Burning the Toast – a National Breakfast Ritual on Mother’s Day.
This is a Land Of Counterpane style Mother’s Day card that I drew a few years ago in 2016 to send to my Mum, on what proved to be her last Mother’s Day.
The toy soldier motif throughout the card links to some of the home cast toy soldiers I had made and painted for her collections cabinet full mostly of bears and tiny Lilliput Lane buildings. Hopefully she understood the whole collecting thing.
My Man Of TIN avatar or profile figure salutes some other Prince August 54mm homecast figures made and painted by me for my Mum’s display cabinet, along with a silicon cake decoration mould Fimo Royal Guard bear that I made and painted for her. Maybe more in theme with her collection of bears?
Quite often on blog posts for Father’s Day or at other times, many gamers and bloggers talk about the contribution played by their Dads to their gaming hobby.
I wonder what we would write on the same topic about our Mum’s contribution to our gaming lives?
Besides the obvious contribution of keeping us fed and watered, alive and well, washed and clothed, my late Mum encouraged my gaming hobby in lots of different ways.
Andy Callan’s Hair Roller Armies claimed some of her stock of spare or damaged plastic hair rollers in 1982, her hair rollers still being in regular use as a trained hairdresser throughout much of her life.
The knitted Action Man jumpers and leggings, welcome at the time, are all now sadly gone.
The dark green baize felt underlay on the dinner table which was supposedly to protect the wood. It was also excellent as a games mat with chunky books below for hills, but all due back in place at mealtimes. Short gaming scenarios were obviously the thing!
The mud and muck of garden wargaming, crawling around on hands and knees must have taken its toll on the knees and elbows of our clothes, as well as the washing machine.
I was usually a careful painter, without too many painty accidents on furniture or clothes.
My Mum was fairly good at tolerating the amount of dusty stuff that you accumulate or make as a young gamer, although you did learn to tidy up and stow away to counter the threat of the uncaring Hoover. Hopefully not too many of my tiny Airfix heroes ended up emtombed in a Hoover dust bag. The same Flymo lawnmower rule applied to untidy garden wargames.
One of the best storage items that I gained from my Mum’s time working in a haberdashery department (naturally, being an excellent knitter) was a surplus display storage cabinet for sewing threads or cotton reels, very like this one below but in plastic.
Imagine a clear plastic version of this wooden cabinet, whichever brand it was. This was my childhood storage for many of my ‘heroic’ Airfix, Matchbox and Esci 1:72 / 1:76 figures and probably some of the smaller vehicles that I had.
Heavy plastic as this cabinet was, it solved the problem of having to sort through many mixed up figures before a game.
I remember this clunky but useful cabinet as I sort through some of those same loose painted or unpainted figures in my Really Useful Boxes today. It is probably why so many of these childhood figures survived.
Being see-through plastic, no labels were required, as you could see what figures were there in each of its narrow storage sections on each drawer. However I think I may later have borrowed one of those Dymo handheld signmaking labelling printer devices to label the shelves.
My Mum had an eye for a bargain and she enjoyed shopping and making up birthday boxes or rainy day surprise parcels for her overgrown children like me and for the genuinely younger members of the family. I still have unmade for a rainy day the odd Airfix plane kit that she found at knockdown prices.
I’m sure we can all list some of the excellent and inspiring books we borrowed from the Branch Library on regular shopping trips or those odd soldier books we received for Birthdays or Christmas. Not sure if it was my Dad or Mum who bought these, but as books seemed very expensive in my pocket money eyes back then in the 70s and 80s, I still have many of them to this day.
Even though our collections did not overlap, I did occasionally very carefully borrow her painted resin / plaster cast buildings by Lilliput Lane (another UK company now sadly gone). After she died, I kept two of my favourite or most versatile of her Lilliput Lane cottages or buildings, whilst the others were sold for a good charitable cause.
I’m sure to my late Mum and Dad, there was some value to me having an indoor hobby such as model making or wargaming. They knew that I was busy at home, warm and safe, albeit probably slightly high on paint and model glue and with occasionally lacerated fingers. Instead of which I could have been out of the house, out on my bike and up to mischief …
I’m sure there are many other things that will come to me over time about how my Mum and my Dad encouraged my gaming and modelmaking.
Anyway, thanks Mum and Dad.
So, treasure your Mum if you still have one or treasure her memory if you don’t.
Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, Mother’s Day UK, 19 March 2023.