• Plastic animals

    One final post made possible with Noel's recent photowork: the plastic animals which we had bought and collected in England during our stays at 9DR. Here's a picture, for example, where I can be seen absorbed in the pleasure of a toy elephant that had just been bought for me:

    plastic animals

    the surprizing thing (or perhaps not so surprizing, depending) is that I was actually averting my eyes from the picture, and putting forward the elephant... I'll have to ask my shrink (oops, don't have one!). Would you believe it, I loved these little models so much that I kept (in a diary) part of the cardboard box which had contained it:

    plastic animals

    At the time (year 1973, 74...) I was busy writing a fastidiously long "book of animals" which somebody (I think some of my children) recently brought back from Bonnebosq for me to see - not that I had forgotten it, but well, I thought that perhaps it was just fine where I had left it all that long time ago. This occupation might have been the reason why such a fascination had seized me! Here are Noel's arrangements of the little creatures:

    plastic animals

    plastic animals

    plastic animals

    plastic animals

    Something happens with all such heavily invested objects: they carry with them a power of evocation which operates its tricks on the memory decades after, irrespective of whether there had been any effect during the long intervening period (and in fact this effect is always more effective then). I often muse that, in the event of the accidental disappearance of one of these objects, some incredibly precise but orphaned trace remains in the brain, waiting for its symbol to reawaken it, but it never will be, because nothing else can reawaken it. A whole story is there, mysteriously hidden and waiting to be invoked when one day the object comes into sight once again. The same phenomenon happens for places, or faces, etc.

    The eagle above, together with the bison (2nd photo up), for example, were bought on the same day, with the limited money I had. I had painfully selected them in desperation at not being able to buy all the others in the window at Murray and Brand's (the shop in Southgate - probably doesn't exist any more). Then they had been placed, together with the standing gorilla, on a tablet near the window in the little room at Auntie Olive's, where I was staying during that particular summer, probably because somebody was using the room where I normally slept at Grandma's. I used to pore over the details of these little things and immerse myself in what I could now call their totemic power. The large 40p elephant on the first photo was bought later (in 1973), and meant the world for me. It was such an improvement on the first! Its strength, majesty, etc. I could feel (and master - I had mastered it with my 40p!) certainly as strongly as any other boy would have done with a red Ferrari or a brand new cricket bat.

    And there are (or were) a much greater number of these plastic animals than the ones you see displayed here. I haven't uploaded all of Noël's photos, and he hasn't photographed all the collection! One couldn't really play with them, at least, as far as I'm concerned, I didn't play with them. I just had them, I could admire them and plunge into their world, so to speak. Childhood: that's a world to plunge in, for sure!

    « 9DR furnitureCecil and Olive Hughes at Southgate County school »

  • Comments

    Friday 4th October 2013 at 21:04

    The group photo looks to have been cropped - who was in the missing portion I wonder?

    Someone must have bought a job lot of those plastic animal figures as I remember seeing some of them well after you would have gone home. Or were they left behind to become part of the fabric of 9DR, waiting for some other young naturalist to twist and ponder? Then as the curtain came down, finally exported to France for safekeeping?

    Friday 4th October 2013 at 23:20

    Yes, it does seem as if the left side had been cut off, but I've no idea why or how.

    I think we'd left the animals back at 9DR, in spite of the fact that they were well beloved: perhaps Grandma had told us they would be treasured, and we need not worry... What is sure is that they're now in Bonnebosq.

    Helene Pavey
    Saturday 5th October 2013 at 19:48

    Final post????


    Sunday 6th October 2013 at 00:22

    Yes, the last of the posts based on Noel's recent series of photos!

    noel millou
    Sunday 6th October 2013 at 21:33

    Weren't these plastic animals all at one point at 9DR, in that very box of wood I do have, and of which I took a photo? Now I reckon there was also another box, like a drawer, which was green, with matchbox cars inside. They were about the only toys that we could play with.

    By the way, does anybody know what ha become of the wooden game table, or billiard (whatever it was called). I'm sure those who palyed with remember it very well. It used to have nails planted around holes where the metal balls would go and you would score, what, 50, 100 pts or more, I don't remember...

    Sunday 6th October 2013 at 22:19

    It was called "Bagatelle"! But I don't know where it's now! here's an example



    jan christopher
    Friday 18th October 2013 at 20:18

    HA..yes...I loved the plastic animals. They were so very heavy weren't they. Do you also remember the twirling metal planes that balanced on the stand. We acquired them a long time ago but I'm not sure where they are now. I think Grandpa made them himself.

    Saturday 19th October 2013 at 16:16

    Yes, I recall these two planes and their stand, Jan. I had completely forgotten them until you happened to mention them! Do you really think Grandpa could've made them himself? And I too wonder where they could be now...

    Saturday 10th May 2014 at 22:46

    I thought Mark had the 'Baggatelle'.... By the way, do you remember the card games 'Battaille' and also 'Bouchon'.... That game Bouchon used to make Auntie Olive laugh so much!


    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 10:31

    I do remember that game, Bouchon, but how did you play it?

    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 11:04
    Hi noel. Eek! I can only rememeber that you had to collect something and each time you got it you added the next letter in bouchon. It'll come to me. And there was a race for the last letter. In the middle if the table were empty cotton reels one for each player minus one as someone always had to lose. The scramble to grab the reel when the winner called (or whispered) BOUCHON often left gouge marks in the table. I just can't quite remember what cards you had to get. It was a fast game and usually hilarious.
    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 11:08
    Oh and your names were written at the top if the paper so you built your own bouchon word. Voila!
    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 11:16
    I think you used only the picture cards in the pack and had to simultaneously pass a card to the player on your left and take o e from the one on your right. Yes? Maybe not. Someone knows surely
    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 11:53

    All I remembered about this game of Bouchon was its name and origin, until you reactivated it all! Nice. So anyway, I think the origin was my Franco-German aunt who had taught it to us during one of the two holidays with her in Ruffieu (the Millou holiday house in Jura which was sold, rebought, maybe resold...): this was back in 1975 and 1976. So we must have played this game a lot and brought it over to the UK...

    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 12:13
    How great that you did! 'Pig' and Spoons' are all versions of the same it seems. Maybe you also brought 'Bataille' but I'd have to look that one up.
    Sunday 11st May 2014 at 13:56

    Perhaps, also I can't tell you where this one came from. We always looked upon 'Bataille' as the easiest and therefore most teachable game when faced with the necessity of doing something with cards and didn't have either time or patience to organize something more elaborate.

    carol phillips
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 10:46

    I had that game backstroke for a long time even my children played with it but eventually I gave it to mark. My kids had long since grown up and grown out of it. I think Mark may have restored it or at least done minor repairs 

    carol phillips
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 10:47

    Sorry not the game backstroke! Ha ha I meant bagatelle....serve me right for not checking what I have written....blasted predictive text!!

    Monday 19th May 2014 at 12:17

    OK, so it's up to Mark now to send us a pic!!

    Monday 19th May 2014 at 12:25
    Yup. C'mon mark ;)
    Wednesday 17th September 2014 at 13:50

    Hello everyone

    I've only just had a look at this, quite a few memories, and I will have to look properly.

    On the group photo, its me on Grandpa's lap, and I dont think it is cropped.  I havent got that actual photo, but at the time all our photos were to the left of centre, so I expect the camera viewfinder wasnt great or perhaps it was the person taking the photo!

    Wednesday 17th September 2014 at 17:04

    Hi Fiona! Great to have you visit this blog! Yes, I've always had the photo as it is, so I think you're right about the viewfinder.

    Let us know if you have some wishes concerning anything, and of course if you have stuff which doesn't appear here, well, we'd be quite elated to post it.

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