Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I have just been through my second house move in two years and am unpacking things that have been sitting in boxes for quite a while. I remember that when I packed them up in the first place I got rid of tons of stuff, keeping only the things that really meant a lot to me. Now, as I unwrap the paper and discover the contents again, I do find myself wondering why I chose these things to keep. The tangible sense of belonging that I know I once felt has somehow rubbed off a lot of them. I look at them and the attachment has vanished. I don’t think there are many that I will actually dispose of yet, but a lot that I will wrap and box up again, ready for the mighty car boot sale to come. It’s quite a relief. No matter how hard I try I am still greatly overburdened with stuff, and at the time it all seems so redolent of importance and nostalgia that there is no way it can be disposed of. It’s nearly impossible to know which little thing has struck so deep into the psyche that its disappearance will be a cause for regret for years. So you keep them all.

Here’s a carving from Kenya, found in the back of a dusty shop. I think it’s supposed to be a hippopotamus, but it seems to have been carved by someone who usually carved elephants, and I do wonder if he had ever seen a hippo. Maybe it’s a baby hippo. Maybe it’s a child’s toy. But it is carved with such love that it cannot be for the tourist trade and I treasure it.

Here’s a silver nautilus shell. You fill it with hot water. It’s to warm your ice cream spoons. Those Victorians eh?

Here’s a big lump of flint that stops my papers from flying about. Actually it’s a Mesolithic handaxe from a little hill outside Petra in Jordan – which proves that early man enjoyed a good view and a nice breeze while he sat knapping.

And here’s a really pretty mug made by an American potter called John Glick. I love his deep dark vibrant colours.

Next time – all the kitchen stuff I can’t throw out but for which I have no room either!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Freshly dug carrots

If I’ve been a bit quiet lately it’s because I have been moving house. All the pots and pans and the batterie de cuisine have been boxed up and moved a few miles down the road to a market town called Shepton Mallet. It has a market cross, winding streets and cobbles. It has been badly neglected for about twenty years, but an enormous Tesco has just landed in the turnip field and things look set for a big change. I shall document the goings on as they occur.

Meanwhile there were fourteen boxes to unpack into the kitchen and much heartache and weeping because it wouldn’t all fit. The charity shops have benefited, but I have kept all the strange and battered things that I think look great. So many I could go into business.

And the best thing was that my name came to the top of the allotment waiting list, so I am now the proud guardian of a piece of the earth, and today I planted a row of spring cabbage. Somebody kindly lent me their wheelbarrow to move a bag of horse manure (yes, that serious!) and gave me a bunch of carrots he had grown. So we will have them for dinner, with a good free range chicken, all with their funny rude shapes and wonderful carroty smell.

Until broadband gets plugged in I am on wind-up internet, so things will be short, but I am definitely back in touch and have lots to write about as the mellow mists of autumn sweep in.

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