Galatea - the doll I've had the longest
I first set eyes on Galatea (or one just like) her when I was seven years old. My father was an engineer in the Royal Airforce and the whole family had been posted to Cyprus. I saw the doll on a stand in one of those little tourist shops dressed in traditional costume. My heart was instantly set on her. I begged my mother but unfortunately, she didn’t share the vision. She kept pointing out that they were meant for mantle pieces or glass cabinets and not for young girls to play with. I had to use all my pester power and after what seemed like an age, thrillingly, Galatea arrived at my next birthday.
My mother was right about the suitability for play because she had several tiny pins, but it was before the days of health and safety and besides I was really, really careful. I took her everywhere and, along with the other dolls I had at the time, she played all sorts of roles from keeping house, going on various adventures to even marrying my brothers Action Man (it’s OK, in that game they really loved each other). Naturally, I tried to redress her but because of the pins and glue I couldn’t get the old clothes off. What you see in the photo are the clothes she came with all those years ago.
At the time, rather than living on the base, my parents rented a house in the town of Limassol. Our Landlady and her family lived in a tiny house at the back of our garden. The two properties shared a yard and we all became very close. She sort of adopted the young British family so far from homeand her daughter Andreana became my very best friend. I named my glamorous new doll after our landlady. I don’t know what Galatea senior thought about having a doll named after her, but I hope she took it as the compliment it surely was.
Some toys are confined to parent’s lofts but Galatea has stayed with me ever since - from Cyprus to Germany, all around the UK and now settled in Cornwall. I have a couple of trunks of my special possessions that I’ve acquired over the years. She goes in there. Every now and then I can go in and relive the memories. She’s the doll have had the longest and is very, very special.