Sunday, 16 January 2011
I have a friend who is a volunteer in one of our local charity shops. They have become so popular, haven't they? People take in books they have read, jig-saws they have completed, unwanted gifts - and, I suppose, the biggest influx may well be when there is a house-clearance when some old person has died. I tend to take in completed and thus unwanted jig-saws, paper backs I probably bought on holiday and don't want to clutter up my book shelves - that kind of thing.
One of our local charity shops has just had a major clear out, so that for a day or two the shelves were almost empty. But over the last fortnight they have begun to fill up again, and yesterday morning I stood in the shop chatting to my friend and looking at what had arrived over the week. There were the usual books, neatly lined up on the shelves (one of our charity shops slightly further away has a huge book collection ), there were lovely curtains, washed and ironed and hanging neatly from rails. But what fascinated me most were the 'knick-knacks' which peppered the shelves. There were little boxes, dishes, plates, ornaments - none worth very much and priced at a couple of pounds. And I speculated on where they had come from.
Were they unwanted presents? I doubt it as few of them looked new. I suspect that many of them came from houses where the owner had died and where nobody wanted these little things any more. I picked up one or two. Where had they originally come from? Had they been treasures to the owner? How had he/she come by them? What kind of history did each item have?
Well, of course, we shall never know. My house is full of such treasures; none of them worth very much in monetary terms but all of them holding wonderful memories of holidays taken or places visited. When the farmer and I have gone I suppose our
treasures will be split up and many of them will probably find their way on to such shelves. And with that act their history will die. They will end up on another mantelpiece, where somebody will probably pick one up and look at it and say, "I wonder where this came from?" I don't suppose any of this matters. As we get older 'things' begin to matter less to us, I think. But I have so many 'treasures' that I feel like sticking a label on the back of each one, giving its history.
I have just walked round the house photographing a few.
A cloisonne duck from Beijing (where else?)
A little bowl from the Smithsonian in Washington.
A wooden box from Samarkand.
A little square box from Istanbul.
A square black tin from Moscow.
A little picture from Pompeii,
A buffalo from Mesa Verde.
An Inuit dish from Vancouver.
Probably not worth fifty pounds altogether - but worth all the world to me in memories.
today's aros: holiday memories last long after the plane has landed.
Read the list of photos from the bottom up.