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Objects May Be Awesomer Than They Appear

April 5, 2009

I nearly didn’t bring a jacket with me on my run today, but I’m sure glad I did. Now I’m only disappointed that I didn’t bring a pack animal or a car or a large bag, or possibly a truck with a trailer hitch and some wheels to put under a skip. Good lord, though, am I ever glad that I had pockets. Outside a house on the N11 I passed the greatest skip I’ve ever seen, overflowing with the contents of what can only be the best haul of attic loot in the city, only that it was tragically being chucked out. The criminally unsentimental dump of such treasure made me want to knock on the door of the house and complain, but then I probably would not be allowed in the skip, which I wasn’t allowed in anyway, but since when has that ever stopped me? Now I wish I’d stayed a little longer to poke around some more. It started raining as soon as I got home, so I’d obviously caught the skip just before its contents got a soaking.

Suitcases, and not just suitcases, suitcases and boxes and bags full of old newspapers and magazines and books, and then I spotted evidence that the person whose attic this was had been/is/was into ham radio, and I think I nearly died of a nerdyeurism. Anyway, having only two small pockets in my running jacket, being a little worried that I’d be caught and yelled at and thus get away with no goodies, and still having about 6 kilometres to go, I grabbed the most intact-looking thing that would fit in my pocket, a Round The World Card Game that dates to the second half of the 1950s. I’ve done some Googling around and I’m guessing about late 1957 or sometime in 1958.

Round the World on the N11

Round the World on the N11

The people on the display card are boarding a BOAC Comet 4, an aircraft developed in the mid-1950s, which first flew across the Atlantic in 1958. I don’t know my aircraft or anything, it’s that there are a bunch of cards in the pack of the Comet 4, so I looked it up. The Comet was the first jet airliner in scheduled passenger service, but early Comet aircraft were a little crashy, so they tried to clean up their rep with this guy.

The Comet 4, only 76 were made, between 1958 and 1964, but the last one was retired from commercial use in 1981. The last documented flight of a Comet 4 was in 1997.

The Comet 4, only 76 were made, between 1958 and 1964, but the last one was retired from commercial use in 1981. The last documented flight of a Comet 4 was in 1997.

I’m guessing that the game was released just around the same time as the Comet 4. The rest of the cards show ancient and modern wonders of the world, sometimes together. I like this Egyptian one, with the Very Modren Aeroplane flying over the Sphinx.

I imagine you can identify this monument without my help

I imagine you can identify this monument without my help

And I like this idea of oil refineries as part of your round-the-world adventure.

Before the beginning of the end of the age of oil

Before the beginning of the end of the age of oil

There are 44 cards in the deck, with a series of the Comet 4 cards, and the rest of the images unique, including: The Statue of Liberty, Table Mountain in Cape Town, Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls, Hong Kong, The Great Wall of China, and the 24 Hour Le Mans race. It also has the Potala Temple in Lhasa, Tibet, and so I’m thinking it was also before the 1959 uprising there.

Most of the city views feature boats in the foreground and the skyline of the city in the background, but as if drawn/painted from the bay or harbour. Not that we don’t still consider the skyline of a city iconic, but it’s interesting that the deck is clearly made to hype up the idea of air travel, and yet few of the images are shown from an aerial perspective.

Anyway, because I am a total simpleton, I must rock with this final image.

Rock it.

Rock it.

I’m sure it’s a good thing there wasn’t room in my pockets for more, or that I couldn’t take more time to go through it, but it’ll take me a while to get there. All I can think about now was the gold mine I think I missed out on.

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. Kim permalink
    April 5, 2009 5:30 pm

    Go back and get more right now.

    Right now!

    • Jane permalink*
      April 5, 2009 5:37 pm

      Dude, you’d have pooped your pants. I really wish I could have gone back, but probably it’s for the best that I didn’t, or I’d have spent all week googling around for more information about every little doodad I fished out. And the suitcases. They could have got good money for the suitcases on eBay, even just as props for photoshoots or whatnot. My assumption is that for ages and ages someone was like, “Eventually we’ll sort through that stuff and sell what’s sellable and throw the rest away,” but never got around to it, and finally there might have been an ultimatum given or someone reached his/her wits’ end and just decided that the sorting was never gonna happen, and it all ended up in a skip. I am a wee bit tempted to head back there, but there’s been some rain since the afternoon, so I might have to dig more than I’d be able to do discreetly on a dual carriageway. But if you wanna check it out, it’s between RTE and The Montrose Hotel, on the same side of the N11, in the driveway of a house there.

  2. Kim permalink
    April 5, 2009 5:40 pm

    Ha, no no, enjoying it vicariously through you is plenty, unless there are instruments involved.
    …! Are there instruments involved?

  3. Kim permalink
    April 5, 2009 5:42 pm

    The guitar I currently have was fished out of a skip by a friend. Gorgeous rich tone. Lovely black scratchplate in the shape of a flame. Made in Italy. Who throws out an Italian guitar?

    • Jane permalink*
      April 5, 2009 5:48 pm

      I don’t know! But with this you are TOTALLY testing the limits of my bric-a-brac restraint mechanism. Seriously, it is made of secondhand burlap and it is fraying.

      • Kim permalink
        April 5, 2009 5:56 pm

        In NY, it is totally customary to leave your unwanteds in an organised pile on the curb for people to fish through before the garbage man comes. Chairs. Dressers. Books and records. My sister (this is disgusting, actually) scored herself a pair of trousers once. (shivers a little) Ghh.

      • Jane permalink*
        April 5, 2009 5:58 pm

        I’m not ashamed to admit that I have found clothing in a dumpster. Tony is standing here trying to convince me to go and look through the skip again, despite the fact that WE DO NOT NEED MORE STUFF.

        I am so tempted. This is a rare occasion on which I am being encouraged to accumulate things. EEK.

      • Kim permalink
        April 5, 2009 6:02 pm

        What are you talking about, ‘need’? What does need have to do with it?

  4. Kim permalink
    April 5, 2009 6:03 pm

    Get me an autoharp and some antlers. And some old postcards or love letters.

  5. Jane permalink*
    April 5, 2009 6:12 pm

    YOU ARE A VERY BAD PERSON. Because I think I’m going to go back to the skip. Tony reminded me that the suitcases on the top of the pile are probably weatherproof anyway.

    Sigh.

    I am weak.

  6. Barry permalink
    April 5, 2009 9:05 pm

    Am I too late to weigh in here? Did you go back?!

    Go back.

    Go back.

    Go back.

    Did you go back..?!

    • Jane permalink*
      April 5, 2009 9:10 pm

      I…went back. My friend Linus popped around with the car, in case the suitcase was still there, which it wasn’t.

      It had been well picked over by the time I got back, but now I might need to go back again, due to the presence of a MASSIVE bin bag full of old slides, some of which are crap, but a few of which are amazing. I grabbed a few fistfuls, and now I want more. Whoever lived there did a lot of travelling in the 60s and 70s, and it looks like he was on the ships, or was at least really into boats.

      Got some other cool stuff, too, including a book about how to make lamps, purses, and mailboxes out of popscicle sticks. And a book of hotels and restaurants in Britain from 1962. Would have got more, but one of the neighbours got a bit suspicious and came over to give out to us, so we bolted.

  7. Barry permalink
    April 5, 2009 9:15 pm

    Neighbour gave out? Brilliant. I love givey out neighbours. One of my Dublin ones once asked me if I was trying to break into my own house because I was having a little sit on the doorstep. Well known m.o. of burglars.

    What did the neighbour say?

    What did you say?

    Can you make me a purse?

    • Jane permalink*
      April 5, 2009 9:25 pm

      He didn’t give out to me, but he said something to Linus, although it wasn’t entirely comprehensible because he was extremely old (the neighbour, not Linus, who is not old at all, unless you are a baby, in which case he is very old), and then we felt a bit bad and like we were gonna get in trouble, or like the cops were gonna drive by real slow, like. I sort of regret chickening out now. Should have just pretended I didn’t hear and kept digging.

      I can make you a purse. If you would like the ‘calipso’, you will need to eat 264 popscicles and provide the sticks, which I will glue into a pattern and coat with clear shellac to give a natural-looking lustre. If you prefer the ‘gaiety’ model, you need only choke down approximately 219. I’m going to need to get images of these things up on here. They’re quite excellent. But given that it is quite warm where you live, I recommend the ‘summer evening purse’, for which you will need 246 sticks.

      SO GET SUCKIN’.

  8. April 10, 2009 1:05 pm

    Why didn’t you just take the suitcase and fill it with crap in the first place? That’s what i would have done. See, see how helpful i am?

    God i love junk, can’t wait to pick over the bones of my ex-neighbours ex life.

    • Jane permalink*
      April 10, 2009 1:14 pm

      I thought about that, too, but it was just *slightly* too far from my house to go home lugging a suitcase, but only because I would have got cold in my shorts and also probably looked like a mental.

      Linus, the awesome Linus, gave me a spin back later on and I got some more stuff. I just REALLY wish I took more of the slides because it turned out that a HUGE bin bag full of old slides, which was underneath where the suitcase had been, was the real jackpot.

      When you were telling me about your ex-neighbour, my pathos and sads were underpinned by the hoarder part of my brain going, “Did he leave anything good?”

  9. April 14, 2009 8:54 am

    this is what your house will look like eventually:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collyer_brothers

    • Jane permalink*
      April 14, 2009 1:54 pm

      You mean ‘more like’, yah?

      • Kim permalink
        April 14, 2009 2:38 pm

        From Wikipedia: ‘Homer Lusk Collyer (November 6, 1881 – March 21, 1947) and Langley Collyer (October 3, 1885 – March 1947) were two American brothers who became famous because of their SNOBBISH NATURE, filth in their homes, and compulsive hoarding.’

        You better watch that snobbish nature of yours.

  10. Lauren permalink
    September 16, 2009 6:36 pm

    I have this card game! passed down from a few generations withtin my family. Any chance you would be selling this pack??

    • Jane permalink*
      September 16, 2009 9:23 pm

      Oh, cool! Do you know how the game is actually played? I figure it out.

      I dunno if I’d be selling it now, but since we plan to emigrate, it may end up in the boxes of ‘stuff I can’t bear to get rid of but just can’t justify packing for transatlantic transport’.

      If you happen to check this almost-never-updated blog and see that we’re getting ready to go, please do drop me a line and I might be convinced. I’m terrible at parting with things, but if it was going to a good home, I think I could. I just wanna, you know, keep it for a while.

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