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I adore Oliver, my sort-of-Godson (CofE mama, Jewish papa). When Clare asked me seven years ago to take a role in his life I burst into tears, and I’ve never stopped being completely honoured to be a part of his (& his little sister Lulu’s) life. Even when they wake me up by jumping on my head (many times last summer) or fill my Marant boots with tiny plastic animals and I step unsuspectingly into them (this evening).

I haven’t yet bought Ol the set of drums with which I’ve been threatening his parents, but I do like buying him parent-teasers, so for his 7th birthday I spent a very enjoyable half an hour or so on the Hawkin’s Bazaar website buying him the kind of stuff that made my heart sing at the same age.

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There is also a dinosaur inside an egg (hatch it in a glass of water), and a super complex dino rubber for his school pencil case. (No, American readers, it’s not what you are thinking. Rubber = eraser.) We had a splendid time after baths this evening sending the slinkie plinking down the hall stairs, mesmerised by its rainbow colours. (For some reason they are called springies now). I sat at the top with the infants, (well, apart from the bit where I found myself lying face down the stairs at 45 degrees, with Ol sitting on my back, whipping me. Not sure how that happened. Just call me Jungle Gym Sasha) and Clare stood at the bottom, judging who was best at getting it to bounce from stair to stair. I was sadly worsted by Ol. No change there then.

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Then it was off to bed for stories. I had also bought him the Enid Blyton Faraway Tree Boxset at Clare’s request, and I read him the first two chapters of The Enchanted Wood. So far removed from my day to day life – both book and child, but nonetheless treasured, for all that.

(NB The Faraway children are no longer called Jo, Bessie, Fanny & Dick, I noticed this evening. They are now Joe, Beth, Frannie & Rick.)

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17 comments

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Joe, Beth, Frannie & Rick? Urgh. Don’t like.

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@LaLa: Yes, it’s just wrong!

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I hit enter before I’d finished – oops.

I meant to add:

However, I adore your gift for Olivier – it’s a veritable box of joy.

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Really, they messed about with the names? I had to read Enid Blyton under the covers as my mother hated her and vetoed the books from the house…
You sound like a perfect sort-of-Godmother, I remember the treat of Hawkins Bazaar boxes from Uncles at Christmas. And they sell traditional sugar mice!

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@Sylvia: I always LOVED the idea of sugar mice from all my Blyton reading, but when I actually got them I cldn’t eat them – too sweet! Used to leave them mouldering in my playroom! LLGxx

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Argh. They cannot change their names. That is not fair. What about poor Tittie in Swallows and Amazons. She suffers, they must all suffer. And what sort of name is Rick for an old fashioned English boy with grubby knees. Argh again.

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@katyboo: I agree. Rick is just dreadful. Better to have changed it completely than use such a non-English name. LLGxx

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Fab gifts – the old ones are the best. I recommend ebay too for vintage Thunderbird toys – every kid that comes to our house becomes obsessed with them. And the old Fisher Price garage/school/village that we 70s kids remember so well – indestructible and great fun. Though the 1970s Girl’s World is my favourite…

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@Sarah: We had to put our school AND the garage on the skip earlier this year as they were properly revolting. I can still hear the tinkle of schoolhouse bell….LLGxx

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I hate the updated names SO much and even worse, Dame Spankalot is not Dame Shoutalot. Ridiculous….

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@Natalie: I just wish they would leave them as reflections of the era in which they were written…LLGxx

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Re: Names….the Slinky was a trademark owned by the Pennsylvania engineer who invented it. He got a patent, which has since run out, so now everyone can make them. But I believe the name Slinky is still owned by a company making the toy these days.
http://libraries.mit.edu/about/curious/slinky-patent.html

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@Erica: oh that’s brilliant! Thank you so much for clearing that up! LLGxx

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Oh wow, I can imagine how wonderful it is to be given a box of retro toys like these at that age!

Im always stuck with what to buy my nephew (niece’s are much easier to shop for!) and this seems like a great idea 🙂

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@Mademoiselle Mundane: They went down REALLY well. Like you, I do find buying for little boys quite tricky. LLGxx

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Great gift ideas, going to check that website out! That’s so funny about the Jungle Gym Sasha, love it! Can’t believe they changed the names, that used to be a favourite of mine for some reason, think I still have the original… FBxx

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@Flora Budd: Jo used to call me Silkie…God knows where my copies have ended up. LLGxx

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