A couple of years ago, soon after we moved into our home, Harry and I began to hear strange skittering noises under the floorboards. Small things occasionally went missing or turned up in unexpected places. ’Mice!‘, said my husband. ‘Borrowers!’ I replied. Harry was mystified. Then, we discovered these small doors in the skirting boards (below) and realised that we are not alone.
we’ve come to enjoy watching the comings and goings of whoever lives behind these doors; post is delivered, sometimes with milk or a fresh supply of logs. But we always assumed that the Borrowers, or fairies, or Lego men – whoever they were – lived indoors… until yesterday, when we were kicking a ball around the garden and discovered the door in the tree;
Lit by a small lamp and almost disguised amongst the foliage was this ornate front door, complete with welly boots and a rake, and a freshly swept porch. We were very taken aback…
It prompted us to rummage around a little further, at which point we stumbled across what looks like a tiny children’s playground, complete with tyre swing, straw bales, sandpit and even an abandoned buggy (maybe we made too much noise?).
If, having paced out every inch of your garden or backyard, you find no signs of miniature life and want to encourage a few fairies or little people to move in, you could perhaps create your own tree doors and playgrounds. I used unpainted doll house doors which I daubed with grey and green paint before sealing with varnish, adding tiny door furniture and borrowing some accessories from Harry’s ark and toy box. The tyre swing is a Lego tyre, temporarily borrowed from a Lego City fire engine and repurposed. The tiny replica gas lamp was a junk shop find (amongst a bag of mixed dolls house furniture and accessories), and miraculously works with a tiny hearing-aid sized battery, casting a magical glow over the undergrowth. eBay is a good source too for miniature accessories and pre-loved dolls house kit.
To protect the tree from damage I simply glued the door to the bark in a natural hollow; a strong enough hold to allow the door handle to be tugged, but not a permanent fixture. Oh, and a word of caution; when I first crept out at dusk to create this scene for Harry, I set a small dolls-house sized tomato plant by the front door, with attractive cherry-red tomatoes strung along it; by morning it was gone, and is probably even now being spat out in disgust by some local urban fox… so perhaps remove any bits and bobs at the end of each day. Besides, half of the magic is never knowing where the evidence of the little people might pop up…
Have a great weekend!