“I don’t understand,” I said, “Nothing has changed, except we now know.”
“Yeah, “Mum said, “It’s like we’ve put on an extra coat.”
We have. It’s cumbersome and lacks warmth. It’s a weight of knowledge
We’ve slipped into this coat as it was handed to us and we can’t take off.
We have many coats.
We all do.
Some make us lighter, some warmer.
Some we grow into. Some we grow out of.
Some are in storage.
Some we didn’t know we had.
The coats we love wear thin.
We all have this coat. The coat of mortality – the knowledge that life is finite.
The longer you live, the more you wear it.
It’s not a coat we like to air.
We put on the fighting coat.
And we have love.
We have now.
This coat fits best.
After a long, complicated day at work, my husband opened up his arms for a hug and suggested I change into my pyjamas and get cosy.
The hug was well received. And somewhat muffled by his jacket I asked a question that led to this conversation:
Me: If you could do any job and make a living off it, what would you do?
Husband: Hug you.
Me: You’d make a killing! Except I’d have to pay you which would be counter-productive.
Husband: Be a good job.
Me: Seriously though, what job would you do?
Husband: Hug you.
Me: I think I need to rephrase the question.
While my collections aren’t quite Borgin & Burkes, they do at times, verge upon creepy with pinch of unconventional, an edge of steampunk and a notch of practicality. Sometimes, I even surprise myself with things that appeal to me.
Fortunately, when it comes to gifts, my family totally understands me and my quirks.
Meet the doll boy, who does not yet have a name.
There are several curious aspects to this doll. He appears to be made of vulcanised rubber (gutta percha) which was invented in the mid nineteenth century. On the era of his clothes and the toy plane in his hand, I’d call this doll Edwardian, but incase you missed it, he’s wearing a fez, so that makes him what? Turkish? Even that being the case, he was originally made and exported from Japan. According to the internet ‘made in…’ began in about 1915 but prior to 1921, Japanese products were mostly labelled Nippon perhaps making him a doll of the 1920s. The closest example I can find on the internet is a doll from a 1901 shipwreck though it is not of Japanese origin.
My other, slightly quirky presents can be found below.
What every girl needs. Old books. A child-sized cobblers’ shoe mold and literally a pair of handles.
Hope you all had a merry Christmas, or Festivus, or holiday. Joy to all!
I’ve spoken before about the stories of objects and my struggles to let things go because of their associations. Because of who owned them and who they were important to. And perhaps proving I’m not a complete hoarder, I do and try to have a clean out from time to time.
I’m thinking about having a market stall soon, to clear out some clutter and my mother is pitching in with some of her own things.
Today though, she handed me Grandma’s sewing kit to sell.
Mum sighed, ‘I know. And look, the handle.’
Grandad had fixed the handle. He was practical with ideas to make things better. He was a fixer. It was Grandifcation.
I took it home and stared at it. I remembered Grandma using it. I unpacked it of things Mum clearly didn’t intend to dispose of and I knew Mum hadn’t opened it. She couldn’t. She’d let the sewing box go, but the rest was too much.
Grandad died in 2004, Grandma in 2012
It’s still raw.
What was left in the sewing kit was unremarkable and yet these buttons and spools of cotton panicked me. I feared they were important to Grandma and I did not know it. There were two dried rose buds and I wondered if they were from a wedding. Should I keep them?
This is the hardest part. Trying to reconcile objects with heartache. Trying to convince yourself that the memories matter more.
But it’s hard.
The next person who inherits these things will know even less, will care even less. And while this is life and perhaps even how things should be a lump forms in my throat and my eyes ache with unshed tears.
Strangely, Grandma was the most unsentimental person I’ve ever known but knowing that doesn’t make this any easier. Though, Grandad was the opposite. They were an odd couple.
I miss them.
I miss them muchly.
When I was seven, I stood by a basket of toys for sale.
My grandfather said I could pick one and being the sort of person that loved everything, and despite the fact they were essentially identical, I ran my hands through them for some time as I decided which one I would take home. These days, you’d barely call them toys – they consisted of a pair of googly eyes attached to a strip of dyed sheep’s skin and they ‘crawled’ along when you stroked them.
I took the one with a google missing from its eye. The little black dot that rolls around beneath the plastic dome. I took it because it was different. I took it because I didn’t think anyone else would appreciate it.
Maybe this explains a lot about the kind of things I collect and save now.
Perfection in imperfection
Stories in scars.
Beauty in broken.
Chipped all over and glued back together in three places, this plaster girl with a distant gaze and great eyebrows asked me to take her home.
On the left, the dome-girl with no hand. Top right, a mouldy watercolour to be cleaned and reframed. Bottom right, a print (circa 1910) in a damaged frame.
I don’t necessarily restore the pieces I save. Broken is more honest.
Sometimes, broken is better.
I’ve been blogging for three years and in that time, I’ve never found a gravatar image. I always intended to find an image for my WordPress self, I’ve contemplated using my Twitter avatar but that never seemed right.
I’ve thought about using this little guy:
He represents a lot of who I am and I almost share his name. But, you know. Copyright. As connected as I feel to WALL-E, the image was not my own.
Then, Ra and I had this conversation:
Of course, she thought of it because it was such a Wallyish thing to think. But I had not seen the bunny and pink was not my colour.
Ra had seen him though. When she found him, she sent him to me – rendered in both pink and green. He was mine if I wanted him.
It was love at first sight.
My husband said he was my bunatar.
He left the room and came back a moment later. ‘You should call him Pat’
‘Get it? Pat Bunatar’
I love him, Ra. Thank you.
I feel the need to write a Valentine’s Day post. Not sure why, because I pretty much believe Valentine’s Day is commercially exploited to make people believe love is proven by a trinket.
For an optimist, I can be such a cynic.
For a collector, I can be such a hypocrite.
A recap of my thoughts on Valentine’s Day can be found here – Can’t Buy Me Love and Socks and Underpants.
My absolute favourite things my husband has given me often reflect how well he knows me. One year for my birthday, he gave me this card:
On the inside it says,
‘Celebrate like someone forgot to lock the gate’
Underneath that, he wrote:
‘Some may say the gate has been unlocked for some time.’
Happy Love Day.