Sunday 7 June 2020

Brave new world?

It's a very long time since I have sat down at my laptop to write a blogpost and in that time not only has the world changed around us, but blogger has created a whole new set up to struggle through just to make our lives even more difficult when trying to write a post.

At the moment I am marooned in the United Kingdom where I find myself disbelieving everything that our political leaders are spouting, and looking with envy at the steady progress that the Czech Republic has made towards emerging safely from this terrifying pandemic.   I have been particularly moved by the Czech video shared, what now seems like months ago, with the world.

Sadly, the much vaunted (by our Prime Minister) "great British common sense" has not opted to go down this route, until now, far too late of course, like everything that has been done here.

Be that as it may, it seems unlikely that I will find myself in the comforting surroundings of my own small world in the near future.  I hope to arrange for the museum to open, in the care of my young helper Pavla, in early July when the Czech summer holidays begin - watch this website for further information.

In the meantime, I was acutely aware that the Small Worlds' window still displayed Christmas scenes so I was delighted when friends from Prague asked if they could borrow my house for the weekend.  "The Hedgehogs" as they are fondly known to us (a translation of their surname) are very familiar with Small Worlds.

Jana is responsible for translating all of the information labels on the houses...

..... and Ondrej's height, and skill with DIY tools, has been of great help on many occasions. 

So I had no hesitation in asking them to remove Christmas from the window and to replace it with something a bit more suitable.  Since I had to guide them from afar in this enterprise, it needed to be a relatively simple change so all of my more elaborate plans are hanging fire for the moment.  Who knows when they can be carried out?

At first I thought I would ask them to move Colin Rose's beautiful Czech house into the window, and to spread some farm animals around it...
...but then I realised it would be a shame to take it out of the display and also that this would be quite similar to last summer's window.  (I see I had considered Colin's house for the window that time too - one day Colin!)

It was a matter of finding some houses that would not disrupt any of the current display, nor require them to hunt in The Stables, the workrooms which I had abandoned in a state of chaos when I left in something of a hurry last October, following my mini-heart attack.

I remembered that I had, almost casually, collected over the past few years three houses made by the British maker Gee Bee (in my head I always call the trio the Bee Gees - a nice excuse for an appropriate song for the times!)

Rebecca Green, the editor of the Dolls Houses Past and Present magazine which can be found on the newly recreated DHPP website has written a very comprehensive article on this manufacturer which is well worth delving into for dolls house enthusiasts. Very comprehensive!

I can't say that I am particularly smitten by this maker. One of the two "The Beeches" was part of the Essex haul. I already had one version of The Beeches stored in my garage which someone probably offered to me - I never look a gift house in the mouth (sorry, bad joke).

The third one, totally different in that it is what I think of as 1960s chalet-style, I remember buying on ebay during one of my sporadic searches for my long lost childhood dolls house, which sadly remains unfound.....

I played my normal ebay game with it when it is something too large to post:  "If it is within close driving distance I will bid on it".  This was in Ware, just up the A10 from us so I had no excuse, did I?

All three houses were now right at the top of the shelves in the museum so nothing had to be rearranged.  However I decided against putting both Beeches in the window..... 

......and opted instead for the Ikea kitchen which sits tucked in a corner and is usually overlooked by visitors.

I call it the Ikea kitchen because it is housed in a container from Ikea which is intended for cactus cultivation.  However these little glasshouses make perfect room boxes for collectors. Sadly Ikea not longer makes them (the new one is not nearly as useful to us, though if you search online you can see people have used them thus) but the old ones are around at car boot sales and well worth keeping an eye out for.

old style
new style
The kitchen in the box is, apart from the cooker and dresser, mainly one of those wooden kits that you press out. Very basic but quite pleasing when carefully surrounded by interesting accessories 

 I left the window arrangement to the Hedgehogs and, after having to paint some more sky backdrop, this is what they came up with.  All the photos were taken after things were in position, hence some unwanted reflections, but I am very happy with the new display and much relieved that Christmas has departed for yet another year!

Thank you Jana and Ondrej.....I hope I can see it soon in real life!