Friday, 8 July 2016

Summer and sunshine - and sadness

I arrived back in Bavorov on 15th June this year, full of enthusiasm and ready to open Small Worlds for the summer season on the 18th.   Something of a rush, I know, but really all that needed to be done urgently was to change the window display, still full of autumn mushrooms as I had left it at the end of last September, and unpack many of the items I had collected throughout the winter from charity shops and ebay in the UK.   I had also been lucky enough to receive gifts for Small Worlds, and they too needed to be photographed and acknowledged. 

I was delaying a blogpost until all of this had been accomplished but I had not reckoned with the devastating effect on me of the result of the referendum on 23rd June.   It has been so overwhelming that it would be wrong of me not to at least mention it.   It wiped out any desire to do anything for several days.   Others have expressed my feelings more eloquently than I can so I will content myself with linking to them here and here, so that those of you who do not share my feelings can just ignore it,  and I can take myself back into my controllable world of small things, since the real world is collapsing around me.

I remember when I first got involved in the dolls house hobby that people used to ask me why I did it.   My reply then was that I had a job which involved trying to help people resolve intractable problems in their lives, things over which they often had no control.   The world of miniatures is a controllable world - just as the text on my flyers, written by Ruth Allen three years ago, so coherently says:  

Do you remember when you were little? I mean really little, when everything in the grown-up world was too big for you, and it seemed there was always someone bigger telling you where to go, what to do … and then someone gave you a dolls house, or a model garage. Or perhaps a train set or puppet theatre.  

Maybe your Mum or Dad made it for you, maybe a kind aunt or uncle bought it, perhaps it was handed down from another member of the family. 

No matter. Suddenly there was this small world where you made the decisions; decided where everything went, and what they should do......

I feel very blessed that I can still enjoy this hobby, nearly forty years on and that I am now in a position to share it with others.

The day after I got back this year, I whisked the autumn window away and replaced it with a seaside scene, based on an extended version of the shell shop that I wrote about last July.   Sadly, as usual, photos of window displays are not entirely successful.....

In the smaller window I placed a little homage to my mother, who not long after she was widowed, fulfilled a fervent wish to own a Jaguar, a make of car to which she remained faithful for the rest of her life.

Backing onto the Jags, and facing into the museum, I stood a noticeboard displaying greetings cards made by a friend in England, Pat Klijn.  They are beautiful and quirky collages and I hope to sell some for her over here.....

Pat has also been instrumental in acquiring a miner's cottage (seen here in the Beamish Open Air Museum) for me which is currently under construction by the skilful Colin Rose, who built the Czech village house in Small Worlds, to which he has recently added a beautifully tiled roof - a photo of the tiling next time.  

And much more of the miner's cottage next year.....

Having sorted the display, I spread out a lot of the things that I had brought with me, keeping back some surprises that are going to appear in the window during the summer - I don't want to leave the shell shop there too long as the sun beats very strongly onto that side of the building, and colours fade rapidly. 

Here you have an overview of some of my new acquisitions......

...and a close-up of three new chairs from the Take a Seat by Raine Designs collection, many of which are already to be found scattered amongst the houses in Small Worlds.   

There will be more of Raine Designs to come later in the summer.....

Much new china and glass has arrived  

Some very exotic animals 

And a large number of odds and ends - just a small sample here....

My particular thanks to Lynda for her stunning creation of glass jars brimming with liquorice allsorts - sharp-eyed readers should be able to spot one in the photos above - to Noreen for much lovely china and glass, amongst other things, and to Rose for some of the exotica including the delightful binoculars which have already found a home in the Colonial bungalow.
Now all I have to do is find a home for everything else!   

I shall be back very soon with a further report on the summer events in Small Worlds but in the meantime, before I settle down to watch a DVD of Dr Who, I'd like to leave you with a delightful model created by the daughter of Milena the Milliner, who is responsible for the many wonderful hats in Small Worlds - a fully functioning (well almost) Tardis, made out of a plastic bottle..... 

Sadly I am no better at photographing flashing lights than I am at dealing with reflections in windows!

Thank you for visiting my blog after such a long gap - I shall be back soon with more news from the controllable universe of Small Worlds.


  1. Hmph, thought I'd commented, but it must have got eaten. It was lovely to see you, and the museum, last month, and we are currently enjoying the delicious coffee you gave us. And my friend has just built the most beautiful fireplace for her latest creation....

  2. welcome back and with some lovely new acquisitions.. looking forward to seeing future developments. If only we could time travel....

  3. Strange that I thought of you when I woke up this morning as I was wondering how you were. Sorry that you feel so affected by the referendum. I am sure it has shocked so many of us the way it went.

    Beautiful window display and nice new things for the displays as well.

    Take care and enjoy your summer

    Love Chrissie xx

  4. Good to read you, Gil, and to see all the goodies you have taken back. I am very sorry about the referendum result - I had wondered how it might affect you and your family, given that you have homes in two countries. And there is so much ongoing uncertainty, and horrible racism - it is very difficult to see it from far away, and must be so much harder for you. Take care - I am glad that your small world provides comfort, and I hope the big world recovers.

    1. Thank you Rebecca. It is indeed all very nasty at the moment and it is hard to see how things will resolve. I have dual Czech/British nationality so should not be in danger of losing my home just yet, but who know what may happen.

      I am likely to be hiding in my small worlds for some time to come!

  5. What a wondrous collection of Things! A dog (Newfie?) bigger than an elephant, only to be rivalled in size by a rabbit. And a teeny teeny tiny tiny deer, dwarfed by an ewer. Happy sigh. xx

    1. It is indeed a Newfie, well spotted. I couldn't resist him at a dolls house fair. I feel a dog show coming on. The teeny teeny tiny tiny deer has already found a home as an ornament in the Czech house. The rabbit poses a problem....but I have no doubt of your ability to come up with a solution :-)