   In the meantime I am trying to decide whether I should have blinds at the windows so that the contents will not be fully exposed to view in my absence....I do have a feeling that if someone really plans to break in and cause mischief they will do so, regardless of precautions, but on the other hand I have always rather liked the saying "You can't keep trouble from coming, but you needn't give it a chair to sit on....."   

Thank you for visiting Cestina's Dollshouses today.   There may be no further post until the houses actually get here, when once again you will be able to see some chaos as they are decanted into their space.   All the display units have to be painted before the houses themselves can be unpacked - oh joy!

Wednesday 10 October 2012

En route at last - well almost!

I have been very silent over the past weeks haven't I?  I see with horror that my last post was almost a month ago.   I have had an excuse (well several excuses actually). The first one, as some of you will know, is that we have had a second Giant Book Sale which has involved much shifting, shelving and pricing of books, stepping over cartons, mountaineering past bookshelves hauled from other parts of the house.....None of this could have happened without the indefatigable help of the amazing Jo who has been untiring in her efforts - thanks Jo!   (And thank you too for preventing murder between self and daughter on occasion.)

Warm thanks to everyone else who has helped with the book sale or who came to buy - I met a number of lovely people who share my hobby of collecting Girls Own books - school stories and other books written for girls.

Our "bastelroom" looked like this and that's just down two walls.   The bay window is now also framed with books and so is the fourth wall.   The books are staying shelved until we actually move out of the house, probably early in the New Year, so if anyone wants to come and browse, do please make contact.   

Some of you may be wondering what a "bastelroom" is so cue digression.

"Basteln" is a useful German word meaning "to do handicrafts", to "make something with one's hands" or even "to tinker".  When we first moved into our house about forty years ago one of the room's incarnations was as a kind of hobby room and the name has stuck.   This led to a confusing scene at daughter's primary school when she had to describe the rooms in her house and wrote about the "bustle room".  Teacher was deeply puzzled by its function....

I have recently discovered that "fröbeln", based on the name of the educationalist Friedrich Fröbel, is used in a similar sense, which pleases me greatly.

Alongside this feverish activity went a constant sorting of the contents of the many uniboxes (good heavens, they are still sold) which had made their way up from the garage over the past weeks.   Hurling each empty, dusty box into the garden to wash in the rain was a great feeling of achievement.   Too much chaos for son who then tidied them all up.

After reeling in horror at four quotations for the removal of the houses to the Czech Republic (one from Her Majesty's removal firm, no less - which left me wondering just what she needs to have removed?   A sudden decision to send a favourite piece of furniture from Buckingham Palace to Balmoral perhaps?) it has been decided to hire a Box Luton van which a friend will drive across at the end of the month.   Now we are just crossing our fingers that everything will fit in.

One advantage of my already heading across - at the moment I am staying at the airlock between my two very different lives, the house of one of my oldest and very best friends near Bonn in Germany - is that I can take proper measurements of the museum room and decide whether we can accommodate all of the larger display units or not.   There are four large upright oak cupboards (old BBC filing cabinets I think) which I plan to use on their sides as base counters for the display, plus quite a lot of shelving (seen above in a state of collapse) which is not intended for the museum but for my house there.    A couple of oak desks, also ex-BBC which will be the working surface in the museum for new house constructions are also poised to leave, and of course the many dolls houses, either bubble-wrapped or in giant cartons.   

Just before the book sale our front room looked like this - note the fruit boxes filled with many books still to be shelved for the sale.

It then went through a stage of looking like this.......

And by the time I left on Monday night the room looked equally full but now with a degree of order out of chaos as the houses gather prior to departure on 30th October.

The sticky task of finally readying them for the van - boxing up some of the remaining smaller houses and bubble-wrapping the remainder will fall to my ever-helpful son and daughter, as will the loading of the van.   They are both delighted that I won't be around to interfere.......I'm quite happy too!   And eternally grateful to them for their unswerving support in this enterprise.

Thanks to everyone who is still reading at this point.   As I said, I am now en route for Bavorov and will be moving on tomorrow night, arriving there, all being well, on Friday evening.   I will then have to contain my soul in patience as I assume I won't be able to get the keys for the museum room until Monday.   After that I promise another blog post with photos of what I hope is a transformed room.    

Now to think about a name for the museum that works in both Czech and English - all suggestions will be gratefully received!