A person came by with two Tesco bags full of plastic. "I was going to throw this away, she said, but I thought you may find some bits for your dollhouse projects". I am always glad when people remember my hobby and give me things they don't want, whether these prove useful or not. Two bags of rubbish is a precious gift:
Now, some of you reading this may be exclaiming: "But this is...!" However, I didn't know it. I am quite ignorant about commercial dollhouses, so I merely saw that there were many valuable parts. Later, when I had time, I emptied the bags on the floor to see what they contained:
It became clear that they were parts of quite a sophisticaed house. Since there were two staircases, you could infer that there are at least three storeys, and there were dormer windows, railings, doorsteps and other interesting details. But I had no idea how to go about it, or how to see whether anything was missing. You can only see what's missing by assembling the house. And I didn't even know where to start or what the final structure would look like.
I browsed through a number of dollhouse sites, but found nothing even remotedly similar.
As usual in such situations, I consulted my dollhouse group, and somebody pointed out the obvious: is it marked? You would think that after my recent purchases and discoveries I would have learned, but apparently not. Luckily, the very first bit I picked up was marked: Playmobil, 1989.
After that, it was easy to find the images - Playmobil Victorian Mansion - and even the assembly instructions. I found some videos on Youtube: one video of a man (!) building the house, and another of a fully decorated house. I am sure there are more. I also found out how much it fetches on ebay.
I did all this during my lunch break and then spent the rest of the afternoon looking at the pile on the floor while I was editing an article and replying to emails. I have very strong character so I didn't start until after dinner.
I took pictures step by step, but I won't show them here because it was quite straightforward apart from a few silly mistakes that were easy to correct.
The bits missing are two windows on the first floor, a dormer window roof and a few railings and door handles, all easily replaceable on ebay. A perfect little Victorian house in need of love and care. (And don't I already have more dollhouses that I have room for!)
It's hard to know what scale it is, but I just happen to have a couple of pieces of furniture from my recent flea market visits that are Playmobil. I didn't quite register it then, but they are very clearly from this house. I put them in, together with some other furniture from my antique shop.
It won't be a problem to fill the rooms, either by rummaging flea markets, looking for ebay bargains or simply making things. The walls need wallpaper. The floors need flooring or carpeting. And a Victorian house can have so many wonderful things. It will be a joy.
But here comes a matter of conscience: shall I tell the person who gave me the Tesco bags what a treasure she was throwing away?