I sulked last weekend. The sun was shining, the birds were singing (our resident butcher bird family warbled happily in the tree out back), the weekend was three days long, and I was sulking.
In an effort to throw of the sulk I enlisted SAH to help me cross off a few things on my to do list. And while I was oiling the wood that would eventually be attached to a large vintage school map and allowing it to be re-hung in our dining room, I started to think – stay with me here it’s all relevant, if a little circular.
The smell of Linseed oil makes me sentimental and when I mixed up a jar of furniture restorer (from my mum’s fantastic recipe) I was reminded of my childhood.
I grew up tagging behind my mum as she searched markets, antique stores and op shops adding to her already impressive collection of stuff. My mum grew up tagging behind her father as he picked his way through markets, junk piles and collectable fairs adding to his impressive collection of.. erm junk. Hoarding is in our blood.
It’s also a time honoured family tradition – past from my grandfather to his children and now their children – to slow down as you drive past council collection junk piles, looking for any gold – I’ve heard it referred to as ‘Roadsidia’. Garage sale signs are equally thrilling to spot and follow to as X marks the spot to another’s trash and our potential treasure.
In the days preceding my sulk SAH, Little A and I decided to take a mini road trip down the coast. Obviously this meant honouring the family tradition by stopping whenever I wanted to pick my way through stores or sales – bless SAH and his patience.
At our last stop, Little A could take being in such close proximity to the beach no longer and SAH took him across the road for a splash in the waves, while I looked through a large garage sale.
I stopped in my tracks as I spotted one of my ‘white whales’.
Most collectors I know have a small list of items that they are always on the look out for, sometimes searching for years being driven mad by their elusiveness. My white whales are chairs. I have a thing for them (as well as a surplus of them at home) but I don’t want just any old chairs. I want Eames and Featherston chairs – not too much for ask for right? Well considering I’ve been search for over a decade, apparently yes. The thing that makes these items (that are actually readily available in a few large collectable stores) ‘white whales’ is the price. I don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for them. In fact I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for them. I want them for a bargain.
So on this day my palms went sweaty as I saw two green fibreglass Eames chairs. Approaching the seller anticipating finding they were out of my price range I was CRUSHED to find they were already sold and had been $80.
Walking away with the bowling ball of disappointment in my stomach I messaged the only person who would know my pain. My mum. She shared my disappointment and cheekily suggested I stop going to garage sales to avoid such future disappointment. I replied that when I stopped riffling through junk for too long it started impacting my sleep as I would start going to markets in my dreams and find excellent things only to wake up the next morning annoyed at my cruel subconscious.
There was nothing for it, so I sulked. For two days.
Until kind, patient SAH pointed out that it should in fact give me hope that the white whales where still out there, not yet relegated to myth I actually stood a chance of finding them again. At some point. I hope.
I sighed and agreed with him, as I slumped in my chair and SAH laughed at me, gently pointing out the chair I was currently drooped in was a ‘white whale’ – a stamped Eames fibre glass bucket chair bought for a steal a garage sale a few years ago – and I really wasn’t that hard done by.
He was right (don’t tell him that). The thrill of the chase makes collecting addictive and the wanting and needing and (not so attractive) jealously clouds the view to the amazing possessions I have already found.
New mantra? Buck up and enjoy what you have.
Oh and keep your eyes peeled! I’m sorry! I can’t help it!!
Carrying on family tradition: my Mum, her brothers and sisters-in-law trawling the tip at Captains Flat
The family’s youngest market hunter with his finds: a 70s matchbox truck and ‘Kam Kit Cuba’ camera bag turned man-bag.