Tales of Old

This is a wooden spoon. As statements go it’s not that revelatory; unless your eyesight is impaired you can see it’s a wooden spoon. To be specific, it’s a broken wooden spoon, an end achieved when I smacked the bottom of a pan with it, something I often do and, in the case of this spoon, it was a pan too far.

I’m not very good at throwing things away. Growing up in a relatively poor household (not poverty – we were always clean and clothed and never hungry, but food was plain and sweets a special occasion treat) I was taught to look after my possessions and not discard them easily. I’ve had this wooden spoon for thirty years now – I know because that’s when I set up house on my own for the first time and bought such things. It came from Ikea with a couple of others. Don’t ask me to remember anything important because my mind is too full of stuff like this.

This spoon has other uses besides stirring (and pan-banging). Note the purple stain on the handle. This is a mark to measure the depth of boiling water and oranges when I make marmalade, so I can tell when the mixture has reduced enough to add sugar. Most of my wooden spoons are so marked. Sometimes I have trouble working out which is this year’s mark. I could use a different colour but I like purple.

A friend puts wooden spoons in the dishwasher because they’re so cheap to replace. I hear screaming in my head as I type those words. Why would you deliberately destroy something just because it’s easily replaceable? I left this spoon on the benchtop for weeks before taking this picture and throwing it away (that’s for Neil’s benefit – spoiler: I haven’t thrown it away; it’s still in the utensil pot, upside down so he doesn’t realise.)

This is a stool. There I go again stating the obvious. It’s always been my stool, although for the life of me I can’t remember why. Maybe I sat on it as a child? Maybe it was bought for me for that purpose? I don’t know (and Dad can’t remember) but it’s been in my life as long as I’ve had memory. It looks beaten up (we both do – it’s an age thing) and you may be able to tell it was once pale blue. I can vaguely remember this, but many feet have trodden on it since then, scuffing and scraping it down to bare wood. I painted it purple. It was the first thing I ever painted, when I was about ten, and I didn’t do a great job – so much paint pooled on the slight dip in its seat that it took weeks to dry, even then remaining soft so my thumb left a print when I pressed it into it. Of course it meant the top of the stool was soon back to scraped wood colour and it’s remained that way since.

Neil has tried numerous times to eject this stool from our lives. I can’t remember how it survived the drastic cull that was packing to move to New Zealand – possibly because he made me get rid of so many treasures he couldn’t face another fight or more tears. It survived one move when I agreed to ‘hide’ it in the room I used as an office, a place of many such rescues. Neil rarely went in there so didn’t have to lay eyes on things he considered my follies. I stood on it to hang blinds and clean windows (a rare event); I sat on it even less often. But it survived.

You may notice the stool has a poorly foot. This is not a result of some childhood medical ministrations, rather my cackhanded and temporary attempt to level it eighteen months ago. We moved into an apartment and it gained a new lease of life, elevation being necessary to reach the high kitchen cupboards. Neil wanted to buy a step-stool and I pointed to my trusty friend.

‘It wobbles,’ he said. ‘It’s an accident waiting to happen.’

I stopped it wobbling.

In this new house it has again proved irreplaceable in a kitchen with cupboards even higher than those we’ve left behind. There are whispers about looking for something more suitable and I suspect I have an argument with my husband ahead. I know it’s one he will lose. I’ll make a new and neater foot for it. And I’m already considering what colour to paint it. I’ll do a better job this time.

6 thoughts on “Tales of Old

  1. That stools brought back a lot of memories of fun childhood with you and our brothers.
    This stool played a lot in our childhood it would be sacrilege to throw it. It’s wood wood last for years and years. I remember you painting it purple 💜 and the fact that it took ages to dry as you said.
    Don’t every throw any thing out that can be used and has such sentimental value as well that’s my excuse.
    I didn’t realise you still had it, it’s traveled the world with you if Neil wants to throw it out tell him, as we say in Yorkshire “I’ll gee him a thick ear”. Not really he’s bigger than me.
    I have had a tear in my eye reading this blog, (it’s not the first time,) bringing back great memories.
    Love you big sis ❤ 🥰xx

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  2. I think many world leaders should make an example of you : you are a model of sustainability 🙂

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