Monday, 11 March 2013

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons

Before I explain the reason for the spoons there are a few other things I want to say first.

It was good, really good to hear what you had to say about my malaise, thank you for your kind words of wisdom. I'll try to be good and give the Vit D a try as a bit of inbuilt sunshine would be a very good thing indeed. I agree that Spring needs to be sprung. Instead we've bounced backwards and so we've a heavily flooded garden covered with snow instead.

On Friday I squeezed a bit of energy out of my poorly sneezy self to do a simple sewing job. Not a planned thing at all. I was searching for a warm cardi and grabbed one that had hung there unworn for a couple of years or more. A long coat cardi in a shade of blue I love, a top half style that I really like, but sadly in a length that just doesn't cut the mustard with me anymore.

Quick as a flash I'd chopped the bottom to a length that meant I'd be wearing it again and added a cream trim around the edge to make sure it was a perfectly new to me cardigan. A very quick and pleasing thing to do. I used to chop so many things in the past to renew them. It feels good and is easy to do because if it goes wrong all I have to say is so what as I wasn't wearing the darned thing anyways.

Zooming forward to Saturday morning which found my Mr and I hanging out together in the pouring rain in our woodshed. I'd completely forgotten I'd ordered logs. That was a thrilling surprise when we were hanging out all cosy in our beddy byes. Warm to wet and muddy in the blink of an eye.

Then very very late at night, last minute as usual I decided to make a floral garland for my mum. That explains the grainy pictures at least. No photo of the finished string I'm afraid. Mum loved it and her other gifts so worth the late night. Only a few hours sleep allowed and then we were up at 7am and off to get Miss Rosey to her netball trials before lunch at my mums. All worthwhile though as she qualified for the squad so that means netball all next weekend too. Thankfully I now have a very handy new taking making stuff with me bag.

At last we get to the spoons. My dad's family spoons actually. Dad was a hoarder, but he didn't talk as much as he could have done about the stories surrounding all the stuff he kept. He wasn't a man to talk more than needed, but would tell me what I wanted to know when I asked. So many of his families things were lost when my aunt failed to pay the storage costs on a lot of it. Dad also rolled up paintings and just burnt them. They were probably quite good paintings, but then we'll never know will we. There are snippets of stories of so many different people. I try to link them all together and say one day I'll research more and attempt to fill in the gaps. These are all my stories as they come from my dad who was real to me. I'm not linked to any of the people in these stories by blood, but I feel linked to them by my love of stories and the past. I'm linked to them by my love for my dad and my need to belong to something.

Mum came across a bag of spoons and forks the other day. She mentioned dad's christening spoon and asked if I'd like it. Well all of us four are an inquisitive bunch so Miss Rosey rushed off to get the bag. I've never understood people who collect spoons as a hobby, but these were something else. These spoons and forks told unfinished tales of people I know or have heard of. There's my dad's spoon engraved with his dates and then his father's next to that so I assume the one dated 1854 must be my dad's grandfather. Before that are some smaller ones with only the initals on the back of the handle that we think are Georgian.

One of the reasons Dad didn't talk much about the past was he that he felt uncomfortable coming from a wealthy background. He was so down to earth you might never have guessed except for the fact that he was a true gentleman through and through. The only clues left to this past are boxes of things that have survived and a few photographs.

After the pleasure of looking at the designs on the cutlery and each choosing our favourites I went off in search of the old Gladstone bag and suitcase hidden under the bed. I've looked through the pictures and cards so many times, but each time something new is revealed to me.

The Gladstone has all that remains of dad's family life and the cardboard suitcase contains all that my mum's mum stored away of hers. There are pictures of women in long elegant gowns and men in shooting suits picnicking; there are several black and white shots of prize Gloucester Old Spots (so maybe the money came from farming); amongst all this are scenes from the Great War of soldiers sitting in deck chairs on the beach, then the grandad I never knew grinning by the Sphinx and finally post-war family shots of fun at the beach. My thoughts always move to the faces of the men laughing with their families and wonder at how they feel in this world that is so different from all they experienced just a few photos back.

I couldn't find the picture I was really looking for. The man above was my grandad's cousin. Little Bun thought it was her grandad as the family similarity is so strong. He was an officer in the Great War and the lost photo shows him in full uniform. Dad told me he came home, said his final farewells and then went back to the front for the last time. 

I'd like to bind together all of the stories so they're not lost forever. There are so many to tell of my man's family, my mum's aswell as dad's so the girls can remember it all for themselves.


  1. I hope you do bind all the stories together for your girls, we lose so much history every time we lose a member of our family don't we. Love the flowers for the garland for your mum and your cardi looks fab, I never thought of cutting down woollen things. I'm off to hunt through my wardrobe to see what I can update! Julie x

  2. It is so lovely to discover family history, and so important we record it before it is lost for ever. What a lovely find those spoons are.

    best wishes
    Nikki x

  3. Ooh Lisa what a lot of lovely family history tales, I love anything like that! Loads of momentoes to remember special people by ...

    Loved this post, there's so much in it!I'm sorry to hear you haven't been feeling tiptop, but hopefully, once the snow's gone, the sun will shine until October (that would be fantastic!).

    Your cardigan is amazing, a totally new garment, costing practically nothing, I love the make do and mend attitude.

    I'd also like to say thank you for organising the 4 Happy Things Swap ... I received my parcel at the weekend and will share on my blog later in the week. It must take a lot of your time to arrange something like this, and I'm grateful to those who do this, so thanks once again.

    Have a wonderful week!

    Claire xx

  4. We have been doing our family trees and it has been fascinating. We found a box the other day which still had Grandparents war i.D cards and school reports.
    Hope you feel better soon.

  5. A family tree in coffee spoon format, what a wonderful treasure. We too have boxes of various family bits and bobs, particularly photographs as my great grandfather was a professional photographer and I'm trying to make sure I know who they all are to be able to pass their stories on to my girls in due course.

  6. I wish we could rent a Tardis and pop back in time, I have similar photos of wonderment. Also wanted to thank you for the swap, it was my first big adventure in the blog playground and generated lots of smiles. Now, about those spoons, have you ever 'fork' about making them into jewellery? I have seen beautiful spoon bangles and pendants and handy for that spontaneous picnic! Eco Ethel xx

  7. Hope you continue to feel brighter, Lisa.

    It is wonderful to have something tangible to hold onto, pass down the family, and great that at least you have your mum to tell you what she knows about the history of these items.

    We have loads of very old family photos, and I have been looking at them since I was little, so have the family history embedded! We show the boys, and THEIR children about where they came from, and now I am enjoying introducing our (Fairly recently found) eldest grandson to his unknown side of the family - he is fascinated!

  8. I wish I had a suitcase full of history like that. We know so very little of my family's history - my cousin did start to investigate the family tree but apparently turned out some dark secret (probably illegitimate children or something like that) and my nana begged her to stop. And now she's gone it is that much harder to find out anything. Sigh.

  9. Searching through the past does get more frustrating when the elders of the family are gone. I have some old photos of my family and haven't a clue who they are, but can't bear to part with them. But I love the old sepia photographs, and I do know one or two of the faces. The collection of silverware of your father's is very special ... such beautiful designs. I have a similar mismatched collection from my mother, and I love them even though they're all bent and scratched. It shows they were well used once upon a time. I also love the remake of your shortened cardigan ... really nice! Wendy

  10. loved your post so nice to look back and remember special times - also your cardi is fab x

  11. How wonderful, thank you so much or sharing xxx

  12. Love the "new" sweater. I especially like the bone handled spoon. Be sure to write the family history down so it won't be lost. I wish my family had put more history into writing.

  13. Hope that you are feeling more perky today! waking up to the snow has made me feel a bit glum, the walk to pre-school was bracing! I love the bag that you created in the previous post, and the flowers are lovely, i also love your woolly upcycling, will be going through my clothes to see what i can prettify. Thank you for your inspiring post and get well soon!!! Catx (Lulumama)

  14. Great post. Fab idea to properly record the family history. I love your cardi revamp - it looks great.
    M xxxx

  15. Hope you are feeling a little better, this cold is getting to us all!
    The garland you made for your Mum is super, no wonder she loves it! You've reminded me, I have a bag of spoons from my Mums house, not sure where they are, lurking in a dark, damp cellar no doubt. You're right, we are connected as much by our love of shared stories as blood, it's those memories and shared moments that bind us together. Take care :) x

  16. How did you stop the knitting from unpicking? The cardigan looks really pretty. I am having a worn out feeling day today. Overwhemled brain and sleep deprived body!! xxx

  17. The cardigan looks fantastic, what a great idea. Perfect upcycling.
    Wonderful idea to record your family's history, there is a need to "ask" before it is too late. I wish I had "asked" more.
    I've completed my "Four Happy Things" swap with Jan, I've just blogged about it and Jan will be doing so soon. Thank you for organising it, it was a lot of fun and I have so enjoyed getting to know Jan.
    I had the "down's" in January but, with the longer days, I've been feeling better and I did start taking Vitamin D (great for the nails!). Hope you are soon feeling 100% again.
    Carol xx

  18. Loved the dress underneath the card! The pattern really pops.

  19. I think it's such a wonderful thing discovering your past. So important to carry the stories down through to the next generation. My hubbie is a history teacher so is particularly interested and has really fired my enthusiasm for finding out more about my past. My Dad's cousin has been doing a lot of research which he has kindly passed on but I'd also really like to delve deeper into Mum's family as well. Love what you've done to the cardigan and you've inspired me to take a look at my wardrobe. I've got a lot of things that are unworn and could definitely do with a re-vamp or a chop! I've also been feeling rather down lately. Can't decide if it's the weather or a mild case of post natal depression(if it's possible to have a mild case?) but whatever it is I think the Spring arriving would definitely help. It's been beautiful here today but I gather it's down hill again tomorrow with a load more rain! It will come soon! Fiona x

  20. I loved this post, what fascinating hints of a long ago past, I'm not surprised you'd like to write a book!

    I have a tin of old spoons and keys, picked up at a car boot, I wonder if they could tell similar tales :D

  21. I love the cardy make over and have to say how much I love the dress with it! Bet the colours really suit you! Thankyou for sharing such a lovely post about the 'spoons'. How wonderful to have such lovely memories and keepsakes for you to also pass on, lovely post. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Karen x

  22. Oh this post made me cry. I am missing my mum so much and the spoons and the memories just brought it all back. I love the idea of a special christening spoon.


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