Splades .. only 3?!
THE lastest thing in the Retro Mountain House is a strong desire to furnish the cutlery drawer with a mish mash selection of mid-century stainless steel cutlery.
After a lifetime of collecting things that remind me of things combined with the last 18 months of selling, giving away, throwing away some of said items, I have allowed myself the luxury of retro gathering a few more tasty bits and pieces.
Now the retro house is not a palatial mansion, as is the domestic On Trend activity these days. Let’s just say, it’s a quiet two bed affair with two out buildings: a shed; and a smaller shed; and one lean-to (such a Little House on the Praire word) bbq meeting point, which I like to call The BBQ Hut.
Anyway, the point of all this structure discussion is to highlight the fact that there is not a lot of bloody room. And to do my retro collecting ‘pieces’ justice, there needs to be a little space in between so each can be showcased to best advantage.
This then leaves me with not a lot of room to fill with my future retro collections.
That was when I spied the cutlery drawer.
The collection so far.
I first started collecting old spoons; destination teaspoons and quirky cutlery about the same time I acquired The Start of It All: The Red Laminex Table.
The destination teaspoon thing was going great guns – and I was pleased to note that On Tend cafes started using quirky cups and destination teaspoons in their coffee service. Tick for me, The Early Adopter.
I would collate the destination teaspoons in some pretty bowl or seventies mug and get guests to randomly pluck one out to see where their next destination would be.
It was a little like my version of being a reader of tea leaves and other soothsaying.
What exotic location would it be? The Big Banana; Jupiter’s Casino; Gundagai? The options were endless.
And then, I had to cover a story for the local newspaper on an elderly couple who had the most freakazoid collection of things at their simple suburban house. He collected crystals and burned witty shed names into pieces of wood for his mates; she collected destination teaspoons. Thousands and thousands of the things. Cupboards were full; the hallway was lined with dusty wooden jigsawed shapes of Australia and all the teaspoons that were obviously involved. Readers’ Digest collections of teaspoons; more wooden rusty chain teaspoon holding arrangements. And that was it for me. She said it wasn’t at the obsessive stage just yet.
I promptly went home and bequeathed my destination teaspoon set to the local oppy. No more teaspoon soothsaying for me.
To be fair, I recently revisited the destination teaspoon collecting when we moved to the foothills. The local oppy had a huge basket chockers of teaspoons touting places I had been. I may not be able to hightail it overseas, much anymore, but by God I can stir my tea with a destination teaspoon of some exotic place I have been. Plus they were cheap. I was in.
So now, the only ones that have survived the dishwasher are an elegant Paris number, which sits in the retro sugar bowl; two possums in the shape of Australia; the Sydney Opera House; and a Bendigo tram.
My op shop visits stopped for a while during spring, summer and autumn (painting season); but have picked up again a little now in the depths of a dark and deep bone chilling foothills/hills wet and wild winter.
One of my favourite oppies (and don’t be so silly! I’m not going to tell you where!) was so cold the other day, that when I pulled open their drawers of mid century stainless steel cutlery, they were almost frozen inside! But I braved the cold and my fingers and eyes were in perfect concert as I searched and hunted and rifled and searched and hunted some more that I was in danger of being ejected for OCD tendencies in the cutlery drawer area. That day I procured a few splades, or easy eaters. The seventies’ not-quite-finger-food implement of the day. I only took three. The lady was aghast!
Op shop lady: ‘Three! You only took three?!’
‘I didn’t really want to break up the set too much,’ I whispered.
Op shop lady: ‘You left 3?!’
Me: ‘I did. Thanks. And goodbye.’
Op shop lady: ‘I should have taken them myself!’ (There! The big op shop Reveal).
‘Thought I’d leave some for someone else,’ I said and quickly fled.
Now to perfectly honest, that wasn’t the main reason. There was method in my madness. The cutlery drawer in the retro kitchen of the Retro Mountain House is only so big. Already, I am going to have to weed out the bland on bland stainless steel jobbies currently held within and deposit them at the local oppy. I’m now on the hunt for more mid century designs. Bamboo motif and blade of wheat engraved pieces are the choice of the day.
On a recent post from Lost Retro Melbourne (excellent Facebook page and blog), there was a fabulous picture of the Gas & Fuel Building where Fed Square now stands. Now, I’m going to put it out there right now. I loved that building. I would walk past it as an 19 year old newspaper cadet on my way to the old Herald Sun Building and loved it. Loved the blocky style. The exposed smooth brown brick and steel. But more than anything, loved its wind blocking abilities from those southerlies after a particularly cold trip in on the canvas sided tram. If ever there were a landmark in Melbs that delineated North from South of The River, that was it.
And sure enough, the comments that followed were ‘irk’, ‘ugly’. That usual visual aesthetic blah blah boring, modern-is-best crap you sometimes get (the question needs to be asked, why were these modernophiles doing on a retro page anyway??) Anyway, before I could post that I lwas in love with the Gas & Fuel building, up popped a comment: ‘No doubt some mid-century enthusiast will say that the building was great and sad to see it go.’
Yep. Got it in one.
That mid-century enthusiast would be me. And I’m standing proud and strong – as I frequent op shops; delve my hands into freezing mountain op shop cutlery drawers, seeking out, yet again, another tasty little reminder of a time and place that I like to prefer not to forget.
Desperately seeking bamboo and wheat stalk motif.
And in the meantime, all I can do is wish, hope and pray that somehow, somewhere in some funky tiki kitchen in a far flung suburb of Melbs, there will be a hostess, with a seventies relaxed beehive, wearing a turquoise kaftan and deciding, maybe, just maybe, that it is time to turf her set of bamboo motif cutlery and to rid herself of those wheat stalk designs. Afterall, she’s young and groovy. And needs to keep up with the times.
Signing off, The Mid-Century Enthusiast.