Childhood! What a time that was! And so very long ago, too...
Mr B and I revisted those halcyon days today with a visit to the Brighton Toy Museum, with fellow
members of our Questers Group. Yet another hidden gem of a place which we had known nothing about, despite living only 20 miles away for the last 28 years.
Mr B and the others fellas were in
their element as toy trains were the main attraction. Oh, sorry, according to Charles, whose collection this was, anyone knows that these are "models" not "toys". I stand corrected.
We hear about
the history of the museum from the appropriately named Tigger. I am mesmerised by the beautiful russet coloured boots she is wearing. I don't usually get fixated by shoes, to be honest. If there is one part of my body I would choose to change, it's
my feet. And, bearing in mind the state of the rest of my body, you must admit that's saying something. So normally shoes, boots, slippers and other footwear leave me cold. But these were darling boots, they really were. I found myself gazing at them
covetously, even while Tigger was explaining how much it cost to keep this little museum alive (about £70,000 a year, in case you are interested.)
This year the Museum has received Lottery funding
for a project to mark the 150th anniversary of Hornby toys. So I did my bit and filled in a survey form offering to be interviewed for my views on Toys from My Childhood. The trouble is, I'm finding it a bit difficult to remember my toys. I didn't play with
toy (sorry, model) trains, I never built anything out of Meccano (though Mr B says he did), I never played with toy soldiers or model farm yards or Dinky cars.
I did have a doll's house, which my dear
Dad made out of an old barrel. I remember feeling really disappointed with it (ungrateful child that I was) because it wasn't a grand mansion with real electric lights like the doll's house belonging to my friend Margaret Stevens who lived over
the road and was an only child. All I can hope, looking back as an adult, is that my Dad didn't realise how I felt. The thought that he might have seen the disappointment in my eyes is sheer torture.
did have a Walkie Talkie doll, a present from my Auntie Sylvie. I called her Corrie and my Mum said she was far too grand for me and a waste of good money. I fear she was right. Corrie's legs and arms kept coming off and had to be continuously replaced using
elastic bands attached to hooks on each limb. Anyone who has had to perform this delicate operation will remember just how tricky it was...
I think mostly my sister Maggie and I played imaginary games
which didn't require toys. I remember playing "Runaway Lovers" - yes, really. This mostly involved a pretend car which we made out of an old wheelbarrow and a tent made out of the clothes horse, draped with old blankets. And we used to play tricks on
poor Margaret Stevens when she came over to play by dressing up in some old net curtains and calling ourselves the "Green-Veiled Ladies" who materialised, in ghostly fashion, out of the old garden shed (otherwise known as "Cosy Cottage") with
the aim of striking terror into our young friend's tender heart.
Oh dear, it seems that none of my childhood reminiscences reflect well on me. What shall I say if someone comes to interview
I might have to leave it all to Mr B. He is perfectly capable (as I discovered today) of waxing lyrical about his Meccano set...