A few of my favourite things…

Inanimate things, that is – and in no particular order.  

Mugs – I made these when I was a one-woman studio. Each was a reject, flawed in some way, hence they were never sold. The one in the middle is strictly mine – it’s my favourite and a one-off. A deliberately simple, rough and rustic pattern, and I love it. It’s heavy, substantial… comforting… coffee just tastes better from this mug.

Ancient Bears – the one on the right is over 100 years old. He was my grandmother’s when she was a child but has been mine for some years now. The monkey on the left is of an equal age and also belonged to her, I think. The bear in the middle belongs to Jess and is shortly to go off on an exciting overnight school trip. He’s just called “Bear”. I tell her he talks to me when nobody else is around and gives me good ideas for stories (this really annoys her… but I can’t give up the pretence).

Bottles – the one on the right was part of my Christmas present from my mum. It’s old and apparently has a twin in a museum somewhere. She says it’s for perfume but I prefer the notion that it’s meant to contain a dose of Opium for those creative blank moments. The one on the left is a Kosta Boda bottle and was a lucky find in an antique shop I used to frequent some years ago. The dealer was a drunk. Late afternoon was the best time to secure a bargain as he’d be quite pissed by then and open to silly offers. I picked this up for just a few pounds… I don’t think he had any idea what it was, or what it was worth, as his starting price was about a tenth of its value… and I couldn’t resist driving him down even further. Crazy man, great shop.  

Box of Memories – ah, what can I say? A box of old photos, love letters and diaries. I don’t look at these often but they provide the Finest of Fluffings as and when the need strikes.

Compass – this was given to me by a friend sometime in the 90s just before she went to live in Hong Kong for a few years. She said I’d always know where, directionally, she was… which I thought a lovely sentiment.

Kangaroo – my great-uncle made this and I used to play with it as a kid when we visited. It hops down sloping surfaces and, unlike any toys owned by my own children at a similar age, the kangaroo still works – and will continue working, probably forever! My great-uncle is long dead but my great-aunt Ellen, my grandma’s older sister, will be 101 this spring.  

Daughter’s Kindle – we got her this for Christmas and I’ve been coveting it ever since. In fact I’ve downloaded two Authonomites’ books onto it recently and am sneakily reading them when Sam’s asleep.

Old Photo – this goes hand in hand with the box of letters really. I’m eighteen and very much in love and I can’t help but smile whenever I see this picture. It was taken by a mutual friend before he drove us to the station so we could ‘run away’ for a few days… Blackpool rather than Paris, but I can testify a walk along its beach late at night is as romantic as anywhere in the world when you’re the only two people who exist.

Old Books – I have quite a few… this picture shows a set of Shakespeare’s works in their own little bookcase. The two tiny books on top are gorgeous – Thoughts from Ruskin and Essays of Elia. I was given many old books when I was a child by a lady called Miss Lucy Alston. She lived nearby and we shared the same birthday, which was her excuse for giving me books. In truth she was just pleased to see a child who loved books as much as she did. She was a retired school teacher – of the ilk no longer seen – her house an absolute museum piece with masses of antique books, furniture and musical instruments. In later years she’d go on world cruises, alone, and bring me back exciting things – often little vintage treasures, such as a 1920s silver lipstick holder (containing its original red, waxy lipstick which I wantonly used up in my teens without any regard for its age or museum value!). She was a fascinating, generous woman and I wish she were still alive as I’d appreciate her – and her stories – so much more now.

Teenage Poems – do I really like these? No. They’re all awful, but I’m glad I’ve kept them. I don’t know why… it’d be wonderful to have a really fantastic collection of poetry that I wanted to share, instead of this terrible hidden stash, but even still… there’s just something about looking over one’s own scribble, the gushing emotion, the dreadful rhyming couplets… I’ll never show them to anyone and think I’ll ask for them to be burned along with me when I die – not for sentimental reasons… just to get rid of the damn things. But still… it’s funny to read them and comforting to know I once bothered enough to write them.

School Reports – my primary school reports glow! Praise at secondary school level fluctuates somewhat. Primary school: “Sandie reads with intelligence” and “Sandie writes with great imagination and expresses herself well” – hurrah! – tempered with “at times tends to be a chatterbox” and “must try to concentrate all the time”… yes… right… and the cruellest blow:“can be silly if allowed and easily distracted from her work”. 

Not much changed there then. 

Secondary school: “Sandra does not exert herself in class” – this was for needlework for God’s sake. Of course I didn’t exert myself… why would I??

Mustäd Stove – call me sad but I love this stove. It’s elegant, powerful and quite beautiful all round. And my desk is right beside it… so it’s a boon for the insomniac writer when the heating is off.

Wesco Bin – even sadder but I adore my Wesco bin. I think were I to develop paraphilia, this would be the object of my lurve. It’s not the phallic shape so much as the whole contour, so gloriously rounded, and it’s solid, robust – the lid is vicious actually – and such a beautiful Cornish ice-cream colour… I know, I know, I probably need help for this fixation with my bin. It’s called Blodwyn. 

This post, incidentally, absolutely captures the essence of the blog’s title.  I’ve spent all day procrastinating, slowly and luxuriously, on this piece… tomorrow I shall work. Really, I will…

8 Replies to “A few of my favourite things…”

  1. This has reawakened the covetous nature I imagined to have long since departed. I want, in no particular order, the bin, the kangaroo, the compass, ALL the books, that fabulous stove, but, above all else I want, NEED, have to possess that Kosta Boda bottle. Note my absence of greed, bears do little for me, got a Kindle, poems, er no, so just the items listed, please. Lovely piece of work this blog post, shows all the signs of careful thought. I'm so grateful for your infrequent musings, please make attempts to be more prolific in 2011.Jake

  2. I have much much older things that I cherish. An 1812 king's shilling, such as soldiers took when they signed on–it has George III (looking very fat) on it. An ancient Dutch snuffbox. Musket balls (used). Pistol balls (also used). Flints from flintlock rifles…And sometimes I just hold them–just to think about all the people who've held them or used them since they were first made. I love the monkey best though–I have a thing for monkeys.

  3. Used musket and pistol balls is surreal – were they used as in "having passed through flesh"..?? But, yes, it's the fact that people so long ago touched these things that fascinates. The monkey is gorgeous. But he's never had a name.

  4. Yes! A Wesco bin! I just KNEW you had taste! I had to search the world for mine and eventually got it from a German website, proud that my German degree had been good for something at last as I delighted in the delivery of a vastly reduced priced bin that-doesn't-crack-and-store-the-gunk-in-the-cracks – until my sister told me she'd got one in the TK Maxx USA version for 50 measly dollars. Herumph. Great blog Sandie, particularly love the stove too.

  5. Ha ha, thanks Jackie. Sadly my German extends not much further than zwei Stücke Heilbutt bitte… which might be something I end up throwing in a Wesco bin, but which when placed as an order isn't likely to secure me one and so I probably paid over the odds for it, but I love it!Thank God I'm not the only nutter around here…

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