I used to have one of these little fellers with cymbals. It used to clash them together so noisily and so excitedly that it fell over regularly. I didn't mean to feel nostalgic today, but I bought a Spirograph in the North London Hospice Shop, complete apart from the pens. It even has the leaflets inside it, and I can imagine getting into the zone on a Sunday afternoon rolling the little fraggle-toothed transparent discs around inside each other and watching the weaving lines of biro materialising on the paper.
They had some other old boxed toys there, including what was called a computer, but I didn't have time to rummage because I was so late for an appointment that it nearly turned into a disappointment. The problem with old toys is what, as an adult, you are supposed to do with them. I can vividly remember the time when aged about 13 I realised that I no longer wanted to play with toys. It was the most extraordinary feeling; what are these things here for? Why did I think they meant something, and why had I ascribed life to them? It was the same sense of disappointment as when a record you've been obsessed with for weeks suddenly loses its meaning overnight and just becomes another very good song. The emotional depth has just vanished as surely as if it was never there; it is no longer vital, deep and meaningful but is now merely another entertaining episode in your life's library.