I have come to the conclusion that this is why people generally seem to see the value of souvenirs and keepsakes more as they get older. That, and the fact that circumstances can dictate how much of a hoarder you can be when you're younger. I had to move several times when I first left home, so I was very limited what I could hang on to. For this reason, I have come to cherish the few items that survived my childhood. Like Fifi. I've had Fifi so long, that I can't quite remember when I got her, although, I'm told she was given to my dad at some stage during his childhood and he passed her down to me. She is very, very fluffy and reminds me of my Grandad, who could fix anything, and would spend ages in his garden shed, untangling and restringing poor Fifi. Needless to say, the old girl has had a colourful life and has fared less well than most other sixty year olds. It made me kind of sad, seeing her looking much the worse for wear and I left her in her box for many years, in a cupboard, but I longed to see her on her feet again, so my children could see her in all her fluffy glory, and perhaps creat memories of their own. Luckily for me, I happened to get chatting to a lovely lady on Twitter, who had a little puppet shop. Her name was Imogen, or @vintagepuppets on Twitter. Not a professional restorer, she was just a very lovely lady, who shared my desire to see Fifi come back to life and offered to restring her for free! As an avid collector and dealer in puppets herself, she set up her shop in January with over 300 1970's puppets in mint condition from Germany. The owner had sadly died and Imogen managed to get the puppets sent over to Norfolk to sell to her customers. Her passion is finding rare gems for collectors and she is planning on expanding to include other vintage toys on the site soon. Here are some snapshots of Fifi's journey....
Poor Fifi was in a dreadful state! I wasn't sure if she would survive surgery!
A tweeted photo arrived from Imogen, showing a much improved Fifi, looking more like her old self, albeit string-less!
Up on her feet, and with a new shiny nose, her makeover is almost complete!
Taking a break to make a new friend!
So, Fifi's journey is complete, my son thinks she's wonderful and loves making her dance and even cock her leg on the furniture (well, boys will be boys!). It's been great to have her home, I never thought I'd see her in such amazing shape again!
If you have any questions about vintage puppets or just an interest in old toys, say hello to Imogen on Twitter or give her shop a visit, she'd be very pleased to see you!