Back to the box, for the record…

Back to the box;  not the tissue box, which is permanently attached to my nose at the moment,  but the one in the living room. Back to the box, to take a look at what other ‘treasures’ it has for me to record, to envisage as my own  personal palimpsest.  TreasuresToday, on top of the box, there is Royal Doulton ware that once belonged to my grandmother. I am the current custodian but I know little about the items other than they date from the 1920s.

The book is a recent purchase of mine from a second-hand store.CopybookIt is a copybook. I love that it is a copybook; that we are being invited to copy the illustrations. It makes me feel like a child again, industriously copying pictures or using tracing paper to copy pictures.  I want to take up my brush and copy this illustration from the book,Copycatsalthough the artist, Shutei ( whose name has the lovely meaning of ‘small teahouse in an autumn garden’), says that cats are a difficult subject to paint. She suggests we  begin with the much simpler white plum blossoms.

I wish Shutei were here to guide my hand, as she did with her own students, but, since she was born in 1894, I think I will have to manage with only her guiding spirit via the book.

Shutei’s book probably had a print run of thousands. Or maybe not. It is still available on Amazon but, then, what isn’t! I have a another type of copybook , that is one out of the box;  literally. I found this account book  in the box in my living room. It was used in my grandparents’ bakery and butchery. It is a record of accounts, paid and unpaid, in 1948 and 1949.

One summer, I think the summer of 1970/71, my sister, and others, used the book for writing and drawing and copying and rough drafts and games, and general amusement. Although it is not a treasure as valuable in monetary terms as the Royal Doulton, it is priceless, as a layered, multi-dimensional record of a short period in our family’s history. It’s also very funny and provides as much entertainment now as it did back in that summer of the seventies.An original, one of a kindTake a look, it’s all in the book…

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Our history, personal and otherwise, is recorded in many different formats. Each has its own value and worth.

This week in New Zealand, we are asked to record the birds in our garden, for the annual Garden Bird Survey.  Last year the top bird in New Zealand gardens was the commonplace sparrow. Other years, the brilliant little silver eye has taken top honours.  If you live in New Zealand, and are reading this post, take a little time  to participate in the  survey.  And, then, let’s see which bird tops the charts in 2013. If you want to get more fun out of the survey, as well as recording your answers online, write them down on a piece of scrap paper or a docket and tuck it away somewhere, like a box; it will be a lovely find for you, or someone else, one day.

© silkannthreades


53 thoughts on “Back to the box, for the record…

  1. Pingback: Perfectly Lovely and Blessings Two | silkannthreades

  2. utesmile

    I love this name Shutei. I would hope mine means: beautiful teahouse in a peaceful summer garden. I could spend hours there, thinking of a japanese little bridge going over a small stream…flowers along and a tree with hanging leaves like a willow next to it….. You could join me for this peaceful cup if tea!

  3. tiny lessons blog

    Great post! Lovely Japanese art and the family book – what a treasure! The scribbles brought to mind my green book, aka my Zambian drivers license from 1985 where my son (then 2) had scribbled a huge A in black permanent marker over my name and picture to make sure everyone knew it was mom’s. These are precious memories. I hope you can give your tissue box a long vacation soon 🙂

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      You know, I didn’t realise until I started doing these posts just how many treasures I do have. Every now and then, it seems it is a good idea to do an inventory, study each piece and count my blessings.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, I have always liked Japanese art but, recently, I have learned a lot more about it. I find some of it very restful in its apparent simplicity.

  4. Clanmother

    Handwriting is especially significant. You can tell the progress of a person’s life just by looking at the markings on a page. I have kept a letter from my dad sent to me 40 years ago. His writing in strong and resolute. And I have his most recent notes, just before hi passed, that were painstakingly written out. Both treasures! BTW, I found ‘A Copybook for Japanese Ink – Painting’ by Reiko Chiba via @amazon. Thank you!!! Take care of yourself.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      To have so many examples of our family’s handwriting in one place is a treasure. I really love how, in page after page, my sister has copied the accounts; imitating the cursive or sometimes just printing out the sums.

  5. tamara

    Hard to decide about books- in my eyes the family book is a real treasure, bringing you back in memories…..the porcelain is beautiful, old but still modern!

  6. Forest So Green

    Thanks for sharing your treasures. We also have bird count days. Peoples observations can be quite valuable. Annie

  7. Mrs. P

    I do so love work diaries and account books! After my great grandmother died, two of her children went to live with her aunt and uncle. He kept a diary and when he died his wife continued it. It was very interesting to see the accounts section of it which included several payments from my great grandfather to cover the expenses of providing for his children.

    I love that New Zealand has the citizens help in counting the bird population. It sounds like such a fun project to do…and a few pictures added to that “future treasure” would make it even sweeter!

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It really is fascinating to see the items bought etc. I recognise a few of the names amongst the unpaid accounts; I wonder what would happen if I went to the descendants of those families and asked if the bill had been paid! Hope the summer is treating you well. Will you be going to the family holiday home this year?

        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Ha ha ! If I am clever I could take a photo using the laptop camera, but I think I have decided I am not clever enough to do that today.

  8. Coulda shoulda woulda

    Lovely post! I adore copying over as well still. That copy book is similar to something I saw once at a tattoo parlour. It was part of the options that you could,choose from. Of course the I k artists do it freehand!

      1. andrea

        Hello my love
        If you abnonniert me in the reader Kabir from reader to see everything as I have… postedGreetings to you Andrea


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