Mind Streaming

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Thursday, February 06, 2003


Our terraced house, originally, had two good-sized bedrooms, each with an open fire place, but the arrangements were modified, in post-Victorian times, to create the luxury of an indoor toilet, bathroom, and smaller bedroom. In the old days, the miner's family went to the shared toilet outside, and bathed in a movable zinc-plated iron tub, plumped into the downstairs front room on bath night,in front of the coal fire, the tub filled with numerous kettles of hot water, handballed from the kitchen!

When the heating engineer turned up to instal a modern gas combi-boiler for me, a few months back, (to replace the ancient, energy-zapping old electric emersion heater), he hit problems. As he tried to route the new pipework, he came across giant sandstone slabs under the bathroom floorboards, where the old stone hearth used to be, and had to re-route the new pipes under the old bath.

Our old bathroom was ancient and cramped. At six foot plus, a five foot bath was uncomfortable so I decided to rip out what used to be a chimney breast; that would enable me to build in extra cupboards , where the fireplace used to be, and re-locate the sink, instal a 'vanity' unit; put in a longer bath. It meant getting out those huge stone slabs to make new pipe work easier to lay. The image on the left shows the last stage of ripping out the wall; the right hand side shows how the new sink and cupboards slotted in to my design.

When I tore down the wall of the chimney breast and got down to the old fire place, it had been filled in with discarded bricks, dust and ash and other debris. As I dug it away, I found this 'blast from the past.'

It was an old pack of Kensitas cigarettes with the famous butler logo, I guess from the late 50's, maybe tossed out of sight by the lazy builder who originally bricked in the firepace. I found his lump hammer too, in pristine condition!

When I was a child, 'Kensitas' was a popular brand because they gave away vouchers that you collected, in their thousands, to buy gifts. People chain smoked, in those days, just to get a 'free' picnic basket! You can't buy this brand anymore of course. I love the graphics and the nostalgia they stir in me. I have this thing about the sanctity of a building. I believe somethings belong to a home and should be respected, preserved and handed on. For me this cigarette packet is a part of the house's history. I framed the unfolded packet ( in surprisingly good condition) and it hangs on the wall in the new bathroom. It gives me a sense of continuity, of being the temporary guardian of a place that will, no doubt, be home to others when we have gone. I have to leave this item behind if I ever leave. No doubt, the stone flags, that were the hearth, will come in useful as an additional garden feature.

I owe so much to my dad. He is and always has been a man of honour, proudly individual and unique. He did everything himself and I watched him as a kid, making and mending, finding a use for things and using hand tools with great skill. Ripping down the wall and installing a new bath, toilet and sink, doing all the woodwork and plumbing was something I just knew I could do. My dad could do all that stuff too, and passed on to me the confidence to do it. I inherited a certain ecentricity from dad, but also his code of honour,
sense of independence and self-reliance and a gift with tools. It's an attitude, a sort of self belief. A great gift to pass on to a person, and in a way pretty environmentally friendly too! I have great parents and love them so much. They gave me many gifts and through them I became a strong, sensitive, and very happy grown up. Genetically I feel very blessed!
johncoxon 10:15 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Ringing the changes

My amazing father has been married for nearly fifty years but only my lovely mother wears the wedding ring. My father is a practical man, and when he witnessed a fellow soldier jump off an armoured vehicle way back( he told me) and have his finger stripped to the bone by his wedding ring, that for dad was justification enough never to wear one.

The wedding ring I used to wear did that to me metaphorically, but no need to dwell on that now. I exchanged gold rings once , in error, and lately wrote a song about a golden zero with nothing in it ! I once thought that pure gold is too soft to last, and that it needs impurities to give it strength. I had to experience that and it wasn?t pleasant. When I finally stopped trying, I ceremoniously removed my gold wedding ring for the last time, and rather than throw it away, having realised how completely worthless it had become for me, I gave it to my eldest son.

In the period of my re-birth I bought a simple silver ring. I put the ring I brought on my right hand and it was a symbol for me of my right to be myself and love myself again. More recently, I took my real love (and her lovely daughter) on a holiday to Brittanny. We found a huge shopping mall with a ring stall. The lady searched for ages to find two traditional silver Celtic rings of the same design for us. Eventually we found matching rings and held a sort of unofficial wedding ceremony. We bought Naomi a silver ring too, and we just laughed and had a group hug. Here was no convention, no illusion, no disappointment, no deception , just preciously individual beings united soul to soul in a very special way. I feel married soul to soul to Angela , these two special years, but that gold ring held me in chains for twenty five years of my life and these silver rings just sit here, unnecessary in one way but links that tell me we are one and the same.
johncoxon 12:44 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

john/Male/51-55. Lives in United Kingdom/Engalnd/Salford, speaks English and French. Eye color is brown. I am what my mother calls unique. I am also creative. My interests are photgraphy/local history.
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United Kingdom, Engalnd, Salford, English, French, john, Male, 51-55, photgraphy, local history.