Monday 2 August 2021

The Last Rose of Summer.....

 ...or should it be the last summer of Rose?  Today would have been my friend and neighbour Rose's 104th birthday. Those of you who have followed my blog will know that on these occasions, from her 99th birthday onward, I made a special present for her and apart from last year, wrote a blog post about each of them.  

99th birthday - We could do with thousands more like you!

100th birthday - But there's never a rose like you....

101st birthday - Rosie's Room

102nd birthday - It's that time again....

Last year covid prevented us being together on her birthday and I was in fact taking advantage of the release of vulnerable people from isolating to be en route to the Czech Republic from whence I returned just five days ago, after more than a year away.   But I left a small gift, and a request to Jo to present Rose with a bunch of giant sunflowers on the day, which of course she duly did.

Sadly, Rose left us, very gently, mid-chatting,  in January this year.   I am, as I said, back in the UK at the moment, sorting through the contents of my cottage and wondering whether I want to stay here now there is no Rose-next-door.   As it would have been her birthday today, she was in my thoughts and, believing in serendipity as I do, it was almost no surprise to come across a present that simply had to be for her, though it sadly never made it into her hands.   I was putting off writing a blog post about the new window display that faithful friends and I put in to Small Worlds a month ago; what better time to do it than today and link it to a little, last tribute to Rose on her birthday?

Rose loved the time we spent together making things, in particular the dolls house and theatre we assembled.  

We used to play with them too and Rose loved speculating on the rent she could charge for the house. And reminiscing about plays she had seen during her life - always straight plays, not musicals please!  So apologies for Deanna Durbin  singing The Last Rose of Summer from the film musical Three

Smart Girls Grow Up. I thought it fitting to have a version by a contemporary of Rose's (goodness there are many, many recordings of this song) - maybe it's a film she actually saw back in 1939, despite it being a musical!

Rose's full name was Rosina Florence - usually called Rosie or Rose by friends and family - so when I was on the lookout for something similar to the house and theatre to assemble there was no way I could by-pass these in the charity shop.

I am so sad that for one reason and another she never received them - she and I used to spend happy hours sneering at the Guardian fashion articles and trying to guess the ridiculous prices of equally ridiculous garments. She would have loved the fashion show!

And she was very proud of the way she learned to swim in later life.  I can just see her sunbathing on those cruises she used to go on, clad in the most fashionable of bathing costumes.

As for Rosie Flo's cafe - it would have been hard to find a more hospitable person who simply loved cooking for her friends and entertaining them until the late hours.  And then producing a full English breakfast, complete with home-made marmalade,  for those with hangovers - herself included probably.  

What is more, she ran the canteen for the Rosedale Nursery employees when the war had ended and her duties as a land army girl were over.   It's only a short step to Rosie Flo's Cafe!

When I get back to my museum I plan a little space for Rose - I will construct these kits and they will make a fitting addition to the birthday presents in her very own memory corner in Small Worlds. She always said how much she wished she could have seen it.....

I hope you have enjoyed this final glimpse into Rose's long and satisfying life - you can find much more about her on the tribute website at

And the new window display in Small Worlds? Well I have to confess we cheated a little. The museum has not been open this year because the space is small and covid restrictions have forbidden it for the most part.   So faithful friends - thank you again Jana and Ondrej - and I simply removed one of the regular displays from the museum's shelves and put it in the window.  I think we did fill the gap with something - they may remember - but since I am not planning to open this season we were not too worried.

It is a very fitting scene for summer though. A beach complete with beach huts, a shop selling shells, fishermen who have changed their trade to shell-gatherers, with the aid of their trusty donkey, sunbathers, sand castles, boats of all sizes - even a Bumpa-Julie show as Butterfly used to call it.

First you will see a gathering of the component parts and then the window itself - with the usual apologies for the quality of photos taken through glass. I wish someone would invent a way of preventing reflections!

For a closer look at Butterfly's beach huts see here 

I hope life is slowly getting back to normal and I can think more about what comes next in Small Worlds. We have been very preoccupied with the full-size house in the Czech Republic, as those of you who follow Butterfly will know.   I think we are almost there now which for me will hopefully mean being able to focus once again on the controllable world of miniatures!

In the meantime, thank you for visiting the blog once again.