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Archive for December, 2016

Family stuff


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I spent my weekend driving over to visit my grandmother and pick up my share of the contents of her house. She’s been in a nursing home since March, and she deliberately decided to hold on to the house so there’d be a place for her visiting family to spend the night for free, as many of us have a fair way to travel – but now she has decided it is time to sell, and by January 1st there will be new owners.

This is a house that I’ve loved a lot; my grandparents moved there when they handed over the farm to my uncle over 20 years ago, and somehow when I first walked into that house it seemed like walking into exactly the same home as back on the farm. It had the same “vibe”, just in a scaled-down version. As my grandmother’s room in the nursing home is an even further scaled-down version of that home.

And now the house will be a new home; the new owners want to knock down a few walls, build an extension towards the garden – and the view over the Great Belt – and breathe their own life into it. I look forward to sneaking past and peering over the hedge to see how it turns out.

My grandmother enjoys that the majority of her possessions are being divided while she is still here to learn who gets what and hear how appreciative the whole family is of her belongings. Out of an entire house full of furniture, kitchenware, knick-knacks etc., so far only 5 moving crates of “stuff” have had to be donated to charity – and a load of vintage dresses went to a company that provides costumes for theatre and film productions. Of course a lot of books will also end up being donated; I have around 3,000 books already so I restrained myself and only came away with around 100 books from her shelves.

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I also got some rather nice objects, ranging from solid silverware to an old teapot of questionable taste (but I love it and specifically asked my mother to pick it for me!), but the most amazing object is this little bronze-age cauldron. After my great-grandparents’ farm burned down in the 1930’s the courtyard cobbles were removed to be used for the foundations for the new farmhouse, and under the cobbles this was found.

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It’s not pristine, of course, but for a 3,000 old vessel I think it’s in pretty good condition. And while I have plenty of antiques if you go by the standard definition that it’s anything over 100 years old, this pre-dates the Colosseum by 1,000 years! It used to stand on a shelf next to my grandfather’s desk. (He was also the one to fashion the rather odd stand that doesn’t QUITE make it stand straight…)

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Another favourite is this sauce ladle, made from a sea shell. It was given as a present to my great-great-grandparents, though nobody knows when – but my grandmother speculates that it might have been for their wedding in 1894. It is… Well, let’s call it quirky! I’ve never seen anything like it, and to be honest I’m not sure how much I’ll end up using it – if ever. (My share also included one sauce ladle in silver-plate and one in solid silver.)

There are also two dressers for me and a wardrobe – but I couldn’t fit those into my little car, so when I go to Jutland for Christmas with my family I’ll rent a van so I can stop by my grandmother’s house on the way home and pick up the furniture.

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Ever since I was a kid I’ve said I wanted that wardrobe. It was in the upstairs guest room on the farm, and I used to hide away in it with books and a torch when I was a kid. A friend told me it looks like it could lead to Narnia – and perhaps it does. It didn’t come with any fur coats, though.

It was a nice weekend, though. Saying goodbye to a house – even if I’ll stop by there once more on Christmas Day I won’t spend another night there – and bringing some little bits of that home with me to my own home.

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