Sunday strolling, Antiques and Coffee....
..are they recipes for boredom?
Well, two, five or ten years I would have thought so. The idea of spending an entire Sunday crawling along a rinky-dinky old country town High Street, popping into every single antique store just to browse would have sounded worse than forcibly shagging Keith Richards with the lights on. And yet today, that is exactly what we - my husband, Love Chunks; Sapphire, our seven year old; and my parents, Jo' and Flo' did with genuine enjoyment (not Keith; but go to Strathalbyn for the day).
It still remains a mystery to me: neither LC or I are 'into' antiquey stuff of any kind. Our house is instead full of sensible, sturdy furniture that is not likely to be eagerly sought by Sapphire as an inheritance item, nor of good enough quality to last longer than the end of her primary school years. Any sign of china cups, figurines, witty coat stands or soup tureens and my first thought is: Dust. Why on earth would you want to have a house full of useless trinkets that you than have to dust? Even worse - why would you want to buy those granny glass cabinets to display them in? Five minutes in our home and Sapphire would have accidentally tripped into it or the dog would have smeared the glass by giving it her usual exploratory lick.
Yet today, it was really interesting - nay, fascinating - to peer at butt-ugly bevilled green glass butter holders from the 1930s - my Grandma was still using the stuff when I used to holiday with her in the late 1970s. Crystal fruit bowls and ornate drinks trolleys also reminded me of her - all the milk jugs on display lacked were the crocheted covers that were customarily weighted down with tiny orange beads. For some reason the people of those times lived in fear that mozzies and blowies would dive bomb their drinks.
As with household ornaments, jewellery does not feature largely in my self-decoration. Sometimes I wish I had the natural style of my friend Bec, who has the knack of wearing really innovative pieces to school drop off/work at kindergarten/the shops and look effortlessly fabulous. Being a pale, doughy type with the face of an undercooked scone with two currants pressed in for eyes I just can't 'get away' with doing anything remotely creative in terms of jewellery. Dangly earrings on my lobes merely give people the impression of a human tambourine and potentially groovy beads or brooches look as though I've had a fun morning in the dress up box. (And make up doesn't help - even LC has commented that lipstick makes me resemble a baby who's applied it during their infant swim class).
Despite my total lack of style-charisma, I love looking at the art-deco marquasite (sp?) chokers, creamy pearls, ethnic beads and bling-style rings from long-dead fingers. Elegant rabbit fur stoles hung on old dressmaker's mannequins in front of beeswax-scented wooden wardrobes was enough for me to say..."Hey, anybody ready to join me for some lunch?"
Even my father (more at home in the wood-turning shed or the golf green) and Love Chunks (in the kitchen, a tent or the green) seemed to be just as interested in browsing. Sapphire of course fell in love with every luridly painted porcelain bird, fairy, gnome or dogs wearing kilts and smoking pipes. At $75 upwards, she mercifully didn't hassle us to buy her anything - she was content with her $1 packet of Wicked Fizz Tongue Poppin' Candies from the sweet shop.
Lunch featured the traditional Sunday strollers' fare: cappuccinos, toasted sandwiches and pasties. That's pretty much all the average, self-respecting South Australian needs for lunch really - caffeine, pastry, fat and cheese. This leaden weight was enough to allay any feelings of anxiety, horror or depression I might have felt when I discovered that not a few of the antiquities on sale were of my era. Skippy melamine cups; early 1970s Matchbox cars, rope quoits and original Coca-Cola and Fanta yo-yos. I left the record shelf alone - no doubt I've already converted most of them to CD - and now iPod - already.
Two hours later, we had 'done' the other side of the High Street and were ready for afternoon tea. Menu: cappuccinos, Farmers Union Feel Good Iced Coffee, carrot cake, scones with jam and cream, berry cheesecake. We chatted animatedly for an hour or so, until the staff packing up the cafe around us gave us the hint to leave. As we did so, it seems as though we all started to slump - this old fogey window shopping for free activity with my folks was rather tiring - it was a mighty struggle to keep my eyes open on the drive home. In fact it's 8:30pm now - might as well turn off the heater and go to bed........