Little Things That Fascinate

Sometimes I forget that I’m an ancient being with teenage daughters and rediscover ‘the child within’.  That or I’m becoming addled but, either way, I sometimes become fascinated with things which, of themselves, aren’t particularly fascinating really but, to me, for a while, they are.  The sort of things I mean are the things that  make me want to keep them, even though they are useless, and put them in a little treasure box or at the back of a drawer. 

My youngest daughter is still like this at 14  – she has never yet grown out of picking up stones, pieces of wood, scraps of fabric, wine corks (of which she has a huge collection – can’t think why) and depositing them in various places around her bedroom for me to find and marvel at whenever I go in there, which I try not to do too often to be honest.  It’s a health hazard.  I can’t understand her collections.  If she chose pretty stones and pebbles with different markings on them or little fossils embedded in them I could understand it but some of them look as if they’ve been picked out of a gravel drive.     Pieces of rough pine or chipboard left over from my husband’s projects find their way into her room even though, as far as I can see, they have no aesthetic value or possible use.  I suppose everybody has their own fascinations and obsessions and she must see something in these bits and pieces that nobody else can.  Either that or she is part squirrel and has an incredibly strong hoarding instinct.

Anyway, two things  have appealed to my ‘inner child” recently so, before I am forced to throw them away by somebody far more sensible (almost anybody), I thought I’d record them here.


Rusty Nails

We live in an old, wooden beamed house  and occasionally we come across some of these old nails – or spikes really – which are rusty and bent and huge.  I don’t know what it is about them but I love them and I can’t throw them away. 

We are in a very rural area, near lots of fields and forest and there are quite a few old barns in the vicinity.  Apart from the edible dormouse (which I have mentioned in another post) I guess there must be quite few rats and mice around.  Recently my husband was taking down some old insulation in the wine cellar in order to spray for woodworm, put up nice clean insulation and board the ceiling.  In the old insulation were channels and tunnels – well, rat runs really – where generations of rats and mice had raised their families and charged up and down with food supplies.  Fortunately, all the droppings and nests were very old (phew!) but he also found some remains and, here is my second ‘can’t throw it away’ item.


Rat Skull

 Well, I see plenty of dead rodents around the place as we have 4 cats but, there is something about bones, especially skulls,  which is fascinating.  Not that I ever want to find anything bigger than a rat skull in the insulation, but I keep looking at its teeth and the eye sockets and the bit of the spine that remains.  Am I weird?  I mean, I haven’t actually put it on show in the house or anything but I find that I don’t want to throw it away either so it’s on a shelf in the shed.

I hope we never get invaded by rats in the future as, although we have four cats and, although I see the aftermath of plenty of murderous cat activity, I can’t help wondering  whether, if a really cool, hard-man type rat came along, he would be intimidated by this sight


Henry's Scary Look









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  1. #1 by ann on November 17, 2009 - 11:01

    ah, weird collections indeed….
    A couple of years ago a friend ‘lent’ me her cleaning lady for a morning.
    Of course I had to tidy the house before she came, as I didn’t want her going into shock. When she arrived I told her specifically to leave the kids’ rooms alone and I went about my business. Probably sat nervously with a cup of tea.
    She moved all the furniture to the centre of the lounge and scrubbed corners that hadn’t seen light in years. She washed stairs and shook out carpets. I was in awe. The house started to smell less of must and dust and more of bleach and polish. Luvverly.
    She disappeared upstairs to continue and I was so excited about having a sparkly house…
    The bin bags were gathering by the front door by now and it was time for her to be paid and for me to sit back and enjoy all this new-found freshness.
    When I went upstairs I saw that the boys’ rooms hadn’t been left after all and that Alexander’s was looking particularly bare.
    Dear cleaner-on-loan had obviously taken pity on me, presuming that I was overwhelmed by the state of his room and had felt the need to clear away all the bottles, stickers, labels, empty snack bags and other highly collectable ephemera from all over the world that he’d been collecting since we first went to Thailand 5 years ago!
    It had been displayed on his tables and counters in a very artistic fashion and now it was gone! Aaarrgghh! After 5 minutes of pure panic and visions of a bereft Alexander with his hands around my throat, I remembered that I had been so impressed with his collection and it was so colourful and kitsch, that I’d taken photos of it and had used it as my screen saver for ages.
    I spent the next two hours emptying bin bags, retrieving everything and recreating his display within a millimetre using the picture on my laptop screen as reference.
    I hadn’t even planned on telling him about the incident, but a small marble from a maneki neko was missing and of course he noticed and I had to admit to the cleaning lady’s over zealous behaviour…..

  2. #2 by ann on November 17, 2009 - 11:04

    PS….if you want a home for your rat’s skull I know just the person 🙂

  3. #3 by tialys on November 17, 2009 - 11:14

    You don’t want to make it into a necklace do you?

    • #4 by ann on November 17, 2009 - 13:33

      No, but I know a young man who would like to, for his bjd. He has dissolved many a chicken skull in caustic soda or stinking boiling water (over 4 days, oh god the stench and then one of the dogs got them) in an attempt to get a nice clean skull!

      • #5 by tialys on November 17, 2009 - 14:16

        I shall have a think about parting with my precious and let you know.

        Love the housekeeper story by the way – I too have pre-tidied up on the one occasion I had ‘a woman that does’ but, amazingly, despite being a houseworkaphobic, I wasn’t satisfied with what she’d done and never had another.

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