Saturday 25 September 2021

Henry's Story

 I was asked to write about Henry for those who are new to the Sasha hobby and might not know Henry Holiday.  I have copied below two 'articles' I wrote about him, the first in May 2012, and then the second in October 2013, some of which will be duplicated.  At the end I will write about Henry now.

May 2012:  Why Henry:

I first saw ‘Henry’ on Ebay.  He was being advertised by Sarah of Vintage-Sasha on behalf of a friend.  His description read:  I’m selling 2 dolls this week for a friend, first is this 1972 Gregor who has been cleaned and restrung by Brenda Walton, he will come wearing the outfit shown, a Betsymay shirt and shoes, trousers by Molly and jumper by an unknown knitter.......he’s in lovely condition and poses nicely BUT he does have falling hair, it’s not really bad but with a vigorous brush some does fall............if you need any more info please ask”  However, I don’t think I really read the description, I just saw a picture of his gorgeous little face and knew I had to have him. 

(Photo Credit: Sarah Williams)

The fact that he had slightly falling hair didn’t bother me in the slightest.  When he arrived his hair didn’t fall at all, but after travelling to New Zealand, whether it was the changes in humidity and temperature or not, I don’t know, but now his hair is falling, but still not too much, I just try to avoid brushing it. 

Little did I realise how much this little Gregor was going to become part of my life.  His name didn’t come instantly, but within a short time, Henry he was.  Neither did I realise how much travelling Henry was going to do!  He has become my little companion, inspiration and has brought out the inner child in both me and my husband as photographs will testify!  As George Bernard Shaw once said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”.  Well I am certainly determined not to grow old and have wholly embraced the world of play!

Henry has a very lovely expressive face and is a sensitive and thoughtful lad.  He does like to get up to adventures and the occasional mischief though and enjoys playing with his friends.  He is very photogenic and poses well and I enjoy making photo stories with him.  Never would I have believed a few years ago, how much I have fallen hook line and sinker for these wonderful dolls and especially Henry.

Henry really has developed his own personality. Once I had gotten over my initial inhibitions and shyness at taking him out places with me to photograph, there has been no stopping his trips.

Henry has been on several aeroplanes flying to both Germany (with Emily who is probably my favourite Sasha) and New Zealand and transit stops in both Los Angeles and Hong Kong. 

I have taken Henry into hospital with me several times and he has even sat on an MRI Scanner!

Henry’s latest trip was to Devon where we visited my friend Laura and her ‘Dollies in Devon’.  He had a companion this time, Harry a redheaded lad from Washington in United States who had just been repainted by Shelly.  Harry is staying with us until he returns to USA with his ‘Mum’ Carol after the Sasha Festival.  We had a fabulous time and raised a lot of interest in what we were doing.  Our answers varied from the sensible explanation to the ‘having fun’ which indeed we were…to ‘we’ve been let out for the day’. 

Henry has helped me to make many lovely friends and contacts around the world and it has been lovely to write to and meet so many special people who enjoy Sasha dolls and indeed other dolls as well.  The generosity and friendliness of people is wonderful and reassuring.

In fact in his way Henry has become famous and now even has a pair of Jean Jensen’s footwear named after him…’Henry’s Hiking Boots’.  Which were seen featured in a lot of his New Zealand holiday photographs on my blog.

Henry is offering ‘Holiday’s with Henry’.  If anyone would like their Gregor or Sasha to come and stay with Henry to experience what it is like living in Hertfordshire, England and exploring some of the countryside they are most welcome.  As mentioned, he has already had two visitors come to stay Harper and Harry from Washington, United States.  Harry of course went with Henry to visit our friend Laura and her ‘Dollies in Devon’ family.

If I had to choose between all my Gregors and Sashas and was only allowed to keep one, Henry would be the one.  But sshh, don’t tell the others that, I would hate to upset them as they are all loved very much.


October 2013: My Sasha Gregor Story:  Henry.

When I first discovered Sasha dolls, little did I realise the journey I would end up taking and how much one doll in particular would end up meaning to me.  Although I have a lovely collection of beautiful Sasha and Gregor dolls, I am going to focus my story on just the one, Henry, known to many already.  I first saw him advertised for sale on eBay in June 2011 and as soon as I saw his face I just knew he had to come home to me.  It really was an attachment at first sight.  He duly arrived and was everything I had expected and just the perfect little guy who became Henry - I do believe he may have told me his name…anyway Henry he became shortly after he arrived.  Little did I realise how much he was going to become part of my life or how much travelling he was going to do with me in tow!

Henry has become in all sense of the word a true travel companion doll.  He has accompanied me on overseas trips, visits to the hospital for treatment and days out to various interesting places.  The whole family has embraced him…although my two sons won’t actually admit that!  My husband in particular has surprised me with how much he enjoys outings with Henry as well. In fact when deciding which National Trust or English Heritage property to visit next, the topic of whether Henry will ‘enjoy it there’ will often enter into the discussion.  Even my Dad in New Zealand was taken by him and enjoyed his exploits when we went hiking.   I have been to places I never would have dreamed possible before Henry came into my life and he has helped fill a void left by the loss of playing, performing and teaching music.  He is my little companion, listening with wisdom to all I wish to tell him.  He is my inspiration and has brought out the inner child in myself, my husband and many who get to meet him.  I have quoted this before, but I will quote it again as it is so true!  George Bernard Shaw once said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”.  So the key is…keep on playing!

Henry has certainly developed his own personality.  He has a lovely expressive face and is a sensitive and thoughtful lad who often thinks of others.  He enjoys adventures and getting into the occasional mischief whilst playing with his friends.  He is very photogenic and poses well and I enjoy making photo stories with him.  I have met some really amazing people through Henry and his adventures on my blog, which led to me offering ‘Holidays with Henry’ when I was asked if ‘Harry & Harper’ (a Sasha & Gregor) could come and stay with him before the 2012 Sasha Festival.  This first visit has been recorded both on my blog and in book form:  ‘Harry’s Holiday with Henry 2012’. This in turn has led to Henry starting his own blog ‘Holidays with Henry’ and it is here we document the trips, visits and holidays we go on with Henry and his guests. 

When attending the 2012 Sasha Festival I was astounded by the number of friends Henry had from all over the world, and how many were keen to meet him.  I heard how many look forward to reading his stories and seeing his dear face.  What I also felt was very special was the hiking boots I asked Jean Jensen to make for Henry before his trip to New Zealand have since become known as ‘Henry’s Hiking Boots’ and I thank Jean so much for this lovely gesture.    

I believe that through the confidence Henry has given me…I would never have dreamed that I would boldly go out photographing a doll in public before Henry… I have visited places I would never have imagined possible before.  He has opened new doors of adventures and it was a dream come true when we managed to fly to the United States in July 2013 to stay with a friend I’d met online through a Sasha Doll group and attend the 2013 Sasha Festival.  I have experienced nothing but positive comments and discussions from people who stop and ask me about him when we are out and about.  Many remember Sasha and Gregor dolls from their childhood and this often brings back happy memories and reminiscing about their childhood.  While in the USA it was amazing to see Henry get a ride in a Police car outside the White House, have a ride on a police horse and many other such exciting things that I would never even have dreamed about before.  In fact I strongly believe that if I Henry hadn’t come into my life I would never have gone the USA.

Henry is becoming quite the jet-setter and is building up his list of countries he has visited; Germany, France, USA, New Zealand as well as England of course.  He has also stopped over in LA and Hong Kong transit lounges…although he assures me they don’t count!

Through writing the stories for the blog and of course boys needing lots of toys, I have built up a lovely collection of props used by Henry and his friends.  Bicycles, a tricycle, skateboards, climbing ropes, games and many more things – he really needs a room of his own!  Henry also has designs for a tree house which we are hoping to build by summer 2014.  This is an exciting project inspired by another Sasha collector who kindly sent me photos and measurements to help us on our way.  The way collectors are willing to generously share their ideas is so very special and the encouragement that is given to each other is lovely as well.  The generosity and friendliness of people is wonderful and reassuring.

Who knows what the future holds for Henry and myself, more adventures for sure.  An eventual re-rooting of Henry’s head or a wig, as sadly he is suffering from the dreaded brunette falling hair syndrome, is definitely on the cards, but hopefully not for a long time yet.


Henry Now.

Henry did require a re-root in the end, wand this has been a strange transition for us...probably more me than him.  I have found it harder to accept his new look, even though it has been done well.  This he got at the beginning of 2019 before what is now possibly his last trip to New Zealand.  Henry hasn't been so active the last couple of years but we are working on remedying that, and he is still always a constant companion and certainly not tucked away out of sight.  

Each year I used to produce 'Henry's Yearbook', but haven't for the last three years, for various reasons (a good reminder to self to try again next year!)  I also used to donate a copy of this book to the Sasha Festival and it was a lot of fun.

Henry has his own facebook page which can be found here: Henry Holiday which he primarily used when on holiday which was a great way to post his updates, and his own blog of his holidays: Holidays with Henry  at other times he will be featured on this, my new Sasha Haven blog.  Over the years I have blogged about the Sasha dolls and their adventures on different blogs which you will see in the links on the side bar.  

Sunday 12 September 2021

A Visit to Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Farringford Gardens.

Now the summer holidays are over and the island is quieter it is a good time to start exploring again.  I hadn't been to Farringford Gardens (Tennyson's Garden & House) before, although Mum and Dad had.  

As you walk in you are greeted by this saying...what a sweet sentiment.

The grand house that was the home of Alfred, Lord Tennyson from 1853 until his death in 1892.  What a wonderful retreat from indeed from the clamour of his London life.  The house isn't open at the moment but it has been fully restored to its former glory and we can't wait until we can go and see inside it.  In the meantime you can enjoy the lovingly restored gardens and grounds.

The obligatory photo at the entrance of the house.

Huge windows.

Now for the gardens.

Pretty flowers.

Magnificent beans...I was very tempted to pick these...I sure hope they don't go to waste!

Wandering around the gardens on a lovely warm afternoon.


Of all sorts of shapes and colours.

There were several of these little poems around the gardens.

Of course who can resist climbing on an old log?

Such fun.

A strolling I go through the copse...

Until we come to Tennyson's bridge - a replica of the original which was used as an escape route for the poet onto the Down when unwanted visitors arrived!  ha ha.

Looking down the path that runs under the bridge

Time for a sit down on this lovely carved bench.

More gourds

Another poem.

Beautiful dahlias.

What a simply beautiful place to visit on a lovely quiet Saturday afternoon.  It was bliss.


Thursday 5 August 2021

Outings this week.

A couple of wanderings around the island this week.

The first to Appley Beach on Sunday which was lovely.

Such a beautiful view, although not as nice as where I live on the island.

The second wandering was yesterday when I went to Yarmouth.

Such an interesting carved seat.

A beautiful day to take in the views and nature around.

Walking through the wooded area

A nice stroll in the cooler shadows of the trees.

A little stop for a rest and listening to the silence.

It was bliss.

One last look at the estuary before venturing home.