Thursday, 23 February 2012

running like clockwork

It was an aside really.  A picture of an old-fashioned toy with what looked like a key poking out provoked the question why.  After all, as we know, keys are for locking (and unlocking) things.  But there we had a metal soldier with a key sticking out of his tummy.  Why?

A discussion ensued the essence of which being that while our toys move with the aid of batteries, through the mysteries of ‘electronics’ and by ‘remote control’, our grandparents’ toys could mostly only move if they were pushed.  Or perhaps with the aid of a key.  A key which was turned and which did something rather mysterious inside, but which meant that the toy would then roll, or walk a little way.  Until it needed winding up once more.

Confused expressions began to appear (but perhaps no more confused that that which might appear on my face should I ever really try to understand quite how my blog posts reach you all) until a light bulb moment for Bianca.

‘I have something that you wind up…..’ she started.

I wonder – can you maybe bring it to show us?

And she did.  And here it is.


A pretty little pony; a tiny little plastic pony.  But look.  Can you see a winder sticking out of its side?  Wind it up and the pony hops and leaps and gallops!

Not quite a key, but it does the same job.  No batteries.  No ‘electronics’.  No ‘remote control’.  Just a winder to turn.  And a mystery within.

And look here.  Béatrix brought in a treasured family possession to show us. 


Her older brother’s toy train from when he was a little boy.  A metal ‘steam’ train.  Complete with key.  Wind it up and the train trundles along towing its carriages behind it.  And a bell rings (ding-a-ling).  No batteries.  No ‘electronics’.  No ‘remote control’.  Just a key to turn. 

And a mystery within.

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