It’s the beginning of a snowy day at the end of the week. Listening to the jazz of Bill Evans, remastered from long ago. The music soothes. And the overnight fast is emphatically broken by Le Pizy from Fromagerie La Suisse Normande skillfully applied to Ace Bakery “Everything” Baguette bagel. These are superb local products! Yet another reminder that you don’t need to leave home for the best.
I have been pondering the nature of the stuff I have. The latest addition to my collection is a Two Inch Charolais Cow Tan from Tomy Toys UK “Suitable for novice farmers ages 3 years and up“.
This particular curiosity struck me while wandering about the saddlery stock of the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers Limited in Carleton Place. My initial search was for white woollen socks which are generally impossible to find anywhere else in this era of synthetics. They were sold out of the white socks but I’ve ordered ten pair. While waiting at the cash to pay for alternate casual woollen socks I had chosen, I spotted an assortment of miniature plastic farm animals. The creations were singularly captivating. I handled one or two of them and discovered they were well made. Thinking they were made for collectors, I asked the attendant for whom these pieces were designed. He succinctly replied, “For children“. I was nonetheless taken by them, the Charolais cow especially. So I added its five dollar charge to my account. Upon returning home I discreetly placed it on the bookshelf where I occasionally regard it with considerable delight. It joins several other pieces which I have retained as precious from our recent “downsizing” undertaking when we moved from the house to the apartment. The other items are a crystal ball, a sterling silver nymph, a handmade pottery jug, a Langford crystal bowl, a Waterford crystal bowl, a Sèvres porcelain Napoleonic bust, a Sligh mantle clock (the quarter chimes of which no longer work but it otherwise keeps perfect time thanks to the odd battery feature added to the mechanical function), an Eskimo polar bear, my original and subsequent notary public seals, two cobalt-coloured candle holders, various bottles of liquor, cognac and liqueur (on the lower shelf because we don’t drink) and a handmade wooden bowl.
On the desk in the living area is a brass magnifying glass given me years ago by a dear friend. It is located among other of my favourite things: a commissioned brass paperweight engraved with my monogram by a friend and former employee of the British American Bank Note Company, an engraved pewter/brass sealing wax stamp and a Perthshire glass millefiori paperweight.
The British American Bank Note Company was formed in 1866, just one year before Canada’s Confederation. The company was established in Montreal by a group of engraving and printing craftsmen. Before the company’s creation, two separate groups went ahead with plans to start a Canadian company that would engrave and print postage and revenue stamps, bonds and other financial documents, for the nation in waiting. These groups also recognized the opportunity to serve the bank note printing needs of Canada’s chartered banks, which at the time had to go abroad for their paper currency requirements. With a rapidly growing economy, further opportunity existed in the printing of bonds, debentures and other securities for companies and municipalities.
These constitute the diminutive elements of my stuff. I am equally animated about the furnishings, the rugs, the artwork, the clocks, the flatware, the goblets and the accessories. Gone is the sterling silver cutlery; if it didn’t go in the dishwasher, it was sold! It is a natural consequence of aging that one’s focus narrows. I now enjoy limiting my interest to the distilled features of my materialism. It is no longer necessary to avoid the slur of storing things in a cupboard away from attention. The quantification and qualification of my entire life is now on full display! The only thing about which I am uncertain is the contents of the cellaret especially now that we haven’t the occasion during Covid to transport a bottle of wine to our hosts.