Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

{things that I love}

My first post: things that I love.
“things”: to begin with, I love all ‘things’ that mean something. As an art historian who studies objects and their collection and exchange in the Italian courts at the end of the fifteenth century, I am also well-versed in numerous theories on things.

{things I study}
Heidegger, Latour, Bill Brown, and many others have argued that things matter, and it’s those things that really do matter, that I’m especially concerned with. Not only in court culture from hundreds of years ago, but things that matter to me. Those things that might make you change your way of thinking…the things that make you behave irrationally and purchase something that you can’t afford…things that disrupt the regular economy/commodity exchange, that complicate our subject/object binaries. So here is the list of things that I love:

-letters: in the day of email & internet, I still love those things that you can hold in your hand, that have the scratchy scrawly marks (that is, someone-you-love’s idea of writing). Letters are things that have passed through a number of hands & travelled great distances, showing the wear&tear of their passage—these things make the message all the more special.

{collection of letters belonging to John Derien, featured in Country Living. Photo by Ryan Benyi}
-chai: loose-leaf black tea, preferably from Ceylon. Having a father who grew up in India (3rd generation English living in India)—we grew up drinking loose-leaf tea.

{a tea picker in Darjeeling--photo taken on our
2005 trip to India} 
{my parents enjoying tea in the Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, just blocks away from where my Dad grew up}

Tea bags were highly discouraged in the household. And to his day I can’t stomach anything that comes out of a bag & resembles dust. A teapot, strainer, a tea-cup and pure loose-leaf please & thank you.

{silver tea service I bought on the 2005 trip}
-travels: Perhaps it’s not a material thing, but travels do become material things once you’re there. The smell, the touch, the feel of any new place brings me excitement just thinking about it.

-antiques: I could spend hours in any antique shop. Portobello is an adventure--always. I love old things…knowing that there is a history (a social biography for you anthropologists), of any old thing. It has had a life, and it at one point was attached to someone who has/had a story to tell about that thing. Antique jewellery, gramophones, old pictures, old tea cups…you name it.

-books: what would the world be without books? Not having had much access to a telly, growing up the majority of my life on a boat, with a Dad who preferred smoking a pipe, sipping sherry & reading a good book over watching any tv show or sports game & a Mum who would read us bedtime stories every night, books were and are still first & foremost in my life. ...and I love the smell of them, the feel of them...the older the better.

I love the classics: Jane Austen, Henry James, books on India, and particularly the Raj period (one of my favourites--Zemindar--is by a little known author, Valerie Fitzgerald, who wrote about the First War of Independence )…but favourites also include novels by Kipling (& I'm aware of the po-co theory here),
 M.M. Kaye (who knew many of the same people as my Granny, who was born & raised in Simla), William Dalrymple, Vikram Seth, Rohinton Mistry, etc… but other great reads include Love in the Time of Cholera (thanks to a dear friend for the recommendation), The Time Traveller’s Wife, Corelli’s Mandolin, An Equal Music, & so many more…and in a list of my favourite books, I’d have to also list the first man to write art history, Giorgio Vasari. I have a number of great academics that I could list here, but I’ll save that for a later date.

{Vasari--the father of Art History}

I’m going to stop there…there are so many wonderful things…But last but not least, the thing that is most important to me, is my family: my parents & my four older sisters who mean the world to me (& of course my nieces & nephews & various brothers-in-law). They are there, no matter what—whether battling 30foot waves in the roaring 40s or in escaping a flashflood in Rajasthan—they are always my lifeboat…or camel, (whatever metaphor you might choose)—and they always bring me safely to dry land.

{my family aboard Pacific Swift on her third offshore voyage, 1992}

{the sisters at Christina's wedding--a sisters' reunion is much-needed}

1 comment:

  1. Whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles & warm woolen mittens... these are a few of my favourite things!

    Love the blog, Tinz... Things with a bit of a patina on them are things I love too - a well-read, much-loved book - can't do much better.

    xxoo miss you, Ju