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Days of Living Small

· 2 min read

Days of Living Small - A display of Cumbrian lockdown poetry.

Days of Living Small - A display of Cumbrian lockdown poetry

BBC Radio Cumbria was full of amazing pandemic poetry in 2020.

Some was from established poets, others from people writing again for the first time since school. There were contributions from across the county from
Barrow to Carlisle and diverse musings on everything from toilet rolls to new relationships with birdsong.

Creating a way to display it all became my own personal lockdown art project.

Through July and August 2020, I crafted myself calm through the production of a tiny toilet roll horde & miniature G&Ts.

The theme of these dolls house dioramas was ‘Days of Living Small’, reflecting on the time when our worlds shrunk between our four walls.

These were displayed in the community cabinet in the Tullie House Museum for two weeks around the Contains Strong Language festival.

BBC Radio Cumbria’s social media team, Alison Wood & Molly Brewer, created a Facebook video of the dioramas -

They included my own miniature-makes & some very special original dolls house furnishings.

In April 2020, a cheering parcel arrived for the family from sister-in-law Sarah Williams containing scores of tiny wardrobes, fridges and dressers, each individually-wrapped, containing a chocolate as well as yet more tiny treasures, like a miniature plastic blancmange & a roast chicken.

The dolls house furnishings are an heirloom, amassed & played with by four generations of the Dennett/Malcolmson family, the oldest bits (including a tiny lead dial phone and hoover) come from grandparents David & Margaret Malcolmson of Sweden How, Ambleside. David in particular was a lover of toys and is most fondly-remembered for letting-off exceedingly large & dangerous bottle rockets from rowing boats in Grasmere.

Everyone loves a tiny toilet roll

Bowie floating with the tin cans and toilet rolls to illustrate Jonathan Humble's poem 'Sitting in a Semi'

Honey I shrunk the G&Ts

Lockdown bathroom

Small NHS rainbows in windows