Monday, January 23, 2012

bookcases and teacups

Today's soundtrack:
"Northern Air" by Elliott Brood
"I Don't Know" by the Sheepdogs
"Derby Girl" by the Gertrudes
"Long Distance Call" by Tokyo Police Club
"Good Day at the Races" by Hollerado

When Miguel was offered the job in St. Andrews, my main concern wasn't getting an entrance visa or finding a place to live, but how on earth we were going to move all our books.  Thankfully, a generous moving allowance was offered, so we packed up all our books in 20 or 30 bankers' boxes.  We had more boxes of books than anything else, combined.  Priorities, people.  Books are so high on our list of things we cannot live without that our first goal after moving into our place in Cellardyke was to find bookcases.  Not linens or a television.  No, no.  Bookcases.

And, of course, the whole bookcase organization is fraught.  Fiction and non-fiction are separated, but should they be?  After all, all non-fiction is written with a particular bias and slant on the truth that can be seen as fictive.  Take King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild.  A clear, journalistic bias is at play throughout the book, going so far as to characterize the King of Belgium as some sort of demon/devil.  No nuance at play there.  Undoubtably, you recognize my concern, even if Oprah, the great and powerful arbiter of literary taste, does not.

Of equal importance, but of far less discussion, are the various trinkets that litter our shelves.  I've never really been one for clutter, but everything non-book on these shelves is there for a reason known, generally, just to me or Miguel.

Take, for example, this teacup.

Sure, it's just a teacup, one that I should probably use for afternoon tea, but I don't.  This teacup spent the past few years in a box, not having anywhere to display it, and I was so relieved when it made the move to Scotland in one piece.  It belonged to my Aunt Cora, whose collection and varieties of teacups was as eclectic as, well, my Aunt Cora, and after she passed all of us distant relatives were given a teacup.  On a purely superficial level, this teacup reminds me of those big family dinners up in Qualicum and how very grown up I felt the first time I got to use a teacup, even if it was only filled with milk.

But this teacup also reminds me of Sproat Lake, where a teacup wouldn't really last all that long. In fact, I can't remember ever having tea out of a teacup up at the Lake.  What I do remember is that one long summer when Laura and I would drive up to the Lake whenever we had a few days off at McDonalds.  We had the Lake to ourselves, more or less, and spent untold hours deckslugging, floating around, and trying to get the McDonalds' smell off.

It's warmer than it looks.

Those who've spent anytime up at Sproat Lake know about the 4 o'clock breeze.  It ruins waterskiing, chills you a little on the docks, but it does push the wasps out of the way long enough to make dinner.  So when the 4 o'clock breeze would pick up (anytime between 3:30-5pm, of course.  This is Island Time, after all), Laura and I would make our way up the hill to our campsite, but we'd pass by Aunt Cora's camper on the way.  She already had the impossibly massive kettle boiled and the tea steeping.  So we'd sit down for a cuppa with Aunt Cora in the cedar tree shade and listen to the Lake quiet down.  After we'd eaten all the cookies and drank all the tea our bladders could stand, we'd finish our trek up to the campsite and make dinner.

Call me hopelessly sentimental, but this fine china teacup on my shelf is perhaps the most tangible memory of how I spent one of my last summers on the Island.  Each afternoon when I sit down with my cuppa, I'm up at the Lake with my sister, drinking tea with Aunt Cora.


1 comment:

  1. Love this post, Lady K! You mention all the good things!
    I totally get it, the teacup, the lake, the books.