Spit and Polish.

Who even polishes their shoes anymore anyway?

Well, quite a few people actually…my Daddy being one of them. He proudly tells me that he has had his favourite pair of brogues for thirty five long years..Thirty Five Years?! Whaaaat?! Apparently the key to their longevity is in the lost art of  Shining Shoes..

Look at this picture of ‘the tools of the trade’ we have the cloths, the brushes, the polish, and sundry other sprays and potions, all in the Little Red Basket that Dad has had as long as I can remember..ha ha, marvellous!!

It was my Dad who taught me how to polish my own shoes..I was about ten years old and he had bought me my own little kit, sans Red Basket, before I went for the first time to boarding school in the U.K..

It has its own ritual, this polishing and buffing business, almost a science behind the magical transformation of dirty old scruffy shoes (which mine definitely were) into a thing of beauty..First you dip the Polish On Brush into that stinky goo (not too thickly) and scrubble the polish into all the nooks and crannies of the leather..then you use the Polish Off Brush to bring up the shine, back and forth, back and forth, front and around and back and around. Never forget that yellow cloth to finish the deed and which sustains the gleam..

Dad says the appearance of your footwear ‘maketh the man’ and according to my ex Navy father, ‘you can tell a lot about a person by the state of their shoes’ 

Oh dear. ( as I tuck my feet away)

In this throw away world where we now live, I think we should bring back, or a least revisit the Old Ways to some extent..so I’ve been asking random strangers of a certain age, whether they still shine their shoes.. The majority of people said a resounding No!! Especially those Military Lot who had to thoroughly spit and polish daily to pass inspection of their fearsome and exacting superiors.. they all wear (smart) throw away shoes. 

I get it. Yes I do, I had my own exacting superiors in the form of black~ habitted Nuns to impress, as I scrubbed those brown little Mary Janes on a Sunday night. That’s why I wear FlipFlops now, and tatty Biker Boots in the cold Canadian winters. My rebellious heart whispers loudly, ‘No Spitting and Polishing for me’. 

Until now that is.

Those Biker Boots may need a little loving on, although I have just met THE nicest Shoe Shiner Man in the airport today who showed me his Ritual of the Polish. I promised him my patronage, next time around.

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Oh to be Noble..

What is it to be Noble?

I think everyone has a little nugget of The Noble in them..Sometimes it is hidden and untapped, but once in a while you meet someone who wears The Noble like an invisible crown, that which is seen by the world yet unseen by the wearer..

It is a fine word, not one that is used often these days..but that doesn’t mean that The Noble is not alive and well..

It makes people stand out, and for onlookers it causes them to admire, possibly even to be inspired and to seek a greater height…A yearning for nobility. 

Occasionally it’s a circumstance that unleashes The Noble. An unconscious standing in the gap, the unquestionable rising to the occasion and giving into a situation a sacrificial offering..most times though, it’s a lifestyle, a conscious choice to always be seeking a higher way, a laying down of self  Every. Single. Day. Being aware of the Crown.. a lifting of the head so the crown doesn’t fall..

One doesn’t have to be chosen or to be rich or beautiful to wear the Crown of Nobility. I’ve seen it on the very poor, the very ugly, and the very unchosen. Oh that Crown looks magnificent on The Verys…it brings tears to my eyes, my breath gets caught and quite quite taken away..

I think we should call out the Noble in each other, especially if it is hidden. It peeps out of nooks and crannies, shy but inquisitive.

To be Noble is to be worthy, generous, honourable, virtuous and magnanimous..that’s what my dictionary says anyway, but to see The Noble lived out is stunning and humbling and something to be coveted..

Love me a crown..

Let’s go Dutch..

I like the Dutch, yup, I kinda wanna be Dutch.. 

I have many many Dutch friends, all slightly nuts, but maybe our crazy draws us together in solidarity or something akin to that.

 They all have blond hair, or their children do, and they seem to have many many children..they are all mighty tall, at 5ft 8 as a woman, I never feel like a giant in the land of the very small made, it’s refreshing and cathartic hanging out with the very tall, almost makes me feel petite, which is a nice change in my world.

Dutch Folks tend to clan together and become quite loud and party like, which to be honest, is slightly overwhelming in a thrilling way.. as you become family very quickly if you smile a lot, and pretend to understand the Dutchlish bantered around. Games they love, and will sit for hours roaring at each over DutchBlitz or the like, good naturedly teasing and joking and laughing and laughing..loudly.
They are Happy People and I like Happy People, they make me happy back. I like crazy, loud, tall, blond, Dutch speaking people very very much.. 

They eat weirdish foods such as rollmops  (pickled herring) and pickled eggs and their fries with mayo (huh, odd, very odd) and strange things for breakfast (rusks with chocolate sprinkles anyone?) they also eat the delicious, like Dutch Baby Pancakes and Dutch Apple Bread. Oh! And those Dutch Croquettes, to DIE for!! Ever tried the Stroopwafels? Cookie sandwich with caramel filling, not for the faint of heart, or diabetics..

They all have Green Thumbs and fingers and toes..those Tulips? Yep, the Dutch.

Small country, huge impact on the world in general. 

Holland, I love your people, I love your wooden clogs and your Delft plates, your beautiful linens, your canals and windmills. Not forgetting your cheeses, the Edam with the red skin, my Grandpa Sam’s very favourite, he liked it with his homemade elderberry wine. 

Now I want to go back to The Netherlands for a visit, and go and buy me some clogs..

The Pipes, the pipes are calling..

Isnt it the strangest thing when certain smells evoke, or awaken a long lost memory..

One of my earliest memories was when I was a little girl, in old colonial Singapore. 

Five pipes lay on a table. They had been my Grandfathers. My Daddy had kept them and still smoked them occasionally, not for pleasure mind, but because it was a ‘cool thing’ to do back in the Sixties. I would pick up those pipes and inhale the dark tangy aroma that still lay in the ancient wood bowls, left over from years of tobacco having been packed and lit and smoked. 

Pipes aren’t that common or popular today, but once in a Blue Moon I catch a whiff of that familiar scent, and it tumbles me back to my childhood..to the carefree simple moments in my extraordinary early life..and from that point of reference, my memories expand to recapture other, sometimes elusive, somewhat hazy, twinklings. 

Twinklings. Flashing Memories. The long happy days of finding fun in the gardens that surrounded our home, of the houseboy Ho, who used to make us castles out of mashed potatoes and flags of fried bread flying from the turrets..And of his wife Tek, who was tiny and had a long braid that hung down her back. Yes, I remember these small things, these twinklings, and my heart goes to a good place. Sometimes I linger there, because my heart needs a good place to dwell.

I think I need to find an old pipe to sniff..

The Pipes are calling.

The Magpies Nest

I think I’m like a Magpie.. Legend has it they like shiny things to feather their nests, collectors of the fancy, small hoarders lacking intention.

Yup call me a Magpie..

I love ‘Things” lots and lots of Things. People know this of me and those same people fall into two categories, those who enable, and those who roll their eyes elaborately and dramatically and feel they have to fix the broken in me. I love the enablers..Well, I love the fixers too, because really at the end of the day I am at some point, going to need fixing.

But for now I happily go about feathering my nest.

Come to my nest and you will find everything. I have a room FULL of the shiny,  every single card written to me over the last 30 years, paints, lots  of paints, craft supplies, stationary supplies( love me a coloured pen, or eighty) books and bits and bobs galore. Box upon box, cup upon cup, pens upon everything.

To the untrained non Magpie eye it looks like disaster, but to my little birdie heart it is a joy to behold, follow the goat tracks and you will find treasure..

Thank you so much for coming and visiting me here, I love company, and it’s my first ever blog. I promise to give you something to ponder upon, to leave with a smile, and like a jigsaw, maybe you will piece me together over time to get a picture of who I am.