Tuesday 14 January 2014

Unpacking the Past

Since the episode with the mice in the pantry Simon has been concerned that our stuff that is still in boxes in the graineterie is vulnerable. So just lately we've been bringing in a box or two at a time, unpacking them and giving the contents more permanent homes, or checking and repacking so we can be sure they are safe.

 More textiles and haberdashery than you can poke a stick at.
Mostly it's my past we've been unpacking: my big heavy oilskin riding coat that came from the set of the Man From Snowy River; vases made by my friends Ricky, Elise and Gillian; raku pots from Contemporary Ceramics in London; a collection of hair accessories and brooches; three boxes of fabrics and haberdashery; as well as Simon's best dinner service.

 One of the boxes.
Fortunately, everything is in good condition and hasn't suffered by being five years in storage. It's nice to see it all again. It doesn't feel like that long since we set eyes on it.

There are many memories attached to each piece of fabric, each hand made object, but the past is a foreign country, literally and figuratively. I can still remember where I got each length of cloth and what my plans for them were but it won't be me who gets out the scissors for a new project now. Next time I have a bit of spare cash I'll take some to our local dressmaker and have her realise the outfit I have in my mind. I've seen her work and we appear to have similar taste.

The fabrics and the vases belong to the same period in my life, from my mid-twenties to my mid-thirties. Creative stitching and dressmaking was my principle leisure activity. I sewed every day, exhibited my work from time to time and had a circle of like minded friends who all had fabric and haberdashery collections to rival mine. It was something I never regained when we moved to London, despite spending many hours at Hampton Court with the Embroiderers' Guild.

 Large vase by REG.
A job in the conservation and care of historic collections at a large heritage and nature conservation organisation that absorbed my interest and the demise of my beloved Bernina finally put an end to my sewing days. I retained a sewing room, but in time my focus shifted back to my childhood passion for insects and nature. Lace and cotton shared a desk with a microscope and boxes of pinned flies.

The fabric will  get carefully checked, refolded, fondled a bit and packed away again in a more secure box, probably for another 5 years. The vases get to stay out and grace the dining room table, the raku is in the spare bedroom, my oilskin hanging in the entry hall. The hair accessories and brooches will probably just sit in a box in the wardrobe. I've got a lot less hair now and don't wear the sort of clothes you can pin a brooch to.
A Trip to the Supermarket: Yesterday we took Claudette on a little outing to the supermarket, partly to give her a run, partly to pick up a few bits and pieces. We foolishly thought the rain had finished for the day. It mizzled all morning, but by 2 pm the sky was clear. We got over to the supermarket with no rain, but while we were inside it started to tip down. We drove home with the windscreen cracked open (you can wind a Traction's windscreen out at the bottom) to ensure the water seeping through the aged rubber seal didn't drip down into the cabin but blew out and down the sides of the car. The windscreen seal is one of the few parts for a Citroen Traction Avant that it is now impossible to obtain, but without it, Claudette will remain a fair weather vehicle.
A la cuisine hier: Spaghetti carbonara, an old favourite which I haven't made for years.


Jean said...

I also have a twenty year old Bernina which I use much less than I did but I dread the day it stops working.

Tim said...

2CVGB and other 2CV groups are getting runs of "out of economic manufacture" stuff remade for the A-Series Citroens...
it is an organisation called Eurospog that is co-ordinating the international side...
don't the Tractionistas have a similar system?
And, if not, why not?
Most of the UK clubs have had such things for years...
Eg: The Triumph Stag, the MGB, STAR [the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register]... the last mentioned bought all the plans from Rootes when they stopped manufacture.

2CVGB has been finding "good" originals and sacrificing them to make patterns. They have had rubber mouldings made, so it must still be possible!

As for "boxes in the barn"... I have been doing much the same...
but mainly looking for things.
I think we need to start the same process as you!!
Who is REG?

Tim said...

I have just looked up my old source of rubber strip...
Edgware Motor Accessories and found this on their contacts page:

"Please use this form for the purpose of contacting Edgware Motor Rubber & Trim with any enquiries that you may have.

If you'd like to send a sketch of a profile you would like us to supply please use this email link, info@rubbertrim.co.uk and send your sketch as an attachment, preferable in a document format such as MS Word or similar.

Alternatively you can fax it now on 020 8950 6557 or send a small sample for us to match."

They are at www.rubbertrim.co.uk...
they currently have over 700 profiles off the roll..
I also note that they have got larger and moved from the tiny shop in Edgware to a Bushey Heath industrial estate!!
Must be a good business...

GaynorB said...

We have been thinking about the boxes in the roof of our garage which have been there since the garage was built about 25 years ago. We'd originally packed these boxes in 1982 when we moved to Salt.

They don't contain the kind of treasures you describe, but rather our university files and folders, and kitchen equipment we had as wedding presents which we'd forgotten all about.

Our reason for sorting it is that when we downsize in the UK we certainly won't have the room to take it with us.

I love the vase.

I bought my sewing machine in 1982 for the soft furnishings for our current house. I'm sorry to say that Tim is so much better at sewing than I am.

Aussie in France said...

We've been sorting through storage boxes in view of our move. I've found a couple of "lost" items, including photos and my old school magazines but nothing else very exciting. We're allowing each of our four children the equivalent of a trunk each or we wouldn't have an ounce of storage space left in Blois. I found a box of my son's from 8 years ago when we last moved. He's looking forward to going through it!
I used to do a lot of sewing too, though not embroidery, but gave it up when my daughter only wanted store-bought clothes. Now she's the seamstress and has even created her own couture sewing blog.

Susan said...

Tim: REG is Ricky, Elise and Gillian. Thanks for the info about the rubber fabricator.

Tim said...

I just found this:

An Italian rubber component specialist:

Traction Avant (1934-57)



33325190 TRUNK RUBBER SEAL € 44,00


So it does exist!!
NB Add VAT to that!!

Tim said...

And the UK Traction Owners Club carry windscreen rubbers:

Page 16 of this PDF

and yes...
there isn't much to do in this weather!!

Susan said...

Tim: there are 3 different rubber seals on a Traction windscreen, in 2 different sizes (11L and 11B). The one you've highlighted will be the one that sits on the outside and we already have that.

Tim said...

What about the Traction Owners Club in the UK...
They've four different windscreen rubbers in their spares catalogue.

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