Sunday, August 9, 2009

The last little treasure

Cliff was always bringing little treasures home. His finds. His spoils. He loved boot fairs and charity shops, always having the patience to trawl through stuff.

Over the years he brought home little treasures that he collected, or things for our home, or others, or little things he thought I might like. Items that immediately come to mind are:

a Chinese lacquered jewellery box (that I store my sewing stuff in)
oriental ornaments (still in our display cabinet)
an antique pharmacy glass display cabinet (which I love and we had planned to display mementoes from our travels within it)
a desk toy that displays different time zones, the temperature, time, date etc (on my desk at work)
books, especially regarding antiques and collectibles (of course)
period fittings for the house and projects that he was working on
an antique press (for printing)

really the list is endless.

I have a house full of his collections, his treasures, the things that gave him so much pleasure, including silverware, coins, and glass. As well as, due to his habit of hoarding things that might be useful one day - pieces of wood, glass, kitchen worktops. Our jacuzzi and wall hanging toilet and sink resided in the hallway for almost two years and now looks stunning in the bathroom that he built in the side extension - all his own work - in time for our wedding anniversary 5 years ago. I have a filing cabinet full of electrical plugs, bulbs, fuses, and stuff that I don't even understand. I have just been told that the roof tiles on our driveway are worth around £1000 and a good friend who is finishing our roof off is going to sell them at the best price for me, because he knows his stuff and I can trust him :-)

I remember him picking up stamps for his Dad, in fact, shortly after he died I found the most recent offering and duly passed them on for him.

When Vern and I cleared out his van, we found his last treasure ... a Lilliput Lane "Fisherman's Cottage". They are very collectible these days, and many many years ago I seem to remember being given a couple of these as a leaving present from the Canadian Insurance Company that I worked for, which I duly lost through moving and a long-dead relationship going awry. I much prefer this one. Thank you Baba.

I will miss these little surprises and the look on his face when my own turned to glee.

I will also always miss watching him saw a piece of wood, without measuring it or the space it was intended for, to be amazed time and time again, at his ability to cut the wood precisely each time. Me - I couldn't do it with a skill saw (if I knew how to work it), a ruler, a mitre and a vice! He really was talented at restoration work and creating/building. Things that last. Me - everything I do will fade, it's only paperwork. I love being surrounded by what he has built ... it makes me feel safe and close to him.


  1. I really smiled at this post.
    R was a Womble as well. My spare bedroom is currently home to an entire flat-pack kitchen (found on his work intranet) that is waiting to be fitted and there are boxes and boxes of wood blocks in the barn (again from a bloke at work) that one day will be a parquet floor for the lounge! I do wonder if it will ever be fitted, but you have to smile at their enthusiasm, don't you?

  2. J - one of our old friends has recently cleared off our driveway. Most of it was stuff ready to go to the tip, but some more building materials were found and can be used at home :-) Never ending, thoughtful, infuriating ... and now missed :-) Enthusiasm and plans, plans, always thinking - we were both lucky weren't we? :-)