Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When Home is... Finding Buried Treasure (or bits of crockery)

In our last house we found a letter in the ceiling. When my parents ripped up carpet in their Mountains cottage, they found newspapers from the 1940s. Kate Morton recently talked about finding ‘to-do’ lists in the back of a cupboard in her childhood home. And yesterday my five-year-old dug up a piece of broken crockery in our garden.

It’s white porcelain and was obviously a plate or saucer as you can see the rim on the back of it. A pale blue flower is painted on the porcelain giving the impression it was once part of a ‘good’ china set. Or ‘from the olden days’, as my son said. It’s rubbish but it feels like treasure.

I have always loved old houses; not just aesthetically but because I really believe that old houses carry the stories of the people who came before us. How else is it that houses have ‘feelings’ about them?

I’ve thought a lot about the families who lived here – we have a list of all the previous owners dating back to 1883 – but I’ve never found any evidence of their existence. Until yesterday.

How did this piece of china end up at the back of our garden? Who used to eat off it and how did it get broken? Perhaps it was thrown in frustration after an argument about renovating?! Or perhaps it was innocently dropped by a child who was too scared to tell their mother. Maybe they had been playing tea parties with the wedding china and buried the broken bits hoping no one would ever notice the missing plate?

I think we might re-bury it so its story can continue. It belongs with this house and one day, years from now, another five-year-old may dig up their very own treasure.


In other ‘housekeeping’ matters, I will shortly be posting an interview with American author Isabel Gillies about what happens when your house metaphorically falls down around you as it did when her marriage collapsed.

I have just been interviewed by my cousin-in-law about my thoughts on home. Aside from being extremely stylish herself, she also has a very stylish blog, Wilona and Me. If you’re after ideas on decorating and design definitely have a look. Thanks Meagan, it was lovely of you to ask me!

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