|They may look cute but their intentions are sinister! (from www.sylvanianfamilies.com)|
A couple of weeks ago I was perusing the Argos catalogue (the laminated book of dreams for all you Bill Bailey fans!) and I came across an arm chair that I thought would be perfect for our living room. It was upholstered in deep red fabric with wide arms, perfect for curling up in with a book. Then I looked at the price - £5.99, surely not! This must be some sort of wonderful, magical error! My finger hovered over the ‘Buy Now’ button. And then I realised it was a toy chair, for Sylvanian families. Oh the disappointment.
That same week I was wandering around the covered market in Oxford. It was particularly blissful as it was a Friday morning and therefore had all the fun of a Saturday minus the hordes of people impeding your progress and preventing your speedy access to caffeine. I wandered into my favourite tea shop and purchased a delicious smelling bag of pear tea and then on to the florist for some beautiful red lilies. As I wandered past for my favourite baking supply store, feeling utterly happy and relaxed, a thought struck me. This was what I used to do with my Sylvanian families. I set up a little community in my cupboard and walked them from store to store picking up their groceries and bunches of flowers. Sylvanians were in my home décor, my weekend plans. The thought struck me - I’ve always wanted to live on a river boat. I had a Sylvanian river boat! The Sylvanians even have control of my dreams! I could almost see my giant furry puppet master in the sky pulling the strings.
Where else to go in times of crisis but a fellow sufferer? A friend of mine, who for her own good reputation will remain nameless, has recently set up her Sylvanians again in an airing cupboard. She is 32. When her husband suggested visiting children could play with them we both scoffed at his foolish suggestion. You can’t let children play with Sylvanians! We were exceptional children who had saved up for months for the racoon family and so treated with the love and care they deserved. Modern day children, with their sticky fingers, not so! When I told my friend of the disturbing echos from my childhood I had been experiencing not only did she know exactly what chair I was talking about but also said ‘Oh yes, haven’t you realised my house is basically a full size Sylvanian house?’ Scary. And true.
They say all things come in threes so I was not surprised when this week, while watching Kirstie’s Homemade Britain, another childhood behaviour that lives on in me came hurtling to the fore. Kirstie was entering a craft competition based on the book The Secret Garden. I remember reading it again and again as a child so it’s little wonder it has entered into my adult psyche. I had pretty much forgotten the story until Kirstie started making felt robins. It was the robin that led the little girl to the Secret Garden. My gaze went out of the window to my bird feeder. Designed to attract robins. Oh my.