Animal House

A sad moment yesterday.  While shopping in Brighton with Mrs Mabbsonsea, we noticed that one of my favourite shops, the Animal House, is closing down this weekend.

The Animal House was like going into a zoo.  It was stuffed full of toy animals, plus masks, puppets and other animal-related goodies.  It was a great source of props for children’s talks and services.  Now where will I find a donkey mask to disguise a monkey puppet on Palm Sunday?  I don’t like internet shopping – I like going into a shop and browsing and dealing with a real person at the till.

There’s also nostalgia in my sadness.  My younger son has loved stuffed toy animals since he was a baby, and the Animal House was like Aladin’s Cave to him.  I remember bringing him there on day trips to Brighton when we lived in London.  Even as recently as last summer, we had a good long browse in the shop together and then had a milk shake from Shake-away next door.  Happy days, no longer available.

There’s some moral point lurking here somewhere, I’m sure.  I asked the tiger puppet I bought yesterday at a huge discount if she had any wisdom to share, but she just kept the silence – one reason why stuffed toy animals are such wise, good companions, especially when you’re feeling a bit sad.


3 thoughts on “Animal House

  1. Sorry to hear that the Animal House is closing. Not that I know it personally but I have known a few very special ‘toy’ shops. Some specialized in models, some were for older children, others were just magical places to visit as a child or with child in hand. Say good bye to hand crafted Pinocchio.

    1. I hate the thought that these independent shops will fall to the likes of Toys R Us. That part of Brighton is full of independent shops, many of them quite quirky, so the area attracts quite big crowds of shoppers. This one fell to a combination of retirement and rising rents. There’s a limit to what people will pay for soft toys or hand-made cards or second-hand books. Greedy landlords are killing the goose that lays golden eggs. One by one, the chains move in and every town increasingly resembles every other town and the shoppers will stop bothering with town centres in the end. Wal-mart, here we come.

      1. You nailed it. My thoughts exactly. Here in many parts of the U.S you pull up to a stop light and the shopping center scene across the street looks the same, looks the same, looks the same. So sad.

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