Wednesday, 1 August 2007

On Collecting Things.

Today's post was prompted by Babs' comment on yesterday's blog.

Now I have noticed, as have others, that I have a tendency to collect things. Mum takes the mickey, but I can see traces of it all through the generations on both sides of the family. Let's start at my Grandparents. Grandad Tom on dad's side was a collector of things. If you needed a plastic carrier bag, he would take you to his special cupboard and peel you off a perfectly folded carrier bag that came from a stack of ten. Each stack of ten was held together with a green elastic band. These carrier bag stacks were kept at the back of the cupboard. Also in the cupboard was the elastic band collection, carefully colour sorted into different bags. He used to follow the Postman round every morning picking up the discarded bands. This collection was of course huge. More than one person could use in a lifetime. But the thing about collecting is that it feels so good to share your stuff. He was always so proud when you used to ask him for a bag or an elastic band. Even if you didn't actually have a need for them you used to ask anyway just to please him. :0)

Then there was Gran on mum's side and her strange fascination for collecting sugar cubes. Granny was always one to stop off for a cream cake and cup of tea when she went shopping in Dartford. It was absolutely impossible for her to come away without having first emptied all the free sugar cubes into her handbag! But, and here's the really good bit, she felt so superior when there was a sugar shortage in about 1974. Greedy Fidel Castro had over harvested the sugar crops in order to make muchos $ but the result was that he ripped up all the new growth too so the next three crops failed. (obviously I researched that bit as I was only about four at the time. But I did remember the sugar shortage) A sugar shortage was not something Gran was happy about, so she was delighted at the height of the sugar drought to be able to offer people a sugar cube in their tea! I can clearly remember, even though I was so young, going into Gran's next door for delicious cup of sugary tea.

Mum and Leeta have odd organising and collecting habits that have rubbed off on me too. Now, actually saying this out loud might be a bit controversial, but I'm sure it's already more obvious than we'd like to think. We like to get a new hobby, buy/collect all the stuff that goes with it. Organise, categorise, arrange and then stand back and view said stuff. It's a terrible affliction and one that I feel mum might be getting over in recent years.

However, Leeta and I are still fighting this affliction daily! Of course my latest obsession is with beads and boxes.
This is one of a pair donated by Auntie Leeta.

This was my birthday present. It's very cool don't you think? It has all these little drawers inside for my jewellery. It is fact an old Engineers Box.

Boxes have actually been a life-long problem for me. Boxes are used every single day of your life for everything. I need boxes to put my stuff in.

The box above with the brass plaque was left in the cellar of our first little house by the previous old boy that owned the house and subsequently croaked. It was in a terrible state and I loved it back to life.
I have coloured plastic boxes, new wooden boxes, antique wooden boxes, boxes with drawers, boxes with lids and now a box with boxes inside boxes! How cool is that?

These boxes are very dangerous in that they are very cheap, readily available and available in all manner of sizes and colours!
Auntie Leeta and Auntie Babs and dad for that matter egg me on all the time. Dad is always wanting to buy me cool boxes but mum stops him. Leeta bought me the most gorgeous set of smooth nesting wooden boxes for my birthday that are still in their packaging because they only deserve the very best of contents. I believe my new beads are worthy enough now.
Look at the silky sanded wooden gorgeousness of these nesting boxes! Mmmmmmm.

And then Babs gave me two little blue plastic boxes with beads in them! What's a girl to do?

Ikea boxes with smashing number handles that is supposed to help me remember what's inside! Also two little chic leather clad boxes beside it.

Leeta is a total labelling, categorising, sub-categorising and organising freak. I believe I get it from her. ;0)

Then onto the youngest generation, Livvie. Sigh, where do I start? A few years ago when she must have been about five, I decided to clean out the considerable mess under her cabin bed. In total I removed....wait for it...SIX bin liners FULL of rubbish! Here is a list of the things that I particularly remember:
Half a carrier bag of broken necks to glass bottles, all roughly uniform in size and colour.
Half a carrier bag of beer bottle caps.
A full bag of wooden lolly sticks.
A full bag of sticks, roughly 6" in length.
Several carrier bags rammed full of Co-op till receipts.
Half a tree...I kid you not! It was about 5" diameter and about 5' 6" in length.
5 footballs.
12 small bouncy balls.
Several golf balls.
Half a carrier bag of rotting conkers.
5 x bolts. Now you might think that there is nothing too unusual about five little bolts. Until I explain that each one weighed 5lbs and was about 10" long! I remember we found them in a valley near a dam. Livvie so desperately wanted to take them home and I said I wouldn't carry them. So she put them in her little pink backpack and walked about a mile up hill with them. She kept falling over backwards they were so heavy. I honestly don't know how she managed it as she was only little!

And now for my absolute favourite of Livvie's collection. Under her bed I found a small see-through plastic box. It was lined with cotton wool and nestled in this comfy cocoon was a Y collection. This consisted of perhaps hundreds of little pieces of paper, no more than 1/2" square and on each of these was written in black pen the capital letter Y. I had to ask her about it and she simply said 'It's my Y collection, do you want to see my favourite Y?' Of course I was fascinated to see which her favourite was. She spent ages rummaging through her collection and then eventually pulled out a Y that looked to my eyes to be identical to the rest! She said I could throw the rest out but that she would keep this one as it was very special. She quietly slipped it into her pocket and sadly walked from the room. If I showed this to a child psychologist I'm sure he'd diagnose her with something!

So there are my thoughts on collecting and why I believe I am the way I am. It is not my fault, but an inherited gene. I never really had a chance did I?


weechuff said...

Wahahaha!! Oh deary, deary me!! And it is all so true! Lennie collects all sorts of tools, that he will surely 'need one day' and I collect all manner of things in my handbag, making it extremely heavy, because I too shall surely 'need them one day'!!

Beetle said...

Wahhhh ha ha ha ha ha! I just KNEW that it was the collecting of it that was the main hobby!

granny grimble said...

I started to comment on this, but i was in danger of taking over, so I will now comment in my blog instead! Suffice to say it was, as always Sindie, a brilliant piece of humerous writing. And so, so, true!

Spider said...

I collect so much stuff for card making and file them all in neat boxes all labelled and colour coded for quick grabbing of the right thing BUT I never use half of them!! I just love to stand back and admire how neat all the shoe boxes are stacked colour coded and labeled . Even the writing is colour coded./ Green for clip art and red for words etc.
I have just acquired three boxes Sindie, I kid you not they are sitting on the floor in my front room. Dave brought them home from the bins. I shall photograph them and put them on my blog.

Bry said...

ooooooo hahahahahaha you and me mate, we are like that....I too am a collector have been since a very young age, I have more books than the British Library, more shoes than Imelda Marcos and I also cleverly collect neurosese too, many fears and phobias!!!! LOL


Bry said...

ooooooo hahahahahaha you and me mate, we are like that....I too am a collector have been since a very young age, I have more books than the British Library, more shoes than Imelda Marcos and I also cleverly collect neurosese too, many fears and phobias!!!! LOL