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Forty years ago we packed up an old blue van, an aging Corolla, and two children (4 and 3 months) and drove down the coast to Bodalla. “Don’t let him do it to you” said my mother-in-law. But we ignored her, pitched our marquee, got pregnant again pretty well immediately. “Aha” said my maiden aunts, “So that’s what happens when you don’t have TV”.  While I mothered, J began building the house. 

Now, forty years later, he’s raking up leaves expecting a gnarly fire season. As he rakes, he unearths bits of the past. “Here’s a bucketful for your 5 minutes” he says. and I begin a journey through reminders of the past. 

I pull things out of the bucket and place each one (I give up on composing still lifes) separately, using as my background a pile of raked up leaves the wind and scratching lyrebirds have left undisturbed 

Here’s a jar, miraculously unbroken. We used to store stuff in the tent where we lived  for 8 months, cooking and heating baby’s bottle in the middle of the night on a gas burner.

Here’s the cap off said baby’s bottle. She’s now 40 and the mother of  5 year old twins.

The breadvan lives again, drawn up from the past by its petrol cap.

The marquee, later used to store tomatoes on our market garden block until it was shredded by the weather, is resurrected by a tensioning spring.

Then there’s a cluster of miscellanea: the rusted head of a hammer; the wire dome of a kerosene heater; the side valve cover from one of the rotary hoes that turned over the soil in our market garden; the gear wheel of the seed planter; the cover plate from a different rotary hoe; and the tail lamp cover from the breadvan.

The horseshoe is a later intrusion, a treasure discovered by the kids and brought home only to lose it again.

The piece of dimpled glass is all that remains of a spare door from my mother-in-law’s house.

The teaspoon is part of a set belonging to my mother, still astonishingly shiny, hard to figure out exactly how it ended up here, unless I was prone to pocketing the family silver.

But maybe the most evocative item is a child’s thong. The small foot that ran around the bush wearing this stands in for eight small feet that grew larger and larger until they headed off into adulthood and around the world. It’s hard to believe our youngest grandchildren are now older than our children were as these bits and pieces were laid down for later discovery.



This is my response to DesleyJane’s weekly RegularRandom challenge. I’ve just re-read the rules and realise I am not particularly abiding by them, except insofar as I spent five minutes with these objects. To see what people who do abide by the rules achive, click here. You will, first of all, be captivated by a cactus.