Dolls’ House ©
Well the Vet books arrived so we covered them in cling film, or rather sticky film to protect them, so they would be protected while my 13 year old spends a few years mulling over whether to become a Vet or not. The sticky stuff also arrived in the post, as part of the preschool materials for my daughter.
I remember maybe 40 years ago when my French teacher at grammar school got us all to cover our text books in clear sticky back plastic. One of the class had done his book in it and Mr Notzing noticed and decided it was a great idea, so he arrived one day with squares all pre-cut ready for us all to cover our books. I mention this because thanks to Mr Notzing I was good at French, a 20 question test every week for 4 years had also helped. So God Bless Mr Notzing, he died when he was about my age.
Now my small daughter had begged for a dolls’ house for a long time, she had one already but she wanted a bigger version. My brother had bought her the original dolls house as a Christmas present a few years ago. Finally she was allowed a cream coloured one, available from Sue Ryder via Amazon, and naturally made in China, but she is ½ Chinese herself.
We watched the post for it to arrive and then finally it did, my small daughter was delighted. So I just looked at my watch and said she had to read for 2 hours first and then do 15 minutes piano. She would be very good at piano but bored of it, but now at this moment the dolls’ house had power, so I used it.
Then I had to drag her away from the piano as I carried the heavy bundle upstairs to her bedroom. It looked as if it was all covered in sticky clear plastic itself, but it was no book, it was a dolls house. So we used a box cutter to get all the wrapping off, then I laid out all the pieces like an undertaker laying out the dead.
Front and back, roof and floors and so forth, I got my small daughter to count all the screws so we could know if we lost any. Then we began, I had guessed it would take an hour and a half to do, only I forgot about my bad back and my Arthur, my arthritis. So in the end it took 3 and a half hours. Some of the screws were so small and fiddly so I could not fit them into place. So both my daughters did the small finger parts.
The new Sue Ryder dolls house was 4 times bigger than the original dolls house, and actually 25% cheaper in price, made of wood and not plastic too. You have to use logic and spatial awareness, to work it all out. I was trying to explain it to my daughters as I went along, my big daughter did think about architecture as a career, before being a vet roared into her mind.
So we did the base and screwed the sides on, then we slotted in the 1st floor, we were on a roll. The 2nd floor came easy, we tightened it into position. Soon the roof would be on and the house was taking shape it looked so good already. Then we realised the 2nd floor was on back to front, the pictograph was the evidence. So we had to undo all the screws and rotate it before putting the screws back into position.
Then we placed the 2 sets of stairs into position, the thing was taking shape. So I went downstairs to the fridge for a celebratory drink of cold blackcurrant and a visit to the bathroom. The back roof went on next, followed by putting the 2 attics on the front roof. So everything was coming up roses, my small daughter was getting happier and happier. As for my back and thighs, they were beginning to hurt, scrambling around on a bedroom floor exacts its price, especially if you have arthritis.
So we only had the front to put on, with hinges, and the front roof with more hinges. This is when things get tricky, the screws were tiny and my pork sausage fingers were not tiny. So the hinges were the girls’ job to do. I just supervised, as I went downstairs for another drink and to squeeze some painkilling gel on my back and hips. Building a dolls house has a price to pay for dads with Arthur, but a dad has to do what a dad has to do.
Then we worked out how to put the double jointed roof hinges on, though to be honest one was back to front so we had to redo it. Finally the roof was on, I would have done a victory lap around the bedroom, only my Arthur would not let me. The front had 4 hinges plus a magnet to close the front 2 pieces together. We managed to do it, even when we discover we were missing a few screws. Luckily I had a few spare in my stash of tools and screws. But we still lacked 2, my small daughter said it did not matter, but I insisted. I found a long thin nail and it was pressed into service, and with a few more blows of my hammer it was turned into a screw. But we still lacked one screw, one screw was missing. So we used a large drawing pin.
We closed everything, we had done it, we now had a super dupper dolls house, in fact it looks like one of the dream houses that I look at on www.rightmove.co.uk If only I could win the Premium Bonds then I’d move to such a house. We decided on one more thing, the hinges could be helped if we added clear sticky back plastic to them and along the entire edges of the opening parts.
We moved the new dolls house into its final resting place, just in front of the girls’ wardrobe, which could now only open with one door. That did not matter, only the doll’s house mattered. My daughter gave me a big hug, it had taken 3.5 hours. I went downstairs to lie on the settee, while my daughter filled her doll’s house with all the Sylvanian family furniture.
We had done it, I would of course extract a price for this new dolls house, more piano and more reading. Though to be honest my small daughter does do loads of reading already, but if I can redirect her back to the piano for 15 minutes a day then that will be a victory for both of us. So we had a victory toast of fizzy orange Fanta, and then I rubbed my pain killer on my Arthur.