Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chit-chat Wednesday - Leuralla the vintage toy museum

It's week two of the school holidays and Daisy and I have had the most splendid time! Daisy has said she wants to stay home and relax and that suits me fine! So we've had plenty of time to do craft, read books together and just BE. Heavenly.

Last Friday we did a family trip to Leura in the Blue Mountains. Leura is a picture-postcard mountain town where I once lived for over a year. Part of my fantasy trilogy Circle Of Nine is set there. I love the mountains and it was glorious to return after so long in the city. We visited a vintage toy museum housed in Leuralla, a sublime pre-WW1 house with the spectacular Blue Mountains as a backdrop. If you love vintage toys this museum is a must-see. It is the southern hemisphere's largest vintage toy collection from the early 1900s to present day, crammed with Noddies, old dolls, puzzle games, children's books, railway trains, Barbies, shabby old teddies and a thousand other delights. I think Daisy thought she had died and gone to heaven! I was just as excited as my daughter and it really was the most perfect way to spend a day in the mountains. The mansion also has the most beautiful gardens and even an old railway station set up with original fittings. In the gardens I stumbled across an item that set me thinking of a perfect novel idea, something you would never in a million years expect to find there. I love a mystery, and I suspect I may have found another book idea that I want to pursue very much. So many ideas, such little time! The photos of the museum actually resemble our lounge-room at the moment.

After the museum we walked back to Leura village and I drove everybody MAD wanting to buy every second house I came across. The photo of Daisy with the rabbits is a house I fell seriously in love with. It's on the market for over a million. Those bunnies don't come cheap but I'd love to live in a house with bunnies guarding it! Then we went to a lovely cafe and had some glorious potato wedges with sour cream and the best egg and bacon rolls you could ever imagine washed down with terrific mountain coffee. Sadly it was time for the long scenic train trip back down the mountains. It was a bit miserable to arrive in Sydney peak hour as tired and weary commuters made their way home.

I do long for a tree change to the mountains. It would be glorious to live in the chilly, pure mountain air and grow vegetables and lovely flowers and live in Leura village again. Except of course for the bushfires. Of course I'd have to have the bunny house.

That night the strangest thing happened. I kept getting quite frightened every time I thought about the toy museum, although I hadn't been creeped out all when we were actually there. It seemed a rather sad and almost terrible place that night. 'It's so unloved there. The toys are so unloved. The house is so unloved’ - it was like a refrain in my mind. I remembered all the pouting, sad and almost resentful faces of toys with no children to play with them. Thousands of tiny faces glaring through glass cases. The house that had seemed such delightful fun in daytime now seemed lonely and eerie.

It reminded me of my current book Poets Cottage, where there is a haunting, although not in a normal sense - rather a terrible memory lingering in a house. I am a believer in such things. My Blog friend, Kate from What Kate Did Next has a gorgeous post, Ghosts on her terrific writing Blog. Skip over and have a read! By a spooky coincidence we both Blogged about Kate Bush this week too!

Hope the rest of your week is filled with loads of creative ideas, jolly fun and the spirits that surround you are of the benevolent kind. xx


  1. Lovely pictures. And a lovely blog you have. : )

  2. Loved reading about your day trip to the Toy Museum. Daisy is one lucky little girl!

  3. I miss the Blue Mountains :o)...there is an Aussie artist named Graham Gercken who does AMAZING paintings of them, I SO have to get one of his someday...I have a landscape, but the Blue Mountains paintings are just gorgeous!(he is on ebay...I should also add him to my blog now that I think of it! ;o)

  4. how could ANYONE resist a house with bunnies guarding out the front????

  5. Hey, yes the toy museum would be a great setting for a spooky short story: of course it would take the right writer to bring this idea to life - you!

    It sounded a real fun day out. Thanks for sharing. :)

  6. Great pics :)

    best wishes

  7. I love it.. Vintage toys are so fab but there is also something quite creepy about them too- lol! Glad you had so much fun and I hope you do write that mystery :)

  8. I can understand why it would be kind of creepy to think of all those old toys in a museum. I would love to know more about your mystery idea! How fun :o) Little Daisy looks so cute standing by the house - little girls are the best. So glad you got some time to hang out together.



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