I spent a good chunk of time yesterday in Hamley’s toy shop, helping a friend search for a present, and was transported back to childhood (as I always am), when I ran into a display of Sylvanian Families toys. I was kind of obsessed with these things as a kid. I’d always loved my ‘peoples’ and carried them around with me, or so I’m told, but these were the best. I adored them. I had all sorts of different families – rabbits, bears, moles, beavers, foxes etc – and a house and a small tree house, and I never got bored. It pained me that some of the families had to live in ice cream tubs and shoe boxes, as the house didn’t have enough room for everyone, but they did have furniture so that was ok. (I admit that it also pains me that these much loved toys are now in a box in my mum’s garage attic, but I try not to think about it.)
One of my favourite things to do was to take all the furniture out of the houses and create a school for the children. I even made them all tiny exercise books with squiggly writing on, so it looked like they’d used them. And then later I would wrap them all in toilet paper for ‘costumes’ so they could put on plays for their parents. I guess very Roman-centric plays? I dunno.
I was very, very jealous when I got older and my younger cousin was bought the mansion for Christmas. It had working lights and a flushing toilet, and I would have just about killed someone for it, had I not been too old for that kind of thing. Ahem. But a flushing toilet! Come on, that was amazing. Also, my cousin didn’t really play with it or appreciate it as I would have, so that stung too. And have you seen the stuff you can get now? Barges and massive tree houses and hospitals and a hotel!! Ugh, to be eight years old again, I’d be in heaven.
My absolute favourite member of the families was Muddy McBurrows. He was a mole and he had a yellow waistcoat. I don’t know why he was my favourite, but he was. Which my brother knew and used to his advantage whenever I was in the toilet and he wanted to go. ‘I’ve got Muddy! I’m hanging him over the banister! I’m going to drop him!’ Noooooooo!! Not Muddy! Do not hurt Muddy. Oh there were tears aplenty over young Mister McBurrows. My brother is evil you know.
As mentioned, my families are in a box somewhere, waiting for the day I have children whereupon I will break them out and live vicariously through them, because they will damn well love Sylvanian Families, I don’t care what I have to do. Even if I only have boys! I will get my working lights and flushing toilets one day damn it.