Friday, 15 August 2014

The Jeffrey Box5: The Artefacts.

This is a post for Maddie of upstate New York, who not only likes artefacts, but also likes using the word rather a lot. (Archaeologists do; I’ve noticed. And the fact that American archaeologists misspell the word bothers me only slightly. The ‘e’ gives it so much more class, you know. It does. It looks more classical. So there.)

Anyway, I thought I’d close the Jeffrey Box posts with a list of the artefacts I found at the bottom of the box. I’ll list them as they come out:

1. The two plastic bases for a model of a Royal Navy destroyer. A glimpse of things to come, of course. Pity I so loved the sea but couldn’t stand being told what time to get up, what time to go to bed, when I should be here, when I shouldn’t be there, what I was allowed to do, what I wasn’t allowed to do, how to do this, how not to do that, being punished for forgetting to lower a flag at sunset, etc, etc.

2. A lead weight for use when fishing in the sea. It’s shaped like a coffin.

3. A metal key that I remember used to wind something up, but I don’t remember what. I remember winding my mother up quite a lot, though.

4. A piece of flat, polished bone about 5” long, rounded at the top end and pointed at the bottom. I remember it was originally part of a pair, the trick being that they were held loosely in a certain way between the fingers and shaken to make a rhythmical clacking sound. I suspect they were my dad’s originally, and they’re probably responsible for the fact that I can still play the spoons.

5. A semi-circular piece of green plastic. I’ve no idea.

6. A wooden spinning top for use with a whip, the T-shaped type, not the barrel shape. Judging by its excessive wear, I think it was probably bequeathed to me, probably by my much older brother. (I’m still using his Boy Scout penknife.)

7. The real mystery: a white plastic brooch with a black embossed figure of Cupid on it. What the hell was I doing with that? Why is it in the Jeffrey Box? Something to do with an early girlfriend, perhaps? I was, after all, a little precocious. (My mother frequently called me ‘a little all-sorts-of-things’.) I don’t know.

8. A small, silver fob compass, which still works. Probably another bequest from my brother, or maybe it was mine from my time in the Boys Brigade (or ‘the BB’ as we hip types liked to call it. The BB was much more religious than the Boy Scouts. Why me?)

9. A white plastic skeleton (human.) ??????? That’s as much as I can say.

10. A 2lb Co-op bread token. The idea was that you bought the token to leave out on the step for when the bread man called. It was a security thing, you see, the fear being that if you left real money on the step, some ne’er-do-well might come along and steal it to purchase dastardly things. But of course, a ne’er-do-well wouldn’t bother to steal a 2lb loaf token because all he could buy with it would be a 2lb loaf, which wouldn’t be dastardly enough for any self-respecting ne’er-do-well. And the Co-op got the money in advance, which is a more socially acceptable form of stealing.

11. The Piece-de-Resistance: a safety pin, large. I have a theory based on the fact that it’s blue, not pink. Could this have something to do with little JJ’s pre-potty training days? (Actually, I only had one J then; the second one came with adoption.) I’m not sure whether to find it cute or revolting.

So that’s about it. Maybe I should dig a hole and bury these things. In years to come, somebody who likes digging things up might dig them up. And speculate…

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