Honest to goodness, readers, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I just keep remembering to do things and be places and there's half a dozen post drafts on the backburner. But I'll leave excuses for later. This one was a good idea and I'm hoping that I have at least some photos of what I want to talk about on my hard drive, because I don't have a working digital camera.
Ack! Okay. No more excuses.
Shortly before I went to the UK (late 2010), Mum and Dad went to a garage sale down the road from our house. There, they found a barbeque that can cook a mean steak, a pair of shoes that I subsequently wore everywhere when I went overseas, and came back and told me about this teapot that Mum had seen.
The next day was Sunday (I think.). The folks were still selling the contents of the garage, so I headed over, and found the teapot also.
Funny thing is, I said exactly the same thing about the teapot that Mum did when she found it.
"It looks like Aladdin's lamp,"
And then we both on the separate occasions, gave it a little rub. It was a tad banged-up, and was in sore need of polishing, but for whatever reasons, we decided to get it. The people whose garage sale we were at told us it had belonged to someone's aunt, and had been in the garage for about ten years.
Or something along those lines. I checked inside for a genie in any case.
Ten bucks later, it came home.
I cannot remember when I started polishing the thing; it must have been before I left in any case. Initially the thing was a brassy colour. I had no idea what it was made from or any kind of information that could tell me what was going on with the teapot. And then I started polishing it. And slowly, over the space of hours at a time, with dehydrated hands and punished fingers, I found a colour and a stamp.
The bottom of the teapot had a stamp on it, partially worn away.
We plugged the little information into a search engine, curioused by the stamp.
To this day, I'm still not sure on the whole story of the teapot. But I can tell you that it's silver-plated nickel, made by a company called 'Saunders and Sons' and has a similar shape to silverware made in the 30s.
None of this was known to us, or, I suspect, to the previous owners of the teapot. The Aunt, maybe, but I don't think she was around anymore.
Where does this lead to?
I'm still polishing the teapot. A while back I found a sugar bowl with a similar style crafting in an opshop, and added it to the party. The sugar bowl is a lot closer to the bright silver, while the teapot has an odd yellowish tinge. I'm not sure if that's because I still haven't got all the gunk off or what, but it does mean that I keep polishing it.
And that's the thing.
I'm not the kind of person who's used to doing a project little bit by little bit. Having a side project that I come back to every so often and give a little bit more elbow grease to. But I've enjoyed it.
I started out with this thing that had little value, and then I was informed of something closer to its actual value, and making it look better is still a work in progress.
Because that's the other funny thing about the silver. It tarnishes over time. I can leave the teapot to mind its own business for a while, but if I leave it for a few months, it gets less and less shiny and reverts back to the look it had when we picked it up in the first place.
The teapot reminds me to keep working on things. A little bit at a time, and to try and keep moving forward with the project the whole time. That things need this kind of mentality, and it's a good mentality to have, alongside my crazy habit of churning out a cosplay in a week with no sleep.
To quietly work on a little project that makes things brighter. My teapot isn't going to change the world, but it makes me happy because it's really old and still functions really well. I mean, sure, it's made out of metal, so when you fill it with hot water it can burn you when you pick it up, but the pour on it is good and it holds enough liquid. It was made in a time when things were designed to last, not break-so-you-have-to-buy-a-new-one.
And I like the mentality of my teapot.
That's why, if and when I ever end up with a small and impressionable child related to me that needs a good life lesson, I'm going to do this. Take them to an op shop, find them some scrappy-looking silverware, and sit them down with a rag and some silvo and say something like this:
"See this (object)? It's yours. Look after it. It doesn't look like much, but if you give it a little time and a little energy, you can make it much, much brighter than it is now. And when it's bright, you can be happy that it looks so nice. If you make it bright once and leave it, though, it won't stay that way. It'll get dull and look like it does now and nobody will want it. But if you look after it, people will see your shiny (object) and know that you're the kind of person that wants things to be better than they are; than how they look now. We're not big enough to change the whole world, but if you can change this (object) for the better, you'll remember that the little differences count too."
After which the small child will probably be bored and ask to borrow the smartphone I don't have to play jetpack or something.
I mean, I could probably give them a plant too, but shiny things...they're just so...shiny.
And little differences do count. They're a little easier to accomplish than the big ones, and I think, that if you get enough little differences together, they can equal something greater than the sum of the parts.
That's probably enough yammering for now.
I still haven't found the genie. Beginning to suspect that if there was one that lived in the teapot, he vacated the premises a long time ago. Or he's still lying low.
No photos of teapot. Sorry. I think they're back at my folks' house. The photos. Not the teapot.