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GUEST POST: Bears, Dolls and Lorries – Childhood Toys Revisited

Hello, I’m Louisa from over at Duck in a Dress and it’s lovely to be writing a guest post for one of my favourite bloggers while she’s off on the exciting adventure of becoming a parent.

Back in September last year I took part in Sarah’s Two Days the Same project and whilst I was laid up in bed with a broken ankle, one of my pictures featured a certain brown bear belonging to Andrew, my other half. Sarah and Andrew were both born around the same year and Sarah recognised that bear as the same one she’d had when she was young.

Which of course, led on to thinking about the fact that myself and Andrew both still own several toys from our childhood, mainly because they all hold interesting tales…

Raffles the Dog

Raffles the Dog

Age: Unknown but he’s been adopted by me for the last 21 years

Birthplace: Taiwan according to his label

Raffles is a Scottish dog rescued from a toy stall at a summer fete held in Somerled Square in Portree on the Isle of Skye. My mum and dad had dragged us there during August on their annual motor-caravan road trip round the Highlands and I had a bit of pocket money left to spend. I remember being there quite early on in the day and I saw all the cuddly toys being emptied out from a large bin bag onto a table. Raffles landed on his head upside down and I fell in love. It was 1994 and I was 11 years old, possibly a bit old for cuddly toys but that summer was the last few days of feeling like a child before starting “big school” in September. I asked how much he was - 20p - and promptly handed over my pennies and took him home with me. His name came because the stall next door was a raffle & tombola stall; I did always wonder whether I should have called him Somerled (after the square) or Truffles (like his colour) but Raffles it was. He sat on my bed next to my pillow for a good many years and I even took him to university with me (although by then he had migrated to a shelf overlooking the bed). Just like Andrew’s brown bear, Raffles brought me a lot of comfort when I was growing up.

Barbie

Barbie


Age: about 27-29 years old

Birthplace: America somewhere, possibly New York, Washington, Orlando or San Francisco

This was the very first Barbie doll I owned and for a few years when I was about 4-6 years old I loved collecting both Barbie and Sindy dolls. My dad used to jet across to America with work every couple of months and would always bring me back lots of gifts, chocolates, sweets, toys, clothes and dolls. This was the first one he bought me and although I lost interest in them pretty quickly, I can still remember how proud I felt owning this princess-like doll, one that my friends didn’t seem to have. Looking at her now though, quite apart from the anatomically incorrect figure, she also looks rather scary!

Andrew the Lorry

Andrew the Lorry toy


Age: 37 years old

Birthplace: Somerset (handmade)

When Andrew was born his dad worked as a technician at the local secondary school and one of the other technicians made this for the new baby. Andrew’s dad had bought himself a 1935 vintage lorry only 3 years before Andrew was born and it was inevitable the new (and male) baby was going to grow up interested in lorries and steam engines himself. Andrew reckons he didn’t actually play with it that much but even so, it still has pride of place in our guest bedroom as it signifies what Andrew’s spent his whole life interested in.

Humpty

Humpty Dumpty toy


Age: 37 years old

Birthplace: Somerset (handmade)

This was another one of the presents Andrew was given when he was born. It was made by a family friend called Beryl (who ended up emigrating to Canada) and Andrew’s mum used to bounce Humpty up and down over the crib went he was young. As Andrew grew older, Humpty was played with rather a lot (probably being dropped from many a high cupboard) and along the way the stuffing’s gone from his legs and he’s had rather a nasty eye accident.

Nowadays he’s in retirement, sitting up on a wardrobe in a spare bedroom keeping one watchful eye over the place.

Brown Ted

Brown Ted the teddy bear


Age: almost 37 years old

Birthplace: Unknown but at a best guess, Woolworths

Andrew was given this as a baby and kept it with him for a good long time. He was afraid of the dark when he was really young but hugging Brown Ted made it all better. The bear’s been through the wars a bit though, his bottom was patched years ago, he’s been hugged so much that his nose is squashed and his arms are falling off. When we bought our first house together and he brought his box of childhood bits along, he showed me the bear and I reckoned he looked pretty miserable so he picked up the nickname of Grumpy Bear instead. Quite frankly when you’ve literally been loved to bits, you’d probably be a bit grumpy too!

Anyway I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and I’ve no doubt Spartacus Rooftops will end up with several toys that I sincerely hope will be loved just as much as mine and Andrew’s were (and still are). Thanks Sarah for having me!

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