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Monday, 27 September 2010

Childs play

Yesterday we had some friends come to visit us for the first time.  We hadn't seen them for a while and it was good to get to know the children a little as the dads talked about their musical common interest and I chatted with their mum.

My younger daughter brought out the marble run and a biscuit tin filled with glass marbles and in no time at all the two boys (aged 9 and 8) and their little sister (aged 4) were rolling marbles around our rug, creating pictures with them and inventing games.  My 14 year old girl was very happy to get involved in this creative play (it made a nice change from GCSE homework!).

After a while I brought down the Triang dollshouse for the 4 year old and my 6 year old to play with (she was shown the 1/12th scale houses but was told they were for looking at) and they had great fun rearranging furniture and making up stories with the motley collection of dolls (old and new) which inhabit the house.

As they were leaving the 3 elder children rearranged our fridge poetry magnets and laughed as the silly sentences they made up from the collection of kitchen and garden words.

During the two hours they were with us, there was never a cross word, no arguments or fighting, just happy enjoyment.  I'm under no illusions, I know there could easily have been disagreements, it was just a pleasure to see them talking and getting to know each other whilst they played with some old fashioned toys.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Gotz dolls in Scotland

Since we returned from Scotland 3 weeks ago, life has been too busy for blogging, apart from my short tribute to Sarah Price.  However 5 of the Gotz dolls did come caravanning with us, 3 of whom you've not met before in this blog!

About a week or so before our holiday I surprised my girls by bringing out from their year-long hiding place the three Gotz Harry Potter dolls I had bought via ebay during 2009.  I had purchased Harry, Hermione and Ron dolls from the same seller at about half the RRP than if I had bought them new (they were complete with boxes but used), and had been upset by the fact they all arrived smelling distinctly of cigarette smoke (which is bad for vinyl dolls).  I had tried the remedy I had discovered on the internet - a couple of concentrated washing powder tablets were placed with each of the dolls in their closed boxes for over a month in a cupboard where there was little ventillation, and when I removed them from their boxes, they smelled much fresher - the washing tablets had absorbed the smells and I didn't even have to wash their clothes.  But for quite a long time I wasn't sure if I had been stupid to buy the dolls without querying whether they came from a smoke free environment or not, so consequently kept them a secret from the family.  I also wasn't sure if my elder girl would appreciate or revile them, she is a Harry Potter fan (books and movies) but the dolls faces are character faces, they were designed before the movies came out based on the descriptions in the books, and it was just possible they would not meet her image of the characters.  I need not have worried - my daughters were both astonished and delighted and immediately embraced them into the doll family.  They decided to bring them caravanning, along with Samantha and Harriet.

Harry, Ron and Hermione in our caravan

As it turned out, a fair bit of scenario building and pretend play went on during the course of the 2 weeks with the dolls, with Harriet's red hair making her the perfect choice to be Ginny Weasley.  Samantha went on a few outings with us during the first half of the holiday, including to the St Andrews Aquarium (where she enjoyed the fish, and was almost eaten by a crocodile), a restaurant in St Andrews called 'The Dolls House Restaurant' which doesn't have a dolls house on display but was given the name because the building reminded the owners of a dolls house (the food was delicious and the prices reasonable) and to a model railway exhibition.  However the 3 Harry Potter dolls came with us on the highlight of our trip - the Fort William to Mallaig (& return) railway journey that includes the famous Glenfinnian viaduct, which featured in several Harry Potter films.  We travelled on the Jacobite Steam train, there were a few carriages like the ones used in the films, but our seats were in a standard carriage.  The trip was well worth the journey (we drove across the highlands to catch the train) and I did manage to get a few photos of Harry, Ron and Hermione on the train.

Harriet tries on Harry's glasses

Harry flirts with Samantha ...

... before deciding to give Harriet (Ginny) a cuddle!

Samantha enjoys the fish as St Andrews Aquarium ...

... but nearly gets eaten by a crocodile!

Samantha at The Dolls House Restaurant in St Andrews

Samantha watches the trains

Ron, Hermione and Harry look at the view from
The Jacobite steam train - are we getting near to Hogwarts yet?

Hermione and Harry look at a loch from the train

Hermioine, Harry and Ron in their Hogwarts clothes on The Jacobite train

Harry Rocks!

Harriet (Ginny) and Harry do the Wizard rock

Hermione tries the golden ice skating dress for size
(she is slightly slimmer than the Hannah/Sarah Gotz dolls)