Thursday, August 19, 2010

Brush

Painting isn't something I like doing but in an ageing home it's a necessity. The usual emergence of spring, warm breezes and bright Antipodean light nurtures the nesting instinct and even in my menopausal years, I feel the urge .  .  . the urge to spruce up the old humpy and apply a coat of paint.

So it's off to Bunnings, the hardware store from hell where you can buy anything from a gas heater to a crockery set, a sprocket case to a chainsaw, two-stroke and a tin whistle (well I  might be fibbing about the tin whistle)  but I'm buying paint, an assortment of rollers, a drip tray and drop cloths and one of those nifty spongey things that you use to make nice straight lines and corners around architraves. Of course there's masking tape to protect the woodwork and copious amounts of turpentine used mainly for removing the splodges that sneak onto the carpet and leave my face and forearms looking like I've been spattered with the blood of an alien, pale yellow  instead of red.

Hours of preparation, which is actually the bit I do like, masking corners, laying dropsheets, emptying and moving cupboards and discovering those little things about which  you'd forgotten. 

The tiny fruit knives a legacy from ancient aunts, a pair of opera glasses, two fine  crystal decanters that someone thought I'd use and proffered as a wedding gift. Home  made curiosities that children's hands had  moulded, Kitane Crane Wedgwood pieces bought for my 21st, the Shelley Tea set and a motley array of mismatched glasses and the books . . the books that my Auntie Daphne so carefully covered in brown paper and whose pages  have barely been turned.

Volumes and volumes of beautiful books  about Hollywood  stars, biographies, filmography, with almost Sepia photographs. The Picture Show Annuals, all 20of them from 1929 to 1949, each inscribed "Daphne M  Dunn, 18 Alexandria Road, Moss Side, Manchester 16".

Not a salubrious address for a 20 year old girl but better than it is now, virtually a ghetto of council houses, rap music and the pungent aromas of the West Indies and Pakistan. This is where my Aunt escaped the world. This is where she ran from the war ravaged devastation of Manchester and sank deep and hard into the romance of Hollywood in it's Halcyon days.

Books full of dreamy Ginger Rogers and sultry Basil Rathbone on coarse post war paper and stitched through the centre with white cotton. I had no idea that she even owned these treasures and at times, when money's been tight, I've been tempted to sell them because I'm sure they're valuable but with every opening of their lovingly covered pages, I remember my frosty spinster aunt and the fact that once, she was beautiful, young, vivacious and had dreams beyond the blitzed shell of a city where she grew up.

She never married which was very sad. She became bitter and jealous, masculine and foreboding so to discover such a treasure, so beautifully preserved hints at the feminine, the softness I never knew  but always thought was there.

Ah the painting can wait, I have 20 Picture Show Annuals  to browse.


Posted for Theme Thursday . . go see what they're splodging around with their brushes.

34 comments:

Subby said...

Um...I'll offer on th' lot of those books, if'n ya e'er wanna part wi' 'em ;)

And I still hae tha' N.G. book fae ya ( 1916, I believe )

Subby said...

Just thinkin' if you use the latex-based paints, there's no need fae turpentine, as it's water soluable...makes fae much nicer air, wot?

i beati said...

I too have just voted- loved this article I am always browsing and reminiscing. How's the job??I wanted mine to be inviting but I doubt I will pass the test. We'll see..love s

JeffScape said...

I bet those books are worth some moolah.

Subby said...

@JeffScape, I've a few from the '10's ( 1913-1919 )and drooled when I saw these...!

Claudia said...

when i was a child, we often went to my grandma's room and found treasures of the past - i loved to discover those secrets - heavy loaded with memories...thanks for sharing yours with us..

Harnett-Hargrove said...

I like the left turn you took when setting up! -J

Brian Miller said...

we used to go to gramma's basement...qhixh was a rather magical place...full of things we had never seen...intriguing books...have fun painting...

Elisabeth said...

I can see why you enjoy the preparations - the distractions of painting.

I hate all that masking, drop sheet stuff. give me the actual painting everyday, but there's so much to get through first, as this post attests.

Gabriela Abalo said...

Lovely post.

I love painting, but with my camera ;)

loveNlight
Gabi

Roy said...

Hmmmm... Got a little side-tracked, did we? Heh, heh! Interesting discoveries, though.

Kathy G said...

We'd make a good team. I like the painting part, but hate the prep work!

Jill said...

I should like to look through those books as well. NOT as a collector, just to be entertained by the elegant style and celebrity!

California Girl said...

looks like a collection of some value especially if they're in good shape. what a nice find.

how IS the job going?

Janice said...

Those annuals...what a treasure trove! The painting can be postponed for a bit.

unstranger said...

Being curious, I googled it. Found this site; http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/deanna-durbin-carole-lombard-picture-show-annual

Grannymar said...

I never seem to get the masking tape right, so prefer to work without it.

Now I wonder how I would have handled the topic of brushes.... goes off to write down that idea! :D

Carolina said...

A day trip to buy a drip tray ;-) Curious about the nifty spongy thing.
The books are wonderful(I have a photo of my mom in which she looks just like that one of Rita Hayworth. I think it's just the hair that's similar.).
A great reminder of your aunt. Don't sell them. They can never be worth as much to someone else.
;-)

nick said...

Fascinating when you discover a side of someone you never knew existed, something quite different from their public persona. What a shame she became bitter and jealous and her childhood dreams were never realised.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

hmmmm no wonder you like the 'prep' work

with treasures to discover

Tom said...

ugh..i hate all the packing up and taping...and oils suck--subby's right, stick with the latex

Betsy said...

forget the brush...sounds like you should just hold an auction right here with your blog friends! :)

moondustwriter said...

you do the prep I'll do the paint part.

more time to bask in the past that way


Moon hugs

mine is here

PattiKen said...

This paint a wonderful picture of your Auntie Daphne. I'm so glad you feel a connection to the young girl she once was and held on to the books. Really nice story.

(Of course, you realize that that pale yellow alien blood is going to set someone off and running...)

Everyday Goddess said...

I like how you found a different side of your aunt, very cool when that happens.

Bunnings sounds like fun!

Betty said...

Fab books. Love discovering surprises when clearing out cupboards. (Better than cobwebs anyday!)

otin said...

When I read the first line I thought that you were talking about painting pictures while living in an old age home! Talk about reading something wrong! LOL!!

Vicky said...

My other half is a painter by trade and I am still waiting to get my laundry painted and we have been in our house nearly 15 yrs LOL

Sarah Lulu said...

I love Bunnings!

But so much more I love those Annuals!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You lucky thing. xxx

River said...

That's a wonderful collection of old books. Have you insured them? Fire, theft, you never know...

I love painting too, but I usually do furniture.

@Vicky; start painting the laundry yourself, in a few minutes, hubby will be in there telling you what you are doing wrong, then you can hand him the brush and sit back and watch.

PattiKen said...

@ River: Ah, a variation on the old Tom Sawyer gambit.I love it.

The Silver Fox said...

Remarkable souvenirs. I'd sell them if they came from strangers, but knowing the person connected with them, I probably couldn't.

kylie said...

i've been pondering lately about that kind of heirloom stuff.
in some ways i think we honour our relatives better if we pass on (for free or for cash) their treasures to someone who will love it as much as they did.

i'm still not sure tho.....

Julie said...

When I moved to Denman in 1956, I was quickly introduced to magazines on starlets and the like. Generally they have photos of Elisabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson et al. I loved them as they were like contraband. Other than them, I only had serious books.

I like the idea of an Aunt Daphne ... bugger the painting.