Wednesday, 23 March 2011

My Nana's Sideboard

This is my nanas sideboard. It sat in the lounge in her house in Greenock for all her married life. My papa and her chose it, newly married before they moved into their almost new house, along with a smart red vinyl suite that battered and taped up limped though the long game with her and my Papa.

When I was little the sideboard housed her sewing kit in the left hand side doors, cutlery and place mats in the middle and cereal and condiments in the end cupboard. When my brother and I stayed with Nana, often Mum and Dad would have been out the night before and would have a lie in, while under Nana’s supervision we kids would make pyramids out of cornflakes on the carpet and play with the buttons in the button box, which I loved. My Mum would be horrified when she got up, as I probably would now (about the cornflakes!) but oh we were happy.

I stayed with Nana a lot and we had a really close bond. She was like a second Mum to me and yes we were spoilt but looking back from my vantage point through the years I can see that it really was unconditional love. She just let us be as kids, she never criticised us or judged us right up into adulthood. She just accepted us and loved us and she never made us feel like we didn’t measure up. Maybe it’s having kids of my own now I see what a special person she was. Sometimes you just have these realisations.

Nana was a unique character; she had found her ‘look’ in the war time and had stuck with it. Backcombed bleached blond hair, red lipstick high heels and nylons. Its funny but it probably looked a bit ‘out of time’ but it was just Nana and I was never embarrassed by her. She loved to smoke and have a wee drink, invariably out of a tea cup in the house as my Papa didn’t go a bundle for drinking. When I was at Uni she would happily pitch up to whatever flat or residence I lived in and would soon make herself comfortable in the kitchen with a cuppa and a fag and a slice of a cream sponge still half frozen in the middle that she brought up the road from Greenock on the train.When she moved out of the house after my Papa died, let’s just say reluctantly, and into a sheltered flat I gave a home to the sideboard. I carefully sanded the heavy brown varnish off it and oiled it. I loved the way the solid oak curves on the doors had come up and I nipped my fingers in the door hinges like I did when I was little. I love it still and there’s not a day goes past that I don’t look at it and think of Nana. She died a year ago just after Christmas. And what’s ironic is that people always comment on the sideboard, say what a nice piece it is etc. Nana would never have understood that- she wasn’t the slightest bit interested in the ‘stuff’ in a house. It was just stuff to do a job; the real treasures to her were her family

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Didn't you used to be......?

At a playgroup someone I went to school with and hadn’t seen for 15 years said 'didn’t you used to be ..............?' She didn’t mean it the way it sounds but it certainly made me think…. Whether its having two kids, encroaching middle age or the true realisation that I am turning into my parents I have been mulling things over in my life for sometime now.

There has been the slow drift towards school and all that brings by way of becoming part of suburbia, a community- Its like going full circle back to school again yourself. The whole ‘fitting in’ thing that I have always struggled with. 

Does everyone feel like this. When they are babies it’s a wee cocoon of coffee mornings, supportive chat and cake. But the school gates- man they are brutal.

All the ‘head time’ that you have when off on mat leave gets you to thinking. Did I make the right choices, am I doing the right job etc etc. I often wonder what would have happened if I had gone down the route of that Theatre Studies course….

Incidentally this pic was taken at my 21st party at Mum and Dad's house. Funny I loved that dress and cannot for the life of me remember where it is- if I threw it out or gave it away. Bought in Afflecks Palace in Manchester.

What purpose then my musings here? Self indulgence or just an outlet for stuff- who knows- my 36 year old brain hurts despite the lack of stimulus by domestic drudgery. Next post will be back to the comfortable realms of home improvements so don’t fear!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Vintage Ikea

I once read someone describe Ikea as ‘fine as long as you treat it like a charity shop- one thing in a thousand will be perfect!’. I am not sure that I would go that highbrow and snooty but I get the sentiment. I do like that most things are designed well, as in someone has actually thought about the items form and use, and I do genuinely like Ikea’s Scandinavian interiors, albeit the diluted version we get. Drawbacks are the durability of some items- we have certainly seen some things come and go through the years that just do not stand the test of time and wear. The older I get the more I am thinking about quality over price. Anyway when I look round our home there are a few things that I love that Ikea just do not seem to major in anymore. Wooden storage boxes being one- birch ply used to be the Ikea stock standard- I have one wee example that is now being drafted into Finn’s ‘new big room!’. I bought this on an early trip to Ikea not long after it opened its doors in the UK in the early 90’s. An ex boyfriend (Danish coincidentally) lived in Warrington and many a trip was taken to the Ikea there for bits and bobs. Then, as a student I bought small moveables- such as the box I refer to and picture- they used to sell mountains of these! I gave these away as pressies a lot. Instead of the naked ply I would varnish and sand and fill with lavender bags!!! Friends of mine got these as 21st presents!

Also pictured is the knick knack shelf for want of a better name. These are part of life in Scandinavia- everyone has at least one and not just children. People use them to display wee treasured things and not I should add with such ridiculous enthusiasm as my son and I do. They will have maybe four or five things strategically placed, not the coloured paper (result of a snowy winters day craft morning!) every box full extravaganza pictured here. Anyway you try buying one of these in Ikea now- or anywhere for that matter- very hard to track down!

So these musings came about as I have spent a lot of time in said store recently planning and buying furniture for Finn’s new room. It all seems very good quality and apart from the odd drawer David found it ok to put together and pretty good quality. Will follow with some pics when we get finished. Oh and if anyone has any spare old Ikea stuff going a begging…….