Month: October 2019

Other man’s junk

Continuing where we left off…

There was an awesome collection of collectables and bits and bobs for sale at the event, and naturally these would catch my eye; after all I am somewhat of a collectable bit myself. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) buying some of them would have meant using up the small stash of SA Rands that I had and trying to find space in my suitcase for a slightly used elephant would have been impossible. I could look but not buy.

It is amazing when you think of what can be construed as collectable, and I know I am always on the lookout for retro items, however, many people collect items of a motoring or military nature (to name but a few), and of course there is a gender bias too. The sad reality is that one man’s junk is another man’s collectable.

Toys probably make up a vast genre all of their own

About 2 hours from closing time I went for a stroll in Modderfontein to have a look at the old houses that we passed on our way. I had never really investigated this part of the East Rand before so it is all new to me.

Some of the old houses were spectacular, although most were now occupied by small businesses.

And of course being South Africa palisade fencing, electric fences and barbed wire obscures everything.

And if you are lucky you may even see the Gautrain hurtling back from the airport.

Overall though it is a very pretty area and of course the Jacarandas are in bloom but the grass is bone dry.

I headed back to the meet, ready for round 2 or 3 of my walkaround. Things were definitely getting quieter though, and many of the cars were now taking to the road as people headed home. We still had 2 hours to go though as we were helping one of the stall holders.

Obsolete technology does make up a vast section of collectables, and the demise of “analogue” photography had consigned a lot of camera equipment to the sale tables of history.

The same is true for analogue electrical test equipment. I used to use at least 3 of the items in the collection below.

Being a motoring themed club it was inevitable that motoring related items and tools would also feature in the stuff available to buy.

It is kind of hard to show all the things that interested me and to explain why they did, but here are more.

However, one find that I made should never have been for sale in the first place, and it is a sad indictment of our society and how it has forgotten their forefathers that lost their lives fighting against Nazi tyranny. More information on Gordon Frederick Johnson is available from the South African War Graves Project

And that more or less concludes my look at the past. It is amazing what is out there, you just need to look all around you (and have lots of money too).

DRW © 2019. Created 23/10/2019

Piston Ring Club Meet (1)

My brother tagged onto the Piston Ring Club monthly meetings quite some time ago and has been a regular visitor there for quite some time. Apart from the vintage cars there are always a lot of sellers of collectables, slightly used junk and assorted odds and sods; the sort of thing that I love. Consequently I accompanied him to the event while I was in South Africa. 

I have attended the Tewkesbury Vintage Car Shows for quite a few years now, and usually come away with a lot of pics, although many of the images are of vehicles that I had seen before. The collection that I would see on this day is a completely new one, and with a South African flavour to boot. We do have a number of unique vehicles here and there are a number of South African idiosyncrasies that makes these vehicles interesting. The usual rules apply: it was a hot and sunny day so pics were taken more or less from the same angle. Occasionally people would impinge in the images too, and in many cases I am unable to ID many of the vehicles. 

Special thanks must always go to the people who own these old beauties and keep them on the road for us to see. The gallery of wonderful things may be found next door. forwardbut

And now, on with the show. 

DRW © 2019. Created 23/10/2019

Momento Mori

Memento Mori (Latin: ‘remember that you must die’) is an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death. It is sometimes associated with photographs of the deceased and those photographs are often the subject of heated discussions. 

My mother’s death was not unexpected. We knew that sooner or later we would have to face her passing and attend her commemoration service. She had wanted to be cremated and with that in mind my brother arranged that we would hold a small service for her at the care home where she had lived out her last days. There is no way of knowing in advance how many would attend, and we did not expect too many to be there. Actually 3 people were to be commemorated on the day, and we were glad to be able to commemorate them too on this day and incorporate them into our service. Too many of the aged occupants in homes pass on without family or friends close by to remember them. 

The service was led by Kathleen Johnston, a non denominational pastor who ministers to the aged and who understands the process and grief. To me the most touching part of the service was when 6 of the nurses sang for us, the first piece being an emotional African song followed by the Lord’s Prayer. I felt very touched by this. It reached deep down into my emotions and I battled to hold back the tears.

A strange thing had happened to us on the afternoon before: we were sitting on the patio discussing the service when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a white feather drifting down from the ceiling. Many years ago somebody told me that white is the colour of angels, and  a white feather is seen as an angel feather, and is a sign of protection and faith. Seeing a white feather could be a direct communication from the angel to pass a message from your deceased loved ones that, they are well and safe in heaven. Believe what you like but I felt that we had both been given a sign that only the physical remained and mum was somewhere else. Incidentally, the patio is roofed and there were no drafts that could have moved the feather. 

The small box of ashes was part of the service and when we were done I carried it when we drove home and we placed it in my brothers house. The ashes were interred at Christ Church Mayfair on 28/10/2019 as she wished way back in 1981.

Both of us feel that a huge weight has been lifted from us and mum is at peace, 

Which brings me back to Memento Mori and photographs of the deceased. My brother had a viewing of her and he took a photograph which I looked at.  The important thing is to remember context; I would not be able to have that viewing, and this was the closest I would get. I did not feel that it was “weird” or “creepy” which are the words that are often brandished when these images come to light. Often they were the only reminder of those that had passed on and were part of the grieving process. Unfortunately they have now fallen victim to the internet and it’s hordes of tombstone tourists and those who embrace death as part pf social networking. That photo which my brother took will not appear anywhere on the internet, it is too personal, and having been given this unique piece of Memento Mori I have a better insight into the meaning of these images of Death. Just imagine yourself as being one of the parents of a young child that passed on.

That small feather that came from nowhere was equally important to us and we both derived much comfort from it and at that moment we both needed comfort and re-assurance. The reader can interpret it in as many ways as they like, but in the context of events around that service it was just what was needed.

DRW © 2019. Created 19/10/2019