Archive for the ‘foxes’ Category

A Special Sunday Brunch Part 3 (Conclusion)


Maurice kept the kebabs flowing. Velvette had not only made pizza for the rather finicky children, but a pot of hearty fish and tomato stew that everyone had with chunks of sliced warm baguettes baked by Mae, who also made risotto with prawns and asparagus. Mildred contributed a bit of spaghetti bolognaise that she had made for dinner the night before, which Esme dug into with relish.


The Brambles took charge of dessert, which everyone made sure they had room in their bellies for.

When the dishes and cutlery were cleared, and the birthday cake brought out, there was a collective gasp of pleasure.

birthday cake 1

‘Strawberry chantilly cream cake!’ squealed Matthew. ‘My favorite!’ It was Mortimer’s specialty.

‘Gather around, everyone!’ said Eleanor.

birthday cakeThe birthday song was sung. Matthew made a wish and blew out the candles on the cake, and Eleanor made sure that everybody had a thick slice.

‘Sooooo yummy,’ said Matthew. ‘I love you, Dad!’


‘So do we!’ chimed George and Mildred.


It was a little after three in the afternoon when the neighbors said their goodbyes and ambled home, already dreaming about siesta in their warm cosy beds. They had helped with the washing up and all there was to do was to take down the party decorations.

Eleanor helped carry the presents up to Matthew’s bedroom.


‘Have fun opening them!’ she said.

Matthew started with the Slydales’ gift. It was a book bag.

bookbag‘Perfect!’ said Eleanor. ‘You needed a new one.’

From Elma, Mae, Ike and Candy, Matthew got a pair of white sneakers.


‘Nice,’ said Matthew. He turned to the pink package and gently unwrapped it. The Mulberry grandparents were famous for their unconventional gifts. Matthew tried not to expect too much. He imagined lime green pyjamas with watermelon prints.

pink present

‘It’s a … keyboard!’ Matthew exclaimed. ‘It’s so cool!’


‘That must’ve come from Uncle Edward’s shop,’ said Eleanor. Edward Mulberry, George and Mildred’s son, was a brilliant toymaker. ‘This must be one of his latest products. You’re a very lucky boy, Mattie.’

Matthew saved Esme’s present for last. She had told him that it was something he would really, really like, and over brunch he had spent every fifth or sixth mouthful of food guessing what it was, and being told he was wrong. Now he would finally know.

Esme's gift

‘Hmm, looks like a book,’ he said as he opened the top of the gift box.


‘Oh, a book about camping! And Esme wrote it!’

Esme loved camping and was the best person to ask about the best equipment and  camping spots around the country. She got Matthew interested after she showed him pictures of her many camping trips. Matthew’s birthday present was a handmade guide to camping, a thick notebook filled with handwritten notes, pictures and maps pasted on the pages.

‘I’m going to read it rightaway!’ declared Matthew, climbing onto his bunk bed.

MB in bed

‘Not so fast, young man,’ said Eleanor. ‘Straighten up your room first. I don’t want all this wrapping paper lying around. Birthday boys still need to pick up after themselves, you know.’

after party

‘Okay,’ said Matthew. ‘I love you, Mom!’

‘I love you too,’ said Eleanor, ‘but you still have to clean up. I’m going to sit with your dad and watch a bit of TV.’

-The End-


A Special Sunday Brunch Part 2

The children amused themselves with helium-filled balloons that the Chantillys had picked up in town, while the adults worked quickly to get the brunch ready.

Kids with balloons

Maurice got the fire started and was soon arranging his famous seafood and vegetable kebabs on the grill. (He was asked once what he used to marinate his juicy and flavorful kebabs, and his reply was, “Oh, a little salt and some spices,” and a wink.)

Myriam and Eleanor set the tables.

Mortimer, having done his part the night before – putting up the party decorations after Matthew had gone to bed, and making and frosting the birthday cake – got to kick back and just welcome the guests.

Slydales arrive

The Slydales arrived soon after, and quickly pitched in. Velvette Slydale brought a tomato and cheese pizza for the children.

table setting

‘Very thoughtful of you, Velvette,’ said Eleanor.

‘Oh, it was nothing,’ said Velvette. ‘Good idea to bring these plastic plates for the children, Myriam. I keep telling Slick to get plastic bowls and cups for our little Skitter, but he says he doesn’t care for plastic. I said to him, ‘Well, you’ll start caring once we run out of china!”

‘Indeed!’ said Myriam, and the ladies giggled.

The Mulberrys – Elma and Mae and their children Ike and Candy – finally appeared, with the unexpected additions of the children’s grandparents, George and Mildred.

‘How lovely to see you, George and Millie!’ cried Eleanor, giving the feisty old lady a warm hug.

The Mulberrys

‘Sorry we’re later than usual, Ellie and Mort,’ said Mae. ‘Ma and Pa called from the village to say that they were coming by, so we waited for them and they got lost.’

‘Oh, a little off-the-beaten-track adventure never hurt anyone,’ said George.

‘And we come bearing gifts for your boy,’ said Mildred as she handed Eleanor two big wrapped packages.


‘The one in the er, appropriate wrapping paper is from Mae and family,’ said Mildred. ‘The one in pink is from George and me, I’m afraid. I know your Mattie is a boy, but it’s such a pretty pink paper that I couldn’t resist. Anyway, it’s what’s inside that matters, I think.’

‘You’re absolutely right, Millie!’ said Eleanor. She found Mildred’s eccentricities refreshing and endearing.


‘Ladies and gentlemen!’ Maurice announced. ‘The kebabs are ready, and everyone’s here, so shall we have brunch now?’

And they did.


-End of Part 2-

Will the real Slydale please stand up?

When I saw the Slydales at the store, I just had to have them. I thought they were uncommonly good-looking:

I wish it had been the Flair (UK) version of the family, because that would contain each figure’s biography, which I always find amusing and interesting. There weren’t any fox families in Flair boxes at that store, nor at all the other toy stores that I visited. In fact, there weren’t many Epoch sets of these foxes either, just 3 to be precise. To me, that was another sign I should get them.

Naturally, I wanted to find out more about the Slydales. The Sylvanian Families site, my first stop when it comes to all things Sylvanian, only had a scanty item description: ‘Father Slick, mother Velvette, brother Buster and sister Scarlett Slydale.’ So I went to Beverly’s fantastic site to see if I could get more information about them. I found biographies which matched the ones that I found later on the Calico Critters site:

  • Mother, Velvette adores her family. She loves to take long strolls with Slick and her
    children Buster and Scarlett. Velvette looks forward to the times when she can sit
    back and relax in her favorite chair. She enjoys reading, writing and cooking. If that
    is not enough, she loves to ride horses too.
  • Father, Slick works as an electrician. His talents are so valuable to Cloverleaf
    Corners. Slick loves Velvette’s cooking and baking. Sometimes he waits around the
    kitchen for the next batch of scrumptious cookies to come out of the oven.
  • Brother, Buster is very proud of his father and hopes to be just like him some day.
    He often invites the other Cloverleaf critters, Branson Whiskers, Brother Gromwell,
    Linus Fisher and Spot Dalmatian to his house to play miniature golf in the backyard.
  • Sister, Scarlett is witty and charms many new friends in Cloverleaf Corners.
    Her favorite times are spent sipping tea like a grown up and baking cookies with
    her mother. She enjoys practicing the violin and often plays for her mother and
    father when they are having a special dinner together.
  • Girl twin, Linda crawls about the kitchen as her mother cooks. She likes to go
    into the kitchen cupboards for fun and pull out all of the pots and pans she can
    find. Velvette decided to set aside a special cupboard for Linda with lots of
    kitchen play toys.
  • Boy twin, Skitter looks in awe at his twin baby sister. It will not be long before he
    joins in the kitchen play fun.

I was convinced that I had read authentic biographies, and since I felt that I had a lot in common with Velvette, I adopted her as my avatar.

Then I stumbled across alternative biographies of the family on another site:

  • Slick Slydale is a mine of information and very clever. He’ll know the answer to any question you ask him.
  • Velvette Slydale is always on the lookout for a bargain. She has been known to travel for miles and miles and queue for hours and hours just for the spring sales.
  • Skitter Slydale is always on the go, but like his older brother, he is a bit naughty. His favourite trick is to run off with his baby sister’s toys.
  • Scarlet Slydale spends hours brushing her tail and is very proud of its glossy, healthy condition.

This got me confused. I know there was an earlier version of the Slydale family by Tomy, but they were brown foxes which looked very different from the Slydales that I have. But the ones on this site are identical to mine. Since the biographies that I saw first were from the Calico Critters site, my only guess was that the alternative biographies were Sylvanian Families (UK) versions. I have since learned that I was wrong. I started a post regarding the Slydales on the Sylvanian Families Message Board and was informed that the second set of biographies are also from a Tomy release.

So the Slydales have 2 different biographies, and since I am Velvette I have to choose which Velvette I’m going to be. I still want to be Velvette the loving mother, ardent reader, aspiring writer and good cook. Because I’m really not much of a bargain hunter.