Enough Stuff

One day, about three months ago, I awoke one morning and suddenly decided that I needed to get rid of a load of stuff.  Maybe the subconscious weight of all those boxes of crap up in the loft had been sending me telepathic messages in my sleep, but suddenly I felt and overriding urge to purge (most of) the spoils that have come from years of scrounging around op shops, car boots, markets, second hand shops for vintage homewares.   We loaded up the car on Saturday night and set off for a local car boot market in the dark on a Sunday morning.

We thought we were being very clever going early and getting there just before 5am to get set up.  Fools!  Most people had been there since the night before.   We could hardly get a space!  In the inky darkness we erected trestles and unpacked boxes, at which point the vultures descended and I could hardly move for sharp elbowed dealers with headtorches picking over my stuff as soon as it came out of the newspaper.  It was all a bit scary.

The morning rolled on, the sun rose, and a steady flow of people came and relieved me of some of the treasures I've spent years collecting.   Interestingly the real collectible stuff (Tracy Island, 30s kitchen cannisters) did not sell, but odd incidental things did.  Maybe I was asking too much.  Well, I wasn't going to give it away.

Yes, I did have a bit of headache by 10am when it was time to start packing up.  Seems early but after having been there for five hours we'd had a gutfull and were happy to leave.  I made a tidy $450 and learnt the valuable lesson of how much work is involved in getting rid of things, and to try and avoid shopping for leisure.  Now I have to  decide what to do with the leftovers.  Some I'll box up and keep, some will go back to the opshop.

But don't worry, in reality what has been sold is just the tip of the iceberg, and there will always be a healthy spread of kitch krap littering my home.  I really need to do it again, drop some prices and make a real difference.... but the thought of that dawn raid is just too horrendous.


Out the ground

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One of the things I love about the world of blog is that there are no rules.  For example, you've not bothered to post for, oooh, five months, but guess what, no one cares!  Few read them anyway!

After a blogging sabattical I can feel a few posts in my waters at the moment.  For those in the know, we have dragged ourselves through the pain and misery of getting phase two of our renovation project off the ground and are now rising from the ashes.  I suspect there will be plenty more pain and misery and financial hardship where that came from, but at least I can bring myself to tap away some reflection and general complaints.  I must be feeling better.   I've promised myself I won't go into detail here, but you can rearrange the words:   council, mean, expense, neighbour, stress, wanker   to get a general idea of where I would have been coming from.

Download image.jpeg (151.7 KB)Anyway, fast forward from the demolition of our lean-to kitchen and bathroom, and here we are with a brace of bricklayers in the backyard putting up the walls of our extension. It is lovely to watch. Well, maybe not that view, but the progeress is most pleasing and I may even allow myself to start thinking about frivolous things such as kitchen design and tiles.  And that's waaay before we get to the icing on the cake Kylie!


Her indoors

We have transversed the globe again this Christmas and are once more back in England.  Most of the time since arriving five days ago has been spent holed up in Brother in law's charming sixteenth century farmhouse in front of the fire feeling sapped by the jetlag fairy and boozing.  It could be worse.

For the majority of our stay I have parked my arse on the sofa and watched telly.  The weather has been shite (apart from today, Christmas Day, which has been glorious) and I have been reminded what an enormous part of life, television is in this country.  In another life I worked in the BBC tv scheduling office, which was the closest I think I ever got to doing something that made a difference to people's lives.  Like it or loathe it, the opiate of the masses really does shape one's day when your stuck indoors.

And yes, there's a lot of dross dribbling down that tube, but at least there's more choice now, and you can usually find something of interest to view.  I can watch stupid amounts of home restoration programmes, and then some more.  The weird thing is the kids don't seem to watch it so, much now, since the almighty Minecraft entered our world.  My daughter can play Minecraft without drawing breath for days on end.  My dreadful parenting lets her, and I'm filled with mild shame, constantly.   In fact the only potential competition has come from playing with a megaphone.  Even less appealing. Thankfully some sunshine today has meant we could drag them out for a walk, with obligatory moaning, of course.

Anyway, as much as I love a hunker down, I'm reminded why we live in the Southern Hemisphere where you can get out and about and fill your world with more than the small screen can offer.   Is that the time?  Pass the remote, it's the Downton Christmas special in five...


More Ephemera

The debris of everyday life is a fascinating insight into lives past lived, well I think it is.  When the old back came off the house last month, I was out there sifting through the sand and leaves and came across lots of bits of cardboard and paper; packaging and ephemera that has been preserved under our floorboards for decades.  The house was built in 1917 and there's stuff here from the thirties onwards. 

I've already done this with all the old china and glass, which I posted about here.  The flower concept, which I shamelessly copied from someone else turned out rather well, so thinking I was on to something, decided to do same with the bits of grubby paper.  I sat with a paintbrush carefully removing all the dust, trying not to rip the delicate fibres.  I felt like a archeologist and and loved every moment of it.  

It's not a perfect symmetrical flower cause I didn't have the same sized pieces, but hey, it's art, who cares.  The centre piece is, we reckon, an old car tail-light.

Sorry, I forgot to take photos before I put it in the frame, so there is some glass reflection here.

Fags, sweets, tea, shoe cleaner, lottery tickets, soap, starch, sewing thread, cigarette swap cards, cough syrup, stock cubes... to name a few.  These were the things of daily life.

I love looking at the old fonts and packaging design. 

I wonder what will be preserved from our lives today.  Will the fact that we have digital records of absolutely everything mean that nothing is forgotten, special or cherished and kept?


Giving Birth

I'm about to push out my third child.... which is actually in the form of a 124pp book.  Foolishly, around this time last year, I put up my hand to write a book to commemorate our primary school's centenary.  What was I thinking?  Of course it has been a task of gargantuan proportions, but I have to say, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyable. 

North Cottesloe Primary School in Perth was established in 1913.  What to say?  Without boring the pants of everyone with the year by year history of the P&C's achievements ("$145.56 was raised at the 1982 voting day cake stall" zzz), I decided to morph it into a social history of childhood in the area, told through the stories of all the ex students I interviewed, who were kids in the 1930s to 1950s.  Each interviewee would start with "I've not got anything interesting to tell you" but without fail they all did, some snippet of life in their mid-century childhoods that is a fascinating (to me anyway) insight into how different life was then.

Thanks to some hard cash from Lotterywest and the Council, we were able to commission a brilliant design agency who have taken my text and pics and turned them into something really stunning. 

Here is a sneak preview of the cover.

I'm looking forward to it being finished and getting my life back.  I'm also nervous about how it will go down, no doubt there will be something in there somewhere that someone does not like (I'm not very good at taking criticism).   It's also given me a real appreciation of social history, and I just love all those stories of everyday domestic life, the bread and butter of all our pasts.   Hmm,  maybe there might be another book brewing in there somewhere...

The world does not need more bad pots

For the past two years I've been dabbling in a bit of pottery, I may have mentioned it.  Starting out with a beginners class at Perth Studio Potters, I've now nearly finished a semester of Cermaics at TAFE.   It is quite different at TAFE, all about the skill and art in pottery, rather than the craft.  Oh yes, there is a difference.

I've made lots of really bad pots.  But this is not one of them.  This one was charmed from the moment it centred on the wheel like a breeze, to when it came out of the kiln from it's glaze firing.

I won't bother putting up any pictures of the dud pots.   As the wonderful Bela tells us constantly at TAFE, the world does not need more bad pots.

This week I had to buy a wedding present for some girls who are tieing the knot.  Perth Potters have a great gallery open on Saturday mornings where you can buy amazing pieces for snip made by people with far more experience, skill and creativity than I will ever have.

They gave me a copy of this when I was there and I've been enjoying living the history of ceramics in our little town.  For over 50 years a group of passionate and dedicated ladies (mostly ladies) have kept the craft alive in Perth.

It is full of lots of shots like this, god bless.   Another collared shirt on fetching jumper, you might remember the look, from the eighties.  I know I do, I had plenty of both.

Going back a bit further to the sixties, look at the ladies down on their hands and knees laying crazy paving out the back of the studio, no old jeans for these dames!

By loveliest of all are the stories of passion and pleasure gained from the process of mastering a craft, and constantly adding to the skills and ideas that take a lifetime to gather to be a truly great potter.   I hope I'm still throwing pots when I'm in my eighties.  Now that's something to aspire to.


The delicate topic of toilets

The builder has insisted that this week, before the slab is laid for the extension I must go immediately to the plumbing merchant and select all sanitary ware and bathroom fittings.  Whooaa there, but I want to dither endlessly over such things, why so soon?   Apparently plumber needs to know such things yesterday, search me.

So we go for a romantic outing to the plumbing merchant in an outer suburban semi-industrial part of town (builder's guys, major discount, which we like) to choose taps, showers and .... lavatories.  When I suggested to the sales guy that we look at lavatories, he said 'you mean toilets?' which immediately got my English snob husband on edge.

Having a brief discussion before we leave home it is agreed that the loo we've put in the studio has a major design fault.  Whilst it may be groovy and sleek, the inside of it has a large flat area with the water sitting in a small recess at the back.  How to put this issue delicately?  Well, not how my husband explained it, that using it was like having a shit on a dinner plate that you had to scrape into the hole.  I don't know who was more embarrassed: me or the Ygen salesman, but he kind of got it right.  

(The builder explained to us later that due to toilets now using less water, the design of them has had to change so that the water area must be smaller to allow for the reduced amount of water to have enough whoosh to adequately deal with the, ehem, contents.)

My bug bear with modern toilets is that they are not very comfortable to sit on.  True I have got a bony arse, but I find toilets today feel like they have no seat at all and you are actually sitting on the rim, as opposed to the nice old big flat bakerlite seats that you could settle down on for a nice long magazine article, or two.   When I explored this topic with the Ygen and suggested he might like to sit on the toilet and see what I mean, he got very embarrassed, but did it anyway. 

Sorry, but if you are in the game of selling dunnies, you've surely got to be get over being embarrassed about what they are actually for, non?

Anyway, we finally found a lavvie that had a more central larger water hole, but I compromised on the uncomfortable seat. 

Since when have I had time to read a magazine on the kazi in the last ten years anyway?