Saturday, 12 April 2008

Treasure in the pantry

Well, Pushkin is no longer the only treasure-finder among us! Having no finance to renovate the Lake house properly, we are doing bits and pieces, clearing the house and the attic, burning rotten hay and wood from the cowsheds, and so on. Well, when I say 'we' the labour is mainly performed by a local young man who by now has become as one of the family. So today when I came to join him there, he was as delighted as a child: I found a treasure!, he announced.
No, don't get too excited, no barrels of gold here - but still, what a feeling to have found something hidden, something that some hundred years ago was worth so much to the person who lived there, as to dig a hole deep enough to cover it, so it remained undiscovered until now.
It's a small room at the back of the house, perhaps it used to be a pantry. The floor there was earthen, but quite damp and bulging in places, and causing the damp to go up the stone walls. So we thought we should dig it up so as to put some draining shingle there. When our friend started to pick-axe it, he realised he was bringing up bits of old porcelain - so he stopped and looked properly. What he unearthed was the rotten remnants of a wooden box, in which there were large metal cooking-pots, each of which held porcelain and glass pieces, some earthenware and some cutlery.
Alas the biggest pieces that must have lain on the top died under the pick-axe. The rest - well, I am no expert but it seems to me that nothing will be of much monetary value, there is no 'set' of crockery, just odd cups and plates, and jugs and so on. But who cares about the monetary value: like Pushkin, I aim to wash it all and later when the house is renovated, give the treasure a prime space on the kitchen shelf, so that the value that the old occupant of the house obviously afforded his few belongings, will be dignified.

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