Wednesday 27 November 2013

I want to ride my bicycle....

Almost another whole month has scooted past without my putting fingers to keyboard to blog further adventures in Small Worlds. 
The main reason is the difficulty I find in connecting from England to the Czech Republic, and vice versa.   Over the years I have been travelling to and fro I have found that when I am in one country, I become completely disconnected from the other.   This can lead to all sorts of difficulties with things like paying bills.....

And it seems that the disconnection also extends to writing blogposts. However I did arm myself with photos before I left the CR and so I shall try to reconnect now for a little while.

When last seen, the mouse troupe were exercising their cycling skills and where there are bikes there are inevitably punctures which require the services of a rijwielhersteller.  

For those who don't know it, this is a nod in the direction of a wonderful Dutch card game called "Stap Op", in which you cycle across Holland meeting all kinds of problems en route.   (It also exists in a far more boring French form called "Milles Bornes", which involves cars.)

But I, like the mice, want to ride my bicycle.....which means that one needs a rijwielhersteller, better known in English as a bicycle repairman.

Which of course brings me to the next breadbin.   I had actually planned to make a car mechanic's workshop
but when the idea of the multiple breadbin window display came to me I realised that it would be faster and easier to make a cycle shop.    

I had a few miniature tools, mainly from a plastic mechanic's kit, but I needed a great deal more than that.   So out came one of the plastic sorting boxes - the one with all the stuff that couldn't really be identified, and I scrabbled through it, pulling out anything that to me looked vaguely mechanical.   Or could be made to look mechanical with the judicious use of black or metallic paint.

If you study the later pictures carefully you may spot some of the objects, reincarnated.  Click on the photos to get a better view.....

The mechanic was easy - he too was part of the plastic kit and I hauled him down from the roof of the thatched house, where he was trying to finish off the excellent job done by my Dutch friends, Bep and Irmel, and placed him in his proper milieu.

He was very happy to be back at ground level - he'd never had a good head for heights.

I had great fun painting little bits of plastic and metal which I then distributed round the breadbin.   A useless wooden fridge with a broken door, became a steel cupboard in which the rijwielhersteller keeps his most dangerous tools. 

I have no clue what many of the plastic and metal things I found were originally intended for - these things for example.   But they made useful brackets to hang tools on the wall.

My dread is that someone who really knows about these things will one day look into this breadbox and question me closely as to the purpose of many of them....

I also gathered up as many tyres as I could find in my storage boxes.....

It was easy to find wonderful vintage adverts for various makes of bicycle - life is so much easier now things can simply be downloaded from the internet and printed.   When I started in this hobby, forty or so years ago, one had to scour catalogues for tiny pictures of a usable size.   Later the reducing photocopier made a useful appearance, but one still had to reduce each picture many times to get it down to the size that was needed.

The final touch for this breadbin was to add as many bicycles as possible, without over-crowding it too much.   I leave you with a couple of close-ups of the whole thing.

Thank you for joining me again in Small Worlds.   I hope to be with you again before Christmas, with a seasonal offering, though this time not in a breadbin.   In the meantime - Happy Advent to all of you.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Mouse manoeuvres

The last month has sped past at a phenomenal rate.   At one point I was completely certain that we would not succeed in packing up and moving out of our full-size home before Completion Day arrived on 18th October.   Far easier to move many mini-houses!

But we made it and are now snugly esconced in our much smaller, rented, property where we can, I hope, relax for a few weeks before considering "What next?"   Butterfly has a beautiful craft room and I have a glorious bedroom.

And I suppose I should turn my mind to another blogpost.   But it's actually quite difficult when so much has been going on in the past few weeks, and I am many hundreds of kilometres away from Small Worlds.   But it's mice to the rescue!   Or rather it's Maximilian's Troupe of Amazing Performing Mouses.   They have a number of fans amongst the readers of this blog and just before I went away I thought I would stock up with some photos so that they could feature over the coming months, before I get back to Bavorov.  

Many of you will remember how the mice took up residence in a carefully designed home.

Some rich relations arrived for a visit but then decided to flee to a tranquil garden rather than be besieged by many tiny mouses.   Well, this excursion has inspired the young mice to plead for one of their own and Maximilian has taken up the challenge.

Cue digression:  one of the problems for non-English speakers is our rather cavalier attitude to plurals.   I offer this helpful guide to such readers of this blog who may have become confused by my somewhat inconsistent approach to the plural form of the stars of this post :

Now if mouse in the plural should be, and is, mice,
Then house in the plural, of course, should be hice,
And grouse should be grice and spouse should be spice
And by the same token should blouse become blice.

And consider the goose with its plural of geese;
Then a double caboose should be called a cabeese,
And noose should be neese and moose should be meese
And if mama's papoose should be twins, it's papeese.

Then if one thing is that, while some more is called those,
Then more than one hat, I assume, would be hose,
And gnat would be gnose and pat would be pose,
And likewise the plural of rat would be rose.......

Maximilian decided to take advantage of his juniors' wish for excitement and give them a little useful circus training at the same time.   After all, although he and his partner were trying to start a mouse chorale, it was still early days and, judging by the choir practices, a sideline might not come amiss.

So off he went to the nearest cycle shop, housed in a handy breadbin, and ordered an assortment of bicycles to be delivered as soon as possible. 

When the bikes arrived there was, of course, considerable argument as to who would ride what, but Maximilian had not been a successful ringmaster for nothing.   He soon allocated the bicycles to his satisfaction, and the troupe set off for the nearest suitable practice area, in the grounds of a nearby stately home, formerly inhabited by smurfs.   Who knows, maybe they will return one day to take up residence again.

As you can see from the photos - from teenage to tot mouse, a very good time was had by all!

They all enjoyed themselves so much that when they got home they didn't stop badgering Maximilian for another day out.   But that of course, is a different story......

I am sorry there has been such a long gap between posts;  I shall try to be with you again soon.   In the meantime, thank you for continuing to follow the story of Small Worlds.  It means a lot to me to be able to share my hobby - or should I say obsession? - with so many people.