Thursday, 20 February 2014

Grandpa Becomes A Property Baron!

Well, Grandpa Roland has decided that it is time I stopped making excuses. He wants to continue telling the world about Dolly Mixture Lane and will happily sack the jobbing builder/secretary and work alone if things don't improve! So, not wanting to lose contact with the residents of Dolly Mixture Lane, I thought I should post our latest news.

Feeling sorry for the Not-Quite-Hitty girls in their homeless state gave Grandpa just the reason he needed to persuade Grandma Jean to agree to taking out shared ownership of the largest, oldest and most beautiful house on D.M. Lane. It was built in 1910 and, with me as broker, he took out a mortgage for half the cost of the house with Celia at KT Miniatures, who was selling it,  whilst my mother became owner of the other half. The Not-Quite-Hitty girls do not yet know that they are closer to having a home of their own than they think. The house is, over all, 1:12 but has quite high ceilings so some of that beautiful old German furniture that is a little larger will not look out of place and the girls might just about squeeze in without looking ridiculous.

Mary did enjoy looking round when invited to do so, but she still doesn't know Grandpa and Grandma have bought a share in it with the view to her becoming co-tenant with her sister. After climbing over assorted building supplies, she discovered that there is a comfortable built in seat to rest on in the bay window.

Next, two incredibly cheap houses came up for sale. This rare and wonderful opportunity could not be passed over. Neither cost as much as the 1940s three-piece suit he'd been looking at longingly, so they were duly bought, almost sight unseen. Grandma Jean and I worried and fretted. What was Grandpa taking on? Or rather, what was he buying for me to take on? Well the old boy clearly has an eye for a bargain, because they are both lovely in their own ways.

First, and easiest to introduce is this one.

Marked 'Triang' on the  back gable wall, there was no mistaking the original builders. Very quickly, we sought superior knowledge from Celia, asking her to be our surveyor. The outcome was that it was a Triang 62, probably from the 40s and in near original condition. Hurrah! No structural stuff for the jobbing builder to learn how to do, on this house at least!

Grandpa, Grandpa and the lodgers are even now discussing who should live in which house.

 In point of fact, none of them mind, just as long as they can all live close by each other. Bonds have been formed and Grandma Jean is now extremely fond of them all. She was even more pleased when, to make up for the lack of the leather suit that was sacrificed to pay for the houses, Grandpa presented her with a very special gift.

A beautiful old ebony and gold piano, made by that high quality traditional furnishing company Pit-a-Pat, arrived for her and after a great deal of huffing and puffing from the men-folk it was ready to be played.

Several days later, a piano stool arrived and Grandma was in her element. Which is a lot better than being out in the elements as the Big People house has been flooded, 100 mph gales have blown and it hasn't stopped raining since before Christmas. Now though, Grandma is keeping us cheerful with rousing renditions of songs such as ' Roll Out the Barrel,'  'Rule Britannia' and the Welsh National Anthem.

The second house that was bought with the Triang is home made. Now, round here, many houses were built by their residents with no formal training. The one we live in is 500 years old and was almost certainly built by the family and friends of the people who were to live in it. It is very small and clearly for peasant stock, such as ourselves. There's not a straight wall anywhere to be found, and no foundations worthy of mentioning, but it has stood up to wind, snow, hail and torrential rain, with the occasional glimpse of the sun, for five centuries.

The Big People's House is 500 years old or more.
So, we were not too worried about the hand built thing, until we looked underneath and read an inscription saying that it was made by a 13 year old boy for his little sister in 1951.... but it seemed sturdy and it IS sturdy and also extremely heavy. 

 It was based on a plan in The Woodworker Magazine ( Thank you Rebecca at Doll's Houses Past and Present, for researching that for us!) but errors in measurements were made. Nothing too drastic, just that the upstairs rooms have ceilings over 25% higher than those below, so that finding a tenant tall enough to change a light bulb upstairs but short enough to stand upright downstairs might prove challenging. But, as Grandma noticed, there's no electricity supply there anyway, so why worry about light bulbs?

The little girl this house was built for was called Sian. So it is now known as Ty Sian (Sian's House). The 1910 house is now called Lilly Irene's House because Lilly Irene's father, Mr Hoare, built it for her dolls to live in. After several days of hearing Grandpa and my husband constantly joking about it being the Best Little Hoare House in Wales they got on Grandma's and my nerves, so we decided to call it after the little girl herself.

So, there you have it! Grandpa now feels his property portfolio is complete, at least for the time being. He is strutting around seeing himself as a property baron, though he intends to be a kindly one, making sure all the tenants are comfortable and his houses are well maintained. He seems totally oblivious of the work that must be undertaken to make the houses suitable for renting out. Of course, only one house is truly a Dolly Mixture, but Grandpa is increasingly proud that the whole street is named after his first purchase.


  1. Laughing at the antics of Grandpa who seems to be full of life and with plenty of character. You certainly have your work cut out for you keeping up with him. Just love the new properties and their history, fascinating and will certainly be looking forward to reading more about them.

  2. Well I'm glad you came back on line to update us on grandpa's antics, it seems he intends to keep you very busy!! All the houses are lovely, grandpa should be proud!
    sugar, spice and whatever's nice

  3. The residents have been very patient, waiting for my hand to heal and the floods to subside.
    Grandpa is not allowed near an estate agent's shop or on-line listing for a VERY long time or we'll never catch up with all the properties we need to work on.
    Thank you for reading through the long post.

  4. I've had such a good time wandering down Dolly Mixture Lane and catching up with what everyone is doing! !!!
    Do hope the Big People's house is flood free soon (must be so miserable) and the renovations to Grandpa's property portfolio can continue.

  5. have given me such a laugh here....what are you like!!!

    Well what can I say, other than firstly I do hope the Big People's house can soon dry out and be sorted, what an absolute pain! Secondly, my goodness, Dolly Mixture Lane is certainly getting very full, houses popping up all over the place! Good job Grandpa has a firm grip on things. Is so nice to see Lilly Irene's House looking forward to it's continuing adventures!! Celia

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  7. (I removed my first comment as I had got the houses confused....)

    Oh I love this! And am green with envy over the piano....

    A 13 year old boy? They must have had very effective woodwork classes at his school. Brilliant.

    Re your comments on my blog (thank you :-)) I don't understand why you are hesitating. After all, you have a large empty purpose built house just waiting to be occupied by many Sylvanians.

    I haven't met the otters yet and am desperately trying not to google for them.

    1. Hi again Cestina

      Well.....a little mouse from the 80s has been rescued from my long grown up son's saved toys. She is unbelievably clean and scrape free because he loved them and was always so careful with them. I'd forgotten just how sweet they are and she is definitely in need of housing somewhere.

      I'm reluctant to go any further because into Sylvania as we just don't have room to get out the 30 or so critters, early windmill, shop, nursery school and gypsy caravan that are probably still somewhere in Jake's storage unit too...... I might just have to move to a town more appreciative of housing miniatures and start a museum if this goes on!

      I just looked on Ebay - my otters are river otters, now there are sea otters too.....

      As to the 13 year old boy, I'm sure his grandfather helped a lot, but I remember woodwork and needle arts being a major part of even the primary school curriculum n the 50s/60s. My brother made all kinds of things and we still use the stool he made when he was 11. It is sad that such skills seem to be looked down on in schools now.

  8. I have just discovered your blog through reading your comments on Hetty Brown's blog, which I follow. When I get home from work I am going to make myself a coffee and read about all the adventures that are happening in the dollshouse....I can't wait!

  9. I'd live in any of these houses! Any for let?