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Reclamation Tales

The stories behind stuff.

or 'How I found stuff and how stuff found me.'

I look about my home and I could tell a tale for almost every item I lay eyes on. Most of my possessions have had a life before we met - they have their own tales that often I don't even know of. My tales are of the moment we first met, how we bumped into one another in a curious location, how our union was inspired or what it then inspired.

Just from where I now sit (my kitchen table late one autumn evening after a long lazy dinner) my eyes flit across a landscape of the oddments that are the stuff of daily life. These things we rarely consider each have their tale to tell.

The things my eyes alight upon at this moment:

My salt pot - a brown ribbed dumpy Denby Pottery pot saved from my Grandmother's possessions after she moved into a care home. My Grandmother's kitchen was superbly utilitarian but there was charm in the items she chose to surround herself with. Her crockery was always solid rather than dainty, it spoke of hearty stews and sturdy piles of potatoes. This pot would once have found it's home in her larder - a place that after so many years I can still conjure in my memory, full of sights and scents, the particular coolness, the fish paste jars, homemade marmalades and leftover roast meats hidden beneath a linen tea towel.

Next up infront of me: a large olive wood chopping board, a roughly shaped slab gifted to us by long lost friends on the occasion of our house warming a few months after we moved in together in our first home. We didn't own nice stuff in those days and this seemed like a treat - a glimpse into another style of life that maybe one day we would live. It has outlived their friendship but it brings them to mind happily.

A wooden handled bread knife - passed on to me by my mother - we rarely appear at one another's house without some little thing that needs a home. Not much remarkable about this knife, I think to myself, except that it seems to be wonderfully sharp in a way that no knife in her house ever is. There is a simple marking on it that tells a tale - the handle has a glossy red stripe of nail varnish around it that tells me this has been marked as someone's property - knowing my mother's life it has probably been amongst the possessions set aside to take to Girl Guide camp and cater for many hungry young folk.

A church pew, now built into our kitchen, slightly remodelled but still retaining so much of it's original character. It's scuffed and chipped and scratched, reclaimed but unremarkable until you consider where it might have been and the people who might have used it previously. It's a very standard pew but it has a quiet secret tucked out of sight on it's rear 'shelflette' a list of names neatly scratched into the timber like a roll call... T Baker, C Berry, R Smith, Mrs Bally, Mr Bally, Mr Hayward, Miss Birth, Miss Short, Miss Hurbert, Miss James, Miss Weston, Mr Weston, Mr Kelston, Mr sets my mind racing, takes me to another place and fills me with possibilities.

These are but a few of the items in front of me at this moment, not even the ones that come to mind when I think of the tales behind stuff, and yet with hardly a pause they'll fill me with recollections and chase my thoughts through times and places and lives lived.

These are #reclamationtales, tell me yours... find me/follow me on instagram @ridge_and_furrow

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