Now my big sister Anne was the only girl you probably ever heard of who enjoyed playing with Meccano. She had inherited my dad's old set, and I spent my early childhood marvelling at the working models she built . And she grew up to be a computer expert who enjoyed tinkering with cars ; butI this is nevertheless the same sister, I should point out, who ALSO came top in domestic science and liked making her own clothes....
But I didn't seem to have inherited those family " engineering " genes, and in spite of her example the thought of playing with Meccano myself never appealed to me. I did quite like building houses with Lego, but that was mainly so I could make up stories about the people who lived in them.
And when it comes down to it , my favourite toy of all, at a slightly earlier stage, has to have been my dolls' house. Quite a simple single-story one , with a lift-out partition between the rooms and a folding board for the roof, and a small set each of kitchen, bedroom and sitting-room furniture; plus a very miscellaneous collection of little dolls who lived in it...in fact anything of the right size that came my way ended up living in there, including odd ornaments and a Noddy-shaped eggcup .
It sat in the corner of the living room, next to the piano , and when the dolls got bored with life at home they used to set out on all sorts of exciting adventures round the room, mounaineering over the sofa with an ornamental donkey as pack animal, or travelling in a plastic toy stagecoach.... anything was grist to the mill of my imagination in those days.
In fact one of my other favourite " toys " when small cost nothing at all; just a collection of grocery packets and containers that my mother had saved for me, and with which I happily played at Shops for hours .