What’s at the back of your drawer?

June 16th 2016

The meeting at Ingrid’s last evening was well attended.

The future programme was discussed and the venue for the meal out on 27th July was agreed, “The Royal”. Our August meeting were mentioned and members are reminded that Lisa will be giving her talk at Anne’s house on 3rd August. After a brief discussion it was agreed unanimously that the outing will be on 17th August.

 We hope to arrange a visit to the Big Pit at Blaenavon, as this was enthusiastically agreed as a great place to visit. The treasurers are coping with the idiosyncrasies of the banking system with stoical determination.

The topic for the evening was “What’s that at the back of the drawer?” Even those who do not usually hang on to things brought something to intrigue us. Alison’s treasured family war diary moved us all. Jenny brought a fascinating physics conundrum consisting of two matching blocks of sloped wood and a beautifully formed wooden double cone. She made the cone roll up hill! How? Janet’s contribution looked at first glance like a black lump of haematite. On closer examination we could easily see that the wooden object was a carved, spherical sculpture of a muscular figure burying his head in his hands and kneeling in submission. Janet explained that the figure is probably Polynesian and is denoting “Shame”. Dilys brought a family item, a small, shabby, leather and metal object, which came apart to reveal that it might have held something. It was revealed to be the carrying case for a sprung steel telescopic walking cane of normal proportions which could be furled to fit inside. Ingrid delighted us with three pictures found in the drawer of an old shabby chest when she was clearing her family home. Two very small and elegantly painted, possibly late 18thC, early 19thC landscapes, each painted on veneer –thin, wooden strips. Both now safely framed to protect their fragility. The artist is unknown and the purpose of the paintings is uncertain but Ingrid believes they are sketches for larger paintings. The third picture, a black and white wood cut print, is a Durer and shows St Jerome. Its aged condition suggests that, if it isn’t an original 15th 16th Century print it must be a very old copy! It is signed on the back in red. Kate produced a small dark red box with an elegant carrying handle of dark red cord, from which she drew two very small similarly bound books. One a prayer book the other a hymn book each inscribed with the owners name and one inscribed by a mother to her daughter on her 17th Birthday giving the date of that day. Joan produced a monocular. Towards the end of his life her father had had vision in only one eye and found the monocular a useful aid to his vision. Betty had found two items both each demonstrating the value of personal association. The first was a tiny Tanzanian jar of exotic fruit jam, a gift from her grand-daughter on returning from a work trip to that country. The second item looked rather dangerous. At one time Betty had difficulty prodding through thick cushions to fix buttons in place. Alan devised a bodkin of strength and length to make her task much easier. Ingenuity! (This led to a discussion about patents and Joan was able to enlighten us about those)

Each of the items prompted questions and discussion and led us through the world of the present and the past.

Some questions have still to be answered, and that stimulation of thought is what is great about NWR.