Tala and Lilia (aka The Twinkles) have spent most of their third birthday doing housework.
You are wondering, I am sure,
how their mother, the Middle of the Darling Daughters, can be so mean as to expect two such tiny ones to rearrange furniture, tidy bedrooms and organise kitchen equipment. Not to mention taking the baby out in his / her pram and making sure Nanni has a well-deserved
lie down on her bed. And on their Birthday, too.
Ah, yes, this is a new World in Miniature - a doll’s house, no less, complete with furniture for every room
and some people to live in it including, as mentioned earlier, a grandmother doll who, from what I could see via FaceTime, wore specs (like me) and her hair in a bun (unlike me.) I am ridiculously gratified that my Doll Persona has a place in the Twinkles’
It set me thinking about Dolls Houses I Have Known. When I was a littl’un, I hankered after a palatial dolls house owned by Margaret
Across The Road. It had electric lights and everything which in 1955 was quite something. Margaret Across The Road was an only child and, while I did indulge in bouts of Dolls House Envy, I wouldn’t have exchanged my life for hers in any way because
I, of course, had a little sister who was worth any number of dolls houses, even ones with candelabra which lit up at the touch of a switch. Our dear Mum was always chiding my sister and me to be kinder to Margaret Across The Road and to include her in our
games - which we dutifully did, albeit most reluctantly because we had each other and didn’t really need anyone else.
My dear Dad, picking up on my desire
for a doll’s house, spent weeks in the run-up to Christmas one long-ago year making me one out of half a barrel. It had two rooms, an upstairs and a downstairs, and a curved roof made out of a piece of some kind of bendy material covered in paper printed
to look like tiles. It goes without saying that it didn’t have lights.
I fear I was nowhere near as grateful as I should have been - and my grown-up
self wishes I could transport myself back in time and show proper appreciation for such a Labour Of Love. Now that I am (mostly) an adult, I can imagine the pangs of disappointment I must have caused my poor Dad.
When the three Darling Daughters were of an age to enjoy a doll’s house, we bought them one made of wooden pieces which slotted together to form four rooms which was twice as many as in my Half a Barrel Dolls House.
We also bought some rather special furniture, some of which I still treasure today even though the dressing table is missing one of its drawers and the cushions on the two armchairs are a trifle ragged. Once its playing days were done, we flat packed the doll’s
house and stored it in the loft - where it somehow managed to disappear, never to be seen again.
Then there was the hand-made doll’s house we bid for at
an auction held at Mr B’s golf club, having taken pity on the poor guy who made it when nobody else put up their hands. I was thinking of my Dad, of course, but also of our new granddaughters who would surely love to play with it. And over the years
indeed they did. An essential part of my preparations for any visit was to tidy all the rooms and rearrange the furniture; though if I forgot, well there was Katie, Hazel and Eleanor to tackle this most enjoyable of tasks.
Granddaughters do grow up, however, and the doll’s house was moved, first into the garage where its chimney fell off, then down to the charity shop where I hoped it would find a new Forever Home
or at least a For A While Home.
It never occurred to me that I might have the pleasure of two more little granddaughters or I would have kept it, chimney-less
as it was. But to be honest, the stately mansion now stationed in the Twins’ bedroom, positioned centrally between the two beds, is rather more splendid than all the other Dolls Houses I Have Known.
I’ve seen the photos and it looks grand. Tala and Lilia, the proud home owners, have taken all the furniture out of every room and crammed it all into one. I can only think they may be planning to turn it into a House
of Multiple Occupation which will, of course, require planning permission but will mean that several more small plastic people will have the luxury of a roof over their heads.
Home sweet home!