Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Anzac Day - dedicated to my grandfather

ANZAC day, April 25th, is a big deal in NZ and Australia. Lots of people get up before dawn to attend parades, services, and often drinking sessions, to honour those who served their country, or the British Empire as it was then. I rarely do, as I am a pacifist, but I do like to reflect on my grandparents, and the way people lived and thought back then. So I dug out some family photos, some over 100 years old.
 This is Gerald, in about 1916, looking quite dashing in his uniform. I still have the NZR badge on his shoulder - I think it stands for New Zealand Regiment.

 His medals, which are still in their original boxes. I just love that he has kept the original brown paper they were posted in. They have never been worn, as Grandad hated Anzac Day and never talked about the war. He must have been deeply traumatised by his experiences at the Somme in 1917. He was lucky to survive, and was invalided out with a medical condition.
 From the top: his gun club badge, RSA badges, gold cufflinks, and Lodge badge. I am so lucky to be the custodian of these mementoes. In the background is a 1940s red tweed coat of my mother's.
 Dad thinks Gerald is in the front row, 6th from the left. Dated 1911. Don't you love the cap?
 Gerald is in the front row, second from the left.
Note the bare feet, Peter Pan collar, hands on knees, and scowl - he had attitude!
The sign says 5, so this is dated about 1906.
The same shot, with hand-written names.
 In this shot, he is in the top right corner. Again with the attitude! That's where I get it from.
 Certificate of Proficiency, 1909, aged 13 years 7 months.
 He joined up a few years later, aged about 19.

 I really have no idea about this random photo, and I don't recognise anyone in it, but I love it.
It looks like the guys in the front row are holding golf clubs, but I am probably totally wrong.
Anyhoo, after returning from World War I, he married my grandmother, who was a bit of a sharpshooter, and a hockey and golf champion too.
He owned a butcher shop with his brother, and joined the Freemasons, becoming the Worshipful Master in 1940.
This newspaper cutting from 1942 from the family archives nearly broke my heart.
Can you imagine opening the morning paper to find that your friend or relation had been drafted into a war on the other side of the world?
This photo is of the pipe band at a compulsory military training camp at Burnham, Christchurch, in about 1955. That's my father in the front row, 5th from the left. He's a mad keen bagpiper.
My grandfather, on the left, after a duck shooting incident.
From the left: Ossie Throp, Lovell Hurring, Bill Throp, Grandad, and Ben Throp at the front.
Grandad won the Otago Rifle Club Championship in 1948.
He's on the left again, with the ever-present gun!
With Donald Campbell, Bill Telford, ? Campbell? and Wilson Elliot.  
Another duck massacre, slightly more casually dressed.
Christmas 1969, with Gerald, Ella, David and Beryl.
Note on the sideboard a photo of my parents' wedding and a couple of glass vases which I still have.
This is one of my favourite photos of my Grandad - he looks really happy.
I think this was taken at their golden wedding anniversary, in 1973.
I didn't know him very well, as I was about 13 when he died, one year after this. He was a formidable character, as was my grandmother. He was a voracious reader, mainly of Westerns (the shooting I suppose), and he collected miniature bottles. I remember him always pottering in the workshop / garage under the house, wearing his knitted stripy tam'o'shanter, with a smoke stuck to his lower lip.
He had amazing black eyebrows and piercing ice-blue eyes, no doubt inherited from his father who was born in northern Scotland. His mother was born in Guernsey, and they had 11 children.
Gerald had a huge garden, and grew beautiful dahlias and veges.
When I think about Anzac Day, I am very grateful that he survived the absolute horror of war.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

When all else fails, ACCESSORISE.

I don't know about you, but I can't resist a good vintage accessory.
These are some, mostly picked up in the last few months.
This is a divine neck-piece I found in the Presbyterian op shop.
It's a beaten gold-ish metal with a black cabochon in the middle.
It vaguely reminds me of a Celtic torc, and I wouldn't be surprised if the exquisite Helga has one similar. 
The little bird tapestry in the background was bought in Europe by my parents.
I collect all things made of mother-of-pearl and this is a compact I bought from Trade Me.
It's marked  AGME Switzerland.
 This adorable 1970s plastic and cardboard mirror was found in a high cupboard in my kitchen.
It must have been hidden there by a former owner, but why is a mystery.
This scarf came from an op shop in Queenstown and is being modelled by Ella, a sweetly weird little statue I inherited from my grandmother Ella.
I think she kept her in her sunny hallway, surrounded by lots of pot plants.
 This leather backpack is from a Queenstown op shop.
I have named her Chocolate Wheaten after a brand of biscuits.
 This picture encompasses four of my collections in one: shell necklaces, art deco mirrors, sewing machines and postcards!
The card was a gift from my friend Kath.
 "Fly" sunglasses, also from Q'town, with an African hat which I think I bought in Chicago.
Some of my ridiculous collection of necklaces is in the background.
 A page from my 1980s scarf book, 50c from a Petone shop.
A Vogue hat pattern, also from Petone, which one day I will get around to making, perhaps if I get fired!
Yes I had a dreadful week at work but living in Bloglandia and talking to my friends and drinking lots of wine has saved my sanity.
Today I had a wonderful day op-shopping and when I get around to photographing everything will show you my spoils.
XXX Violet.
p.s. I have changed my blog name to Indigo Violet Vintage, because there is another blogger with a similar name to me.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

On Crown Lynn pottery, and a musical pilgrimage.

Lately I've been indulging my inner collector, and my Crown Lynn collection is in danger of taking over the asylum. The company made pottery in Auckland, NZ, between 1854 and 1989, and their pottery was ubiquitous when I was growing up. Valerie Monk has written a history of the company, and also has an excellent blog, Crown Lynn with Valerie.

This is a cream jug from a Fleurette dinner set I have inherited. It was a Crown Lynn knockoff of the British Simpsons Belle Fiore design (of which I have also inherited a large collection). We children used them all the time, never dreaming how expensive they would become!
I used to think some of their designs were not to my taste, but my tastes have changed and I love most of them now.
 This shallow vase looks circular but it's actually oval (inherited from Nana). In the background is a set of placemats.
 Bought for $5 about ten years ago, complete with plastic flowers.

 Nautilus vase, origin lost in the mists of time...

 Not stamped as CL but it was in the CL section at Broad Bay China. ($5).

$4 from an Oamaru op shop (I love the caramelly colour).

 Soup mugs, $2 each from the Hospice Shop (I love the shape, and it's hard to find mugs this big)

NOT a Crown Lynn swan as I am still saving up for one! This one cost $4 from the Hospice shop. A Crown Lynn one would cost up to $1000 these days.
Various plates:

 Hospice shop again (my home away from home).

 Apparently this plum colour is quite rare. $4 each from Broad Bay China.

 Queenstown Salvos.

 50c from a school fair.

In other news, on Friday I flew to Wellington for the Wilco concert and it was totally worth it - my new favourite band. Mavis Staples was on first too.
 Wilco flight cases tucked away in a corner of the town hall.

Sorry about the photo quality but I didn't have my camera with me - doh!
The next day I flew home for the Paul Simon and Rufus Wainwright concert (this is a big deal, as artists like them never come to Dunedin any more). My one-word review: Amazing.
Paul Simon

Finally (are you still there?) a shot of my lovely flatmate Lola with her new glittery velvet Sydney cushion ($5 from the Hospice Shop). Her bitch-face reminds me of Helga's cat.