Thursday, October 02, 2008

Home, Sweet Home


It’s hard for me to think of an item of furniture or object in our home that does not have some meaning for me. Many of the things I grew up with, as a lot of what we have belonged to my parents, and before them to others in our family who went before. There is usually a story attached to them and they remind me of people I love. We’ve been given a lot of beautiful things as gifts too. And when we purchase something, a lot of thought goes into it. For example, when my son started piano lessons eight years ago, we decided to buy a restored piano. In the end, the one we found (or perhaps it found us) was over 100 years old, and had recently been rescued. It’s a gorgeous inlaid walnut piece that had actually been painted over with black paint in order to make it look more modern. Restored to its former glory by a gentleman who was in his nineties, you can even see where the candelabra used to go before electricity. It’s become virtually a member of the family, and I swear sometimes I can even see the shadows of the folks who used to gather round it for sing a longs and imagine it glowing in the candlelight. No matter what we buy, however large or small, I like it to have meaning, so that one day when it gets passed to my son he’ll know the story behind it. I was so lucky that my parents gave us a lot of things we have whilst they were still living and actually got to see them in our home when they visited. It gave them great pleasure to see us enjoying things they had used and loved throughout their lives. I hope to have that same pleasure when I pass things to Alex.

When we went into Pangbourne with my cousins on Saturday, there was an antiques fair in the village hall. I enjoy going round antiques fairs, although I rarely get a chance to do it. I’m not quick to purchase, but I do enjoy looking at all the curious and beautiful old items for sale. This time, an item found us and has spent this last week settling into our home. It wasn’t a big purchase, but it means a lot to me.

As we wandered through the fair, past the various stalls, the 21st Century Husband came over to me and motioned for me to look across the room. There it was, a beautiful blue jug just sitting on a table asking to be taken home. It was so pretty I was worried it would be expensive, but when I walked over I saw that the price tag only said £12.50 (which is about $25). Still, it seemed a bit of an indulgence when I have so many other lovely things, so I tried to walk away from it. The owner of the stall explained it was Grimwade’s Byzanta Ware and that it probably dated from the 1950’s. It looked very art deco in style to me so I wondered if perhaps she was dating it a little late. Far from perfect, the inside had obviously held flowers or liquid as there was definitely some water damage. But it was just so pretty, and the fact that my husband had pointed it out to me because he thought I would like it made me feel quite connected to it. I wandered away, only for the stall owner to suggest that perhaps £10 was a better price for it. Clearly it was meant to be.

So I brought it home. It found its way almost immediately into our dining room, where its colour perfectly sets off our curtains and frankly I feel like we’ve had it for years. It’s the first purchase I have made since we moved into our home last year that I have felt this connected with. It’s all part of the settling in process, which to my great relief, seems to finally be happening. So much happened over the last year that sometimes it felt like my head was spinning. But it’s not anymore. In fact, the last few weeks things have been almost back to normal. At least, that is, normal for us, which I’m told by my friends is actually pretty busy for anyone else. But we like it that way. Regardless, it’s really good to feel we are finally home. Just like the blue jug is.

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