'Those dirty old things'...

Jean and Brian, my wonderful neighbours, are having big clear outs this year. Having introduced them to the notion of 'vintage', they always let me know when they're getting rid of stuff and I am usually approached with 

'Is this of any use to you? It's been in the shed/loft for years and it's got to go'.


One of the many things which 'had to go' - having been languishing in one of Brian's many sheds for decades, was this fabulous wall mount. 'You don't have to have it, if you don't like it'.

I may have squealed with delight when he handed me this. Joe is rather keen to have hanging baskets at the cottage and this is the most perfect hanger imaginable.

Brian's sheds throw up many interesting things, some of which I find intriguing, if baffling. This is a 'something or other' which he gave me to put on to eBay; however, I find I am curiously attached to it, having a weakness for old painted things. Even if I don't know what they're for. He did explain it to me, but it it went in one ear and out of the other. This is a keeper though, whatever it is.

'You're not putting that dirty old thing on my clean table cloth' Jean protested, when Brian brought this sweet little lamp inside 'in case you're interested'. 'It's just an old thing I've had for years' he said as he handed it to me, Jean grimacing slightly.

To her dismay, I cradled it lovingly in my hands, crooning with pleasure. It just needs a bit of a clean and a candle.

Less disreputable, old Kilner jars which belonged to Jean's mother. Which of course 'are of use'.

Sometimes I'm given things which flummox even me, and I give them a punt on eBay. After all, pieces of toast and the legendary 'old rope' have been sold there. Then I have a bit of creative fun with the descriptions.

'This quirky and kitsch little swan pretty much sums up a lot about the 1960s. It looks as if it was designed to hold one of those highly perfumed bath salt blocks that my mother was so fond of and used to be given at Christmas. If only she'd had one of these! Made in England and designed by Jean Sorell Ltd, it measures approximately 8 x 8cm.

The box states that it will float when not holding bath salts, but I cannot guarantee this.'

Or how about another swan - 

 'Where to start with this one? Well, it is basically a nice hand blown glass swan, which is all fine and well. This one is a little unusual in that it is apparently a 'magic swan'. How so, you ask? Well, it comes with the original dyed papers which turn it various colours. Such fun!

The instructions read as follows -
'To colour, fill the body with water and insert dye paper for one minute. Place thumb over aperture and and turn swan over. By a series of small movements the air bubble will gradually leave the head. Turn the swan up again without allowing the air back into the head'

There is no mention, however, about what you do with the plastic rose. In a further gesture towards beauty, I imagine it is stuck elegantly in the hole at the back, once you've managed to fill the swan with coloured water (and not getting it everywhere in the process).

This is why we invented the internet. Having said all that, it is a very pretty piece, never used, 'hand made by craftsmen from the finest British glass' and in its original box with packing. What's not to like?

Oh yes, and it measures 13 x 13 cm.

However, if I can sell things such as this rather crazy old flocked lion, which found a loving home several months ago, then I remain hopeful. Beauty in everything. Even Jean is almost convinced.


Soozcat said...

Ah, Etsy, the world's biggest garage sale. But you do find some wonderful things there on occasion.

Plus, as you've pointed out, some truly inexplicable items.

It's also worth saying that you have wonderful neighbors!

Jess said...

What treasures you neighbours have! I love the swan thingy, it sounds amazing! I think a visit to Ebay is beckoning. ;)

Mac n' Janet said...

We all should have neighbors like yours. Love the hanger.

Frances said...

Dear Gretel, it seems to me that Brian and Jean might just have a magic shed. What treasures rest there!

The wall mount is such a beautiful design.

Fun to imagine what the painted red item might be...is it very heavy?


Soozcat said...

btw, after a bit of mucking about on the Internet, I think your Black & Decker object might be a horizontal drill stand. Looks like you flip the drill upside down and set it on the stand when not in use.

Gretel said...

Yes Sooz, you are right - that does sound just like Brian's description, thank you!

Country Rabbit said...

sooo glad to find your inspirational and creative blog again~ my blogger feeds went off and for quite some months (must be over 6 months) i couldt remember your blogs name...found it now yay!!!!. I used to love going into my grandads garage filled with wonderful old bits n bobs...when my mum bought her old cottage she found some really old metal pieces in the loft and shed including the biggest keys ive ever seen...'one mans old junk is another mans joy'. So lovely to read on your blog posts (catching up over the months) that you found someone special. I never forgot your post on your loss and to read that you have someone by your side makes me smile, you're truly a wonderful talented and beautiful soul x

Deb said...

Very jealous of your metal work basket hanger! That's the sort of thing I'll spend ages hunting down, not quite knowing what sort of description to put into google. "I'll know it when I see it", doesn't quite cut the mustard on the internet. Now, back to my search for metalwork window sill plant box thingies....

Celia Hart said...

The iron hanger is wonderful! Jo wonder you're keeping it.

As for the lamp, I used to have one, it's probably still in my Mum's shed. I found it left on a grass verge, forgotten after the road workmen had packed up and gone home - they used them for putting around the holes in the road in the days before orange flashing lights and cones.

BumbleVee said...

What's not to love about old treasures? ... I love having a long snoop around vintage shops...even if I try not to bring things home. However, every so often... because I bake and love to take pretty photos of some of it ....I love a pretty old plate or saucer in good repair ... .... my neighbour gifted me one last year with my Christmas baking from her on it...we trade goodies. Best present of the year.