Friday, 14 September 2012

the determined cupboard


1952 Boscombe 
 The cup board stood  at the bottom of the stairs in the dimly lit antique centre . Within seconds I was taken back to the  1950,s racing down the zig zag path cut out of the cliff where wild blackberries flavoured with seawater grew in profusion , sand lizards slithered through the bushes and gulls swooped ever hopeful , as we made our way to the beach hut in Fisherman's walk in Boscombe .The beach hut was hardly a fashion statement. Double doors opened to chaos . The English seaside resort was a thriving business in the  fifties  and Bournemouth was no exception .Tables , chairs were stacked up, damp bathing costumes and colourful beach towels  were hung on a string line that stretched across the hut . Fishing rods,nets and rakes used for cockling  took up the whole of the back wall. Shelves were  chaotically  stacked with various shades of melanin tea ware.  Huge aluminium saucepans hung from hooks on the rafters, used for cooking the catch of the day, usually a bucket full of cockles,. The hut therefor had a heady aroma of fish .  An army  dinghy was rolled up and tied with string. It took all day to blow it up and therefor we only used it once a season .I still have visions  of my hand knitted bathing costume almost stretched to my knees as I ran from the sea , screaming with delight , much to the embarrassment of my family , "I can swim , I can swim  !" The magic of my feet leaving the sand and  floating in the water was a moment I shall never forget. In the late afternoon we would often pile into the 1932  Alvis which was far from reliable and drive over to Sandbanks where the best cockles could be found as we raked through the silver sand filling the galvanised buckets to the rim. Sandbanks is a changed place now. The Edwardian bungalows are replaced by glass fronted mausoleums , Ferrari's , Lamborghini's are ostentatiously parked along side. It's changed place and bares no comparison to my childhood.
 watering the sedum roof at the west st Leonard's hut
I jumped at the chance of acquiring the 1950's beach hut in St Leonards in 1994 . Of course I was influenced by my childhood memories of the hut in Boscombe. Many a day was spent in searching out genuine 1950;s article to suit the hut . The cupboard was ideal , red Formica , collapsible. Sadly it was beyond my price range. £140. As I turned to go I somehow  got entwined in the table leg and fell rather badly. I left the shop shame faced and took a taxi home . However the pain was so severe that I ended up in The Conquest hospital . They injected me with a pain killer , took an xray and found no serious injury and sent me home .  Within a week the pain subsided and  the cupboard was soon forgotten .
 It must have been about three years later that an elderly lady passed my hut . She was charmed by the 1950,s  interior and invited me back to her house that afternoon .  
"I've got something that might interest you ."she said .  "I hope you are not frightened of birds . I've got a parrot. ."
I told her that my father had a parrot when I was a child . She lived in the suburbs of Hastings in a modest bungalow. She guided me into the kitchen and pointed to a cupboard. "It doesn't go with my kitchen and your beach hut cries out for it . "
For a moment I was speechless .
" I love it . I know this cupboard really well , in fact I fell over it many years ago and ended up in hospital . " I told her the story .
"I paid a fortune for it but I just want it out of my kitchen . " She said
the determined cupboard

I did not dare tell her that I knew the price instead I just asked her how much she wanted for it .
"£40 is fine  it but no one wants Formica tables now . They have gone out of fashion .IT will all come back of course . " I gave her the £40 . I was delighted if a little guilty . Now of course Formica is again in demand . How fickle fashion is .
 the calour gas stove
 the aluminium saucepans
The cupboard now lives in my beach hut together with melanin tea sets and 1950's paraphernalia reminiscent of my childhood . You see the cupboard was determined to join me ...just like Pussy .

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