Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The old-uns are the best

The other day mummy had a brainstorm. In a moment of inspiration she decided it would be a brilliant idea if she went and 'rootled' (that's one of grandad's words which doesn't appear in any dictionary but is exactly the word I'm looking for on this occasion) in the loft at her childhood home in the hope she might rediscover some of the fantastic toys she had when she was little.

Grandad's eyes rolled in his head as he was ordered to fetch the stepladders and off they both went to 'rootle' in the loft.

A good 20-30 mins later and there's a pile of boxes and bags on the kitchen floor and everyone is joining in with sorting, washing, dusting and drying as loads of old toys get a bit of a clean-up so George can experience some of the fun mummy had as a child.

Mummy was positively excited as all her playtime memories came flooding back – not all the toys, though, lived up to the hype. Many were faded, jaded or worn, and a few were broken or no longer working. Mummy was very disappointed after setting up the oval track of her Tomy Merry-Go-Train – that was meant to chug round and automatically pick up and drop off little people – that it didn't move an inch.

There was a plastic giraffe with almost four legs, no ears, no horns, no nose and no pattern (for some reason it went in the 'keep' section), some pull-along toys and a huge raggedy rabbit with threadbare patches that had all seen better days.

There were, however, a few gems in the pile. There was a tray of wooden blocks that kept George amused for ages, a car dashboard toy that cleaned up quite nicely, a Tomy Space Shuttle set that will be great in a few months and a couple of pristine wooden jigsaws... with no pieces missing!

But the toy that George loved the most was the little faded Fisher Price bus that jiggles the people about as you pushed it along. Over the years though, most of the people had "got off the bus" and they were nowhere to be found. This didn't bother George who insisted on taking his empty bus to the park, the shops and everywhere else he went.

I think a lot of us have a rose-tinted fondness for the toys and items of our youth, and sometimes revisiting them doesn't always live up to expectations. But then it's not the intrinsic quality of those things that is important. A 'rootle' in the loft proved more about discovering happy memories than fantastic old toys, and in this respect it really did live up to the hype.

There's another other side to the coin too – that our little George's eyes can spot a new glimpse of magic in something that looks like nothing, and he's certainly quite taken with his "new" bus, his "new" building blocks and more.

One thing's for sure though... he's NOT having mummy's old dolly!


  1. I do like that word, 'rootled'. I went 'rootling' in my parents' loft a while ago, but the toys I found stay put at grandma's house!

  2. My grandparents also use the expression to rootle. Maybe it is a Coventry thing?