In a previous and much younger life, I worked with children. I spent many millions of hours reading stories, playing games, cleaning sticky fingers, painting, etc. If one toy stood out in my mind, it would have to be the things produced by Fisher Price, particularly these little people. The boys frequently had the Fisher Price Garage, with the cool little petrol pump, the ramp and lift (elevator) and the turntable for rotating the cars. Cars are cool, there’s no doubt about that but what was quite fun was sending the little people down the ramp. Those people seemed to get everywhere, under the couch, in the fruit bowl, outside in the sand box….they turned up like those black cubes in the last Doctor Who - you were never quite sure if they had malicious intent. I like the little red haired girl with the pig tails and the scowling boy with the cap irritated me - you can’t stay mad forever. Oh the memories just looking at these brings back.
Some people buy a beautiful new dress, others a bottle of nice wine but I wonder what Sigmund would say about my recent purchase - a Sigmund Freud Action Figure. He’s about five inches high, in a grey suit with deeply creased trousers and holding a cigar. There’s not much action in this figure, his arms being the only thing that bend. The Father of Psychoanalysis was born on May 6, 1856 in what is now the Czech Republic. Although some believe that Freud’s explanations of human behaviour rely too heavily on sex, where woud modern society be without the Freudiean concepts of id, ego the Oedipus complex, and penis envy. As it says on the package that my little Freud comes in,”What would life be like if a cigar was just a cigar.”
I’m thinking about the summers of my youth, looking out the window and remembering warm days, freezies (ice lollies), endless hours that were never enough to, ride bikes, swing to touch the sky, play hopscotch or spin hula hoops, build forts (dens), go to the beach and only come home when it was dark and parental threats compelled us. Summer would not have been complete though without a bug catcher. In the interests of strong narrative I have searched for the aforementioned item to show you. What a joy when I found it, transporting me back to the cruel and wonderful years of my childhood. It was misnamed really, that innocent looking plastic container with the air holes (it also had a removeable lid, and usually came with a tiny plastic magnifying glass and yes, the plastic plant with plastic bugs, just to encourage you). It would have been more aptly named a bug crematorium or maybe a bug mortuary. I would spend hours looking for irridescent beetles, ladybirds (they always left a little yellow pee-like stain on your hand), hairy black and orange caterpillars, or my favourite, the inch worm. I would gather a small jungle of foliage to give my captives a comfortable home, put a bottle cap lid of water at the bottom and be satisfied they could not find better accomodation elsewhere. Except perhaps their own habitat. It is a heavy burden of guilt I have carried all these years, a wonder it makes me so happy to look at these torture devices. You will have realised what my four year old self could not - that being behind the plastic only concentrates the heat, that I didn’t have a clue what insects needed to live and theirs was a slow death at the hands of well meaning ignorance. Yet, despite the guilt I should be feeling, all I can do is smile at my photo find. For this meant summer, long days and the promise of fun, scraped knees, climbing trees and freedom. Not for my prisoners though.
Surprise balls! I love it. Don’t you love these 50’s style surprises, from the day when kids weren’t so cynical, didn’t give you their pay pal account details when you wanted to give them a gift? I remember when I hadn’t broken into the jumping beans and discovered the weighted ball within, making them jerk erratically as if alive? We live in a time of massive information, opportunity and yet where is the wonder? (That’s a little hint about the piece I’m working on too.)
I love unusual jewelry, the elegant but also the unexpected. I’ve had a brilliant time looking at some amazing trinkets and now I’m going to show them to you. If you’re the sort of person who likes to pay lip service to beauty, consider a necklace, a beautifully graduated pendant of lips (and noses, chins and cheeks too). For the lovers, how about immortalising your love - go on, say yes! If you are more traditional and still feeling romantic, you might like a change from the claddagh (Ireland) or the luckenbooth (Scotland) - this exquisite Witch’s Heart made of almandine garnets set in rose gold is full of symbolism and is thought to be lucky too. Circa 1790, a brooch such as this would be pinned to the petticoats of children who were deemed particularly susceptible to harm from ‘evil spirits’ or ‘fairies.’”
Moving from the romantic to the whimsical, do you fancy a cuppa? This little ring cup and saucer of green tea is just right and will ensure you’re never far away from a cup of tea. From a cup of calm to something to focus your attention, the Ford Focus specifically; Cornish designer Katherine Hawkins was commissioned by Ford to celebrate their centenary of Ford in the UK. She received a box of car parts and this is the result. If your dreams are a little closer to home, Philippe Tournaire can design a villa, mansion or even your dream home in 18k gold - all in miniature to adorn your finger. Finally, don’t get too carried away, you’ll have to take it all off at the end of the day.
(To find all of these and more stunning pieces, google, “unusual jewelry.”)