Friday, 11 October 2013

Fixing Fifi. A Pelham Tale.

A Pelham Puppet PoodleMemories are funny things. My husband gets very frustrated when I can belt out all the words to I Am The One And Only, by Chesney Hawkes, but have forgotten to buy orange juice for the third time this week. What?! You don't find old Chesney Hawkes songs strangely uplifting?! Is that just me??!! Oh. Ok then. Anyway, I've found many times over the years, that the senses play their part in evoking different memories. Like, the smell of fresh tarmac always makes me think of hot summer days playing out in the street as a little girl, the smell of hairspray always reminds me of my mother, getting ready for a night out, because people seemed to wear a whole lotta hairspray when I was small!

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....

A pelham puppet in need of repair
Poor Fifi was in a dreadful state! I wasn't sure if she would survive surgery!

Pelham Puppet Poodle without Strings
A tweeted photo arrived from Imogen, showing a much improved Fifi, looking more like her old self, albeit string-less!

Poodle Pellham Puppet

Up on her feet, and with a new shiny nose, her makeover is almost complete!

Two poodle Pelham Puppets
Taking a break to make a new friend!

Pelham Puppet and Eeyore Toy                                     And, once home, introduced to my son's favourite toy! 

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! 



  1. What a lovely post,fifi looks fab :D i remember my step sister coming to see me when i was ill,she handed me the most beautiful big white teddy bear who i named sally (after my sister) i loved that bear and still have her now xx

  2. How lovely Lisa! It's that texture, isn't it? Fluffies are just so comforting!

  3. What a great idea :)


  4. she looks good as new :) i still have many childhood toys stored away and also moved a lot


    1. I have my older children's toys in the loft now, hope I don't have to move again! x

  5. Can I tell you a secret? I know all the words to One and Only too? Imogen has done very well bringing poor little Fifi back to life

  6. I love this post!! I have a few keepsakes from my childhood that will never be taken from me, including a bear called Bubbles, who was my mums when she was a child.

    I have a puppet my Nana bought me when I was very young. I am sure she bought it for me because I was obsessed with the Sound of Music, it always reminds me of the film and the scene with 'The Lonely Goat Herd'...and now I'm singing it!

    Great post, thank you so much for sharing! Have a fabulous weekend!

  7. Now I'm singing it too! Hope you have a lovely weekend too, Erika! x

  8. I'm looking forward to Chesney bringing out a double album of his greatest hits !

    Phil Dorrington.


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