Strange noises have been heard in our house of late. Scratching and skittering from behind the panelling, often at night. Things are also going missing; tiny things, like single earrings, and crumbs from the floor. My husband, ever the pragmatist, is convinced that we have mice. Whilst he headed off to the rodent-control section of the hardware store yesterday, Harry and I stumbled across the truth, and it’s much more exciting; We Are Not Alone!
Almost invisible to grown-ups, camouflaged against the kitchen skirting boards, is a very tiny front door. To adults it looks just like a plug socket from a distance, but to eagle-eyed little people it is immediately obvious that this is the entrance to the home of the Other People who share our house. And look; as if more proof was needed; they even receive mail and milk deliveries!
So now we watch this door very carefully, from the corner of our eye, just in case we manage to catch someone coming or going. We’ve found that the best thing to do is to be very still and to pretend to be absorbed in something else entirely. Whilst we wait, Harry has led an exhaustive search of the house to see if there are any other signs of our neighbours, and lo and behold; we found another door!! Occasionally when Harry comes down in the mornings there is a tiny plastic ladder nearby; we think they borrow it from his toy box and use it to scramble up the skirting to reach the door.
Harry is convinced that this front door belongs to all the little action-figures which by day are jammed into his toybox; at night, they obviously retire home to a warm – if tiny – bed, shortly after Harry wends his own weary way upstairs. As a lifelong fan of Mary Norton, I think that we have Borrowers, and have been telling Harry all about them. In due course I expect we’ll also discover that this is the doorway that Santa’s tiny elves use on Christmas Eve when they slip in to check that the coast is clear for the Big Man himself. The tooth fairy, too, probably makes a cameo appearance via this very same entrance. In the years to come, doubtless Harry will forget this wee door and it will fade into obscurity again. Till maybe one day, years from now, someone small enough and attentive enough will discover it once more…
This is the lovely site which inspired me to create the presence of tiny neighbours in our own house. I ordered a couple of inexpensive, non-opening dolls house doors online (‘proper’ doors have deep frames which make it difficult to affix them to skirting unless you actually go the lengths of channelling them in – only for the truly dedicated), then spray painted them and added some miniature door furniture. I crafted tiny letters and tied them together with bakers twine; interestingly, it’s these that Harry has been most captivated by and saw as the ultimate proof of life. The doors are attached to our skirting boards with double-sided tape; strong enough to withstand Harry knocking on the door and tugging the knob, but easy enough to remove if necessary, with perhaps just a dab of touch-up paint if needed.
And finally, for those who want the instructions in an all-in-one Pinnable tutorial, here’s a montage below;