Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Why, Mam? Why?

Teddy is a quiet little lad. He also suffers slightly from GTBD (Gotz Toddler Balance Disfunction) which makes it hard to keep up with his more robust friends, Angelina, Timmy and Connor. His disability is not too severe and Connor does try to help him out when he gets left behind.

Today, however, Teddy is keen to go for a walk and, to make sure he isn't left behind again, he climbs up onto the gate to wait, where he can see Mam and the dog when they set off.

'You are up early today.' says Mam.

' Have to get ready for walking.You left me at home yesterday. Why, Mam? Why?' he asks.

'Because the snow was deep and you don't have wellington boots.'

 'Somebody did take the snow away. Why did they do that Mam? Why?' he asks.

 'It warmed up yesterday afternoon and the snow melted.' Mam tells him.

 'Is this snow? Why it didn't melt? Why Mam?'

No it's frost. 'Mam begins, wondering if he'll understand. 'The moisture in the air turned to little ice crystals when it got cold again last night and...'

'Not be frosty. Frosty be a snowman in a song. This be fairy tree forest. Why you not look properly Mam?'  says Teddy.

...... and he could be right!

'Climb down now and you can help feed the geese.' Mam says.

Can't see the geeses. They not out yet, why Mam? Why?' Teddy wants to know.

'They like to stay in the barn until we break the ice on their drinker dishes because they can still get a drink in here where it is too warm for water to freeze.' Mam explains.

'Oh, so why we don't give them cup of tea or coffee for to warm them up. Why Mam? Why we don't give them hot drink? Why?' Teddy wants to know.

'Come on, we'll break the ice for them.' Mam says, trying to change the subject.

The dog gets there first and, not wanting to round sheep in the cold, he pretends to be much less bright than most collies, and pretends he thinks he can drink the ice that formed there over night.

'Mam, why Quango drinking hard water? Why Mam?' Teddy starts again. 'Ooh, look! Somebody broked a window!'

' No that's the ice Dada broke out of the water dish yesterday. It still hasn't melted. Put it down and help me break the ice that's in there now so the geese can drink. Then we can walk down to the stream.' Mam says.

'Mam? Why there's lots of frosties here but not lots over there?' Here we go again!

'' Because it takes longer for the sun to warm up the ground close to the hedge than it does in the middle of the field.' Mam says.

'Look, Mam, more icy stuff. And the grass looks like trees, too! Why...oops! OWW!'

Teddy finds it hard to stay on his feet.

'Mam...?' Uh-oh, he's about to ask another question!

'Why you let Blackberry-the-Ninja-Cat, an' Hobo-Fat-Cat an' Blue-Boo-Boo come for walks in cold, frosty icy days, when they not got shoes on?? Why Mam? Why?'

'Listen Teddy,' says Mam wearily. ' Why don't you look for some interesting things and when you've found three or four, you can ask me about them all at once.'

'K,' says Teddy as he thinks hard about whether three is more than four, or if it's the other way ruond. ' But Mam...'

Mam realises the questions will go on pouring forth.

'Why these tyre marks a funny shape? Why?' comes the next question.

'Tractors have to be able to run in places that cars can't go, so they have bigger wheels and the tyres have different treads, to grip on mud, ice or snow.'
Do the why questions ever come to an end, wonders Mam.

 'Look at the frosty spots on this leaf, Mam. Why the frost grow in drops?'

'Why these brackens so crunchy, Mam? They was green and soft before. Why they get crunchy, Mam?'

Why these wiggly green catkins growing in cold weather? Why they look like caterpillars, Mam? Why?'

'How about a game of hide and seek?' asks Mum. 'You hide and I'll try to find you.'

'Count up to a big number first,' says Teddy. 'Count to three or four. OK Mam?'

It turns out that Teddy isn't any better at hiding than he is at counting, but at least Mam has had enough of a break to feel ready for the next question......which is not long in coming!

'Why there's seaweed growing on this stick, Mam? Why?'

'That's not seaweed, Teddy, it's lichen. It grows on the trees here because the air is very clean. It can't grow near main roads because of the petrol fumes and dust.' Mam tells him.

'Why it grow on tree sticks mam? Why it not grow on ground in the soil?' Teddy wants to know.

'It is a special kind of plant that grows on trees and sucks the sap from them instead of water from the soil.'

Teddy thinks the lichen wants to be high up in the trees so it can see things that are a long way away. He decides it's a good idea and he might just copy the lichen.....

 He climbs up into the little oak tree. Just as he is about to ask Mam why the leaves haven't fallen off the tree.....

when he comes down a lot faster than he climbed up

and lands on a bed of leaves, holding his right leg in the air. Mam rushes over and picks him up.

'Why that tree throw me down and break mine leg?' he asks with a sniffle

She sits hm down on a tree root and he rolls up his left trouser leg.

'I thought you hurt the other leg.' Mam says. ' And, TEDDY! Where are your socks? Why didn't you put socks on this morning? Aren't your feet freezing cold?

'Lucas not wear socks. Lucas wear sandals EVEN IN SNOW.' he tells her. 'I strong and brave like Lucas so I not need silly old socks.'

'But Teddy why ....' Mam begins.

'MAM! WHY YOU KEEP ASKING LOTS OF QUESTIONS??? Why you not pick up me with mine broken leg an' take me home for hot chocolate and magic-make-me-better chocolate chip cookies? Why, Mam? Why?!'

So they go home, where Mam takes a headache pill whilst Teddy recovers by eating 6 cookies and drinking 3 cups of chocolate.

Monday, 29 December 2014

A Sasha-free Interlude.

When I started this blog, I mentioned that my Sashas/Gregors have other brothers and sisters.

Here is my sweet little Bobette, Noelle, home after being stolen, taken to South Africa and finally returned by the embarassed parents of the thief.  It's a long story but poor Noelle was missing for over a year, along with other dolls and came back without her little trunk of clothes. Indeed, she came back without any clothes at all.

So, her birthday being about Christmas time (hence her name) she had to have a new dress. It needs to be darted to fit her properly and (as Sharon knows!) my dolls tend to be little examples of those females used to call all-furs-lace-but-no-knickers, she needs underwear to finish the outfit. Generally, she likes to live in the modern day, but she does seem to like dressing up in the clothing of her Great-Grandmama's childhood times.

She wanted to have her photo taken with the beautiful bouquet that Ronny sent me and the plants that the children at the next farm grew for me as a Christmas gift. As always, I messed up the photo so the bouquet is not shown in entirity, but it is so beautiful that Noelle and I wanted to share it. As you can see, it is snowing here and nothing cheers me up like flowers, snow and the company of a favourite doll!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

So, where did Santa get all those dolls?

Well, the coming of my lovely, new doll children is quite a long story. Mince pies and coffee may be in order, if you plan to read this post.

Back in August 2012. My dear, dolly-and-every-other-treat-enabling Uncle Roland died suddenly at the age of 93 and, fortunately, without any suffering.He left me money to buy dolls - a man of taste!
However, the money he left for his funeral was insufficient and I used most of the money he left to me to pay for that.
With what was left, I was delighted to be able to buy this little man.

He looked a little like photos of Uncle as a boy, so he was named Roland in his honour. He became the best friend of Robin, the shaggy haired chap who figured two posts ago. They are inseparable, attend the same weekly boarding school and I really love them. Like Robin, Roland is far from perfect. He is rewigged ( it's a great wig, though) and has a few noticeable bumps, scratches and bruises....but what healthy little British school boy doesn't?

In early autumn this year, Dee decided to sell Jocelyn and allowed me a layaway on her. I have never had a blond girl with good, well rooted hair and, though Jocelyn has had hers cut, I really like these girls with short hair.  So, given that, though short, her hair is well cut and beautifully two toned, she was the perfect Trendon girl for me.

Here she is!

A month or so later, I got a letter from Uncle Roland's solicitors. They informed me that his bungalow, which he had left to a charity, had finally been sold. The charity's auditor had asked if all costs had been taken out of what they were to receive and, on hearing I'd used most of my portion for the funeral etc. he asked the solicitor to return some to me, but stated I must honour Uncle's decision about how I should use it.

I looked on Shelly's site and was amazed to see this little lady.

Is she the original Mary that my cousin owned? I used to borrow her in the 60s because Bridget always made her the naughty girl in our games and I felt sorry for her always being blamed. She had very distinctive eyes and this one looked exactly the same. Could she be? Bridget and I couldn't rule out the idea of her being THE Mary so we decided she has been named Mary, just in case.

When the money arrived, it was over twice as much as I had been told...so back to Shelly's site I went and a sister for Mary was chosen.

 Her eyes are a little more clearly defined than her sister's and her hair is in better condition. I named her Laura because I so loved the book, The Little House in the Big Woods when I was small (still do - far better than the rather sentimental TV series!) and Mary had to have her sister, Laura.

Within days of Laura arriving, my family offered to club together to buy me another doll. They may have thought twice, had they known about Jocelyn, Mary and Laura, on the grounds that I was being inundated with dolls......so I didn't inform them! They asked me to choose one and gave me a price range.

 So, here is Tove. (Forgive the even worse than usual photo - it started to pour down.) Originally I was going to call her Roccio because she looked a little like a Spanish gypsy child, but as most people can't remember how to say it and both she and I got fed up with repeating the pronunciation. She asked if she could change her name again.  I consulted my daughter, who said she looked like her childhood friend Tove, who had an Icelandic father and Indian mother so, though it s a Nordic name, the original Tove was dark. It seems to suit her, so Tove she has become.

The last to join the crowd of 'car people' was Gerda. She is perhaps one of the most touching gifts I have ever received. My family had quoted me a maximum for buying Tove that was greater than her actual cost. Good, I thought, I'm saving each of them a little money. Not so!

Many of my ex-pupils have kept in touch with my own two children, who went to the school I worked in, though were never in my class. Word got round amongst them that I am ill and may not make it to Christmas 2015 and they got together and asked my son to choose a gift to buy me from them. He decided it should be a twin for Tove. He added in the extra that family had offered and chose Gerda as a gift from pupils and family together.

I had a copy of Hans Andersen's fairy tales when I was young and, unlikely as it might seem, the beautiful 20s picture of Gerda in the Snow Queen story showed her as having dark, braided hair, hence her name.  How wonderful and surprising to find I am loved enough by pupils from over a quarter of a century ago, that they would help to buy this sweet girl for me. Her stringing has loosened further in the last three days and she will soon need surgery but she is so very sweet.

So - that is where Santa got all those dolls to bring to me, giving me the best Christmas ever. Who would have thought that I would ever own 6 early Gotz dolls? At one time, I didn't think I liked them at all!

I hope you are all feeling as cherished and lucky as I feel right now.

Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2015 to you all!


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Full House (Or Full Car?) For Christmas!

                          'Now, Trendon, have you settled in with us?' asks Dada.

'Yes thank you,'  Trendon replies. 'But have you found out about the others that were in the car with me?'

'Oh, yes!' says Dada. 'They are just fine. Mr Evans at the garage has had them to stay with him for a few nights. When I pick up the car, I'll bring them home.'

'Erm.. do they have to come here?' asks Trendon, looking serious. ' I had to hide my face because they said I wasn't a Gotz kid and I think they didn't like me being with them.'

'I don't think they were being unkind,' says Dada. ' I think it was just a comment. People here sometimes comment about my accent because I don't sound Welsh. There's no criticism implied. I think they just mean to be friendly but can't think how to start the conversation.'

'Weeellll, they did seem a bit worried about whether they would be welcome here because they are Gotz girls and most of the Bryn Derw family are not.' says Trendon, thoughtfully.

An hour later, Dada drove the car back into the yard. And there were the girls!

  All Mam knows is that they were all girls. She has no idea how many extra people she will need to feed on Christmas Day. Fortunately, Father Christmas draws up with his gift list to add the new girls in  because....

                 ...........well, Father Christmas knows exactly how many children will be where, doesn't he?

'Sion Corn, Sion Corn!' yell the Welsh speaking kids in the house.

'Santa, Santa!' shriek the kids who have lived in the USA.

'Father Christmas, Father Christmas!' bellow the English boys and girls.

But Father Christmas is only interested in the girls in the car just now.

'Come on girls!' he calls encouragingly. 'I have to get all your names right on my list, ready for my next delivery, when the clock strikes midnight!'

                         'What do you think?' the little dark-haired girl on the right whispers.

'Well, that man Dada who drove us here seemed nice.' replied her sister. 'He was a bit quiet, but very kind.'

'I think we'll be O.K.' the blond girl with brown toggles on her coat muses.

'But there are so many of us, and it is so close to Christmas. Might we be in the way? Will there be room for us all?' wonders the girl standing beside her. But she bravely opens the door....

                                                    ....... and out they come.....

                                                       two little blond Gotz girls,

                                                           named Mary and Laura.

                                                         Then two little brunette girls,
                                                            called Tove and Gerda.


Mam begins to shoo them into the house, telling them how glad she is that they were warmly dressed. It has been a long time since they came from Sasha Doll UK foster care and the weather has turned so

'Excuse me,' says a quiet, gentle voice. 'I'm Jocelyn and Mrs. Mum at The Sasha Village said I might find my brother Trendon here, so we can settle down in our forever home. I'm so cold. May I come in too, please?'

A little girl with a sweet, feminine version of Trendon's face and a timid smile is still sitting in the car. She is nicely dressed but doesn't have a coat.

'I'm Jocelyn.' she whispers.

Mam is thrilled to have not one.......not two........ not three......... not four........ but FIVE new daughters to get to know at Christmas time!

Dada is upstairs worrying about how to fit five more beds in and still leave room for Father Christmas to get round and fill stockings. It is quite possible Father C might just need a large glass of something strong to fortify himself........

                                                     Cheers everybody!


Dear Friends
 I have had the chance to buy or have gifts of these five lovely little ladies because of the kindness of family and ex-pupils. I will try to post tomorrow to explain all and take better photos, if the wind drops.
In the meantime, thank you so much for all the beautiful cards and kind messages. (Icy, I can't get a message to you privately as I don't have your email addy, but the flowers are STUNNING and I was thrilled to receive them. Your cover is blown - there is no icy heart in you! Jxx)
If anything happens to prevent a post:
             MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL, Jenni and The Bryn Derw Kids xxx



Saturday, 13 December 2014


Petey is in trouble. An awful lot of food has been disappearing at Bryn Derw and, though Mam and Dada are very aware that young people eat a lot and there are plenty of young people living here to do all that eating, he was caught red handed with a VERY large picnic. Dada thinks he borrowed Bertie's imaginary car people as an excuse for running off to eat it all by himself.

As a punishment, he has been sent to the poly tunnel to see if he can work out what is nibbling the broad bean plant leaves. He has a sneaky suspicion that Dada might have planted a bug or two there as he hates broad beans and only grows them for Mamgu. But he  also realises that Dada isn't REALLY mad at him, because everybody knows that he is the apprentice gardener and likes to work with plants.

He's beginning to notice that his boots are rubbing his toes. Just at that moment, Bertie rushes in from the other end of the tunnel.

'PETEY! THEY'VE....... why are you wearing your boots on the wrong feet? But anyway they've.....I do wish the dog wouldn't look at me like that. Is he hungry?....Oh, and THEY'VE GONE!' Bertie babbles.

'Who has gone where?' asks Petey, calmly.

'The car people,' whispers Bertie. 'Infact, I think the car has been stolen with them in it. It has been missing all day and Dada is sitting in the house but the car isn't in the yard. Oh, Petey, they might starve!'

'WHAT????' yells Petey.

'I said that they've...' Bertie begins again.

' I know what you said! When I said what, it was what is called a rhetorical question. Something you say when something somebody else says takes you by surprise and you need to stop them talking so you can think. So shut up a minute and let me THINK!' exclaims Petey.

'No need to tell me to shut up. I've thunk and thunk and I can't get a think that is any help at all. What makes you a better at thinking than what I am? I'm just as good at th th th th' says Bertie sadly, before he flops down and begins to cry.

'We should have told Mam and Dada.' he wails. 'If they die, it will because we didn't help them the right way. Maybe we KILLED them!'

' BERTIE!' Petey shouts. 'Don't be so dramatic. Shut up and listen!'

' .....so, if you stay here, they'll never know. I'll get you a blanket and food.Then, when it's Christmas and they are busy, we can slide you in and pretend you've always been there. There are so many kids at Bryn Derw that they'll probably not notice another one. They didn't notice the last ones. If you keep a low profile, for a while, they can hardly chuck you out after you've been there a month or two, can they?' says a familiar, but unexpected voice.

'Robin? What are you doing here? It can't be the end of your school term yet. Why aren't you at boarding school where you belong?' asks Petey.

'First of all, Mr Know It All Petey, I don't BELONG at school, I belong here. I just board at school in term time, but this is my home.' Robin begins. 'And, if you must know, Dada collected me in the car this morning because I was sent down.'

'Sent down? Sent down where?' asks Bertie.
His mind races - had his friend been sent down into the cellar, or down a coal mine, or down the road to fetch heavy shopping? Are schools allowed to do such things? Perhaps he'd be better off if he never went to boarding school himself.

'Sent down, means sent home in boarding school speak.' Robin announces. 'It's another world in those places, ya know and firsters need to learn an almost new language if they are to live long enough to get into Lower Four.'

'Wha.....?' Bertie begins, looking very confused.

'Ignore him. He showing off. A firster is a kid in his first year at the school and he's in a class called Upper Three. Next year, if they have the little show off back, he'll go into Lower Four.' Petey whispers in Bertie's ear.

' So,' he says more loudly, 'If you came home in Dada's car and you and Dada are here, WHERE'S THE CAR NOW? If you can stop showing off about your precious school for two minutes, tell us why you were sent home, where the car is and, perhaps more importantly, who you are hiding.'

'Yes,' Bertie pipes up. 'Are you hiding our car people?'

Robin realises he's still in traditional 'who cares' school boy mode and stops showing off as it doesn't go down well amongst his brothers and sisters.

He tells them, 'I got sent down on account of my hair misbehaving again. It won't go where it should and my school cap wouldn't stay on when we went on an outing. Hardly my fault, is it?
But they sent me down for not wearing proper uniform so Mam and Dada would be cross with me as they pay my fees and I'm wasting their money. Jolly unfair, I call it - they take Dada's money and can't even manage to do their own telling off.
'Anyway, I'm so glad to be home, even if I did miss the end of term party. I was not happy about being a donkey in the school play!'

'Oh, the Baby Jesus story!' says Bertie who loves a good nativity play.

'No chance!' exclaims Robin. ' It was Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream and they gave me the part of a peasant who gets turned into a donkey but, the worst of it is he's called Bottom! You can guess what kind of names the other guys started to called me, can't you?
'But,' he begins to giggle, 'It's worse for poor old Roland. There are no girls at our school so he, ha-ha, he, ha-ha, he, ha-ha, he gets to play a fairy called Peas Blossom!!!! Unless he suddenly grows wild hair like mine or gets the chickenpox, there's no way out of it for him!'

After a couple of seconds of giggling, Petey prompts him, 'And the car is........?'

'Oh, it's gone off for an MOT test and Dada left it at Mr. Evan's garage until Monday. It's taken all those girls with it and a good job too. It was a real squash on the back seat with all of them as well as my friend Em Boo here.' Rob answers, airily.

 'It's KENNY!' whispers Bertie excitedly. ' You know. Kenny from that television programme we aren't allowed to watch because of the swears. South Park. They keep killing Kenny but he always gets alive again for the next show. He's Magic Can't Die Kenny!!'

'No, that's just a cartoon. But nobody is called Em Boo, except an alien perhaps.' says Petey.

'Well, a chap can't help being a one eyed alien called Em Boo any more than a chap can help having a permanent bad hair day.' answers Robin. ' Go on, tell them your name.' he demands of his new friend.


 'Oh! I see!' says Bertie, who spends  lot of time listening to the Sasha babies and toddlers who are still learning to speak properly.

 'Wow, Bertie understands alien!' says Robin with new found admiration.

'He's not an alien, silly. He's a boy. He says he's a Trendon and the girls in the car are all Gotz kids. He thinks they don't like him much and are scared of him because they never met Trendons before.' Bertie explains.

'Ur scut ta cun ut uh tar, cuz ah uh kitz yur ah Emboo.' says the boy with one eye.

Bertie smiles, feeling very important and translates,
'He says they're scared to come out of the car because all the kids here are Trendons. I suppose they think they won't be welcome. But, I think Dada said I'm Gotz and so are you, Petey, so the girls made a mistake.'

'Time to tell the grown ups, I think.' says Petey. You guys take Thingy here and go and tell Dada about the girls. Dada is a soft touch, he will take you in, erm, Thingy and he'll rescue the girls too. I better get on with de-bugging beans and tying up the peas.'

 As he turns back to the pea bed he hears Bertie's voice.....

'Come on Trendon. We'll look after you and find your friends. But Robin, what's a Gotz and whats a Trendon? I thought we were all Sashas, but Sashas are girls and we are boys and......'