Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tales From My Nana's House

Ever since I was very young, I've always taken great pleasure in wandering around my Nana's home, examining every tiny little object while my Nana and Mum watch Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is or similar antique shows that I don't take much interest in. Yes, yes, I know this sounds like the hobby of an extremely bored child with no real options as to what to spend their free time doing. But my reasons for doing this unusual activity go a lot deeper than that: my Nana's house is full to the brim with funny little trinkets of all shapes and sizes that all tell their unique stories of their history and how they came to the place I used to call the Museum of Found Things. Every item in this "museum" would have its life before now invented by the curator, myself. Of course, I, always making up stories about my surroundings, my life and the people in it, would endlessly make up these tales for days on end. Since I visited my Nana yesterday, I thought I'd share some of the more funny and imaginative stories to fire up your creativity.
- DP :)

An Unusual Model
This elegant, human-like mouse has lounged lazily in my Nana's hallway for years with being a doorstop as its only job. Poor mouse, it must get terribly bored. However, its past has been a lot brighter. Back in the 17th century, when rich ladies had new dresses or accessories made for themselves they would order two of each garment: one for themselves, and one for their one personal model, usually a toy mouse like this one. Mice would be the model creature of choice because of their lightness and fragility, qualities that fashionable ladies often desired. When the human-sized clothes had been safely put away in the wardrobe, only to be used at parties, the mouse toys would be dressed in the smaller equivalent and subsequently displayed on the windowsill for passers-by to recognise that the mouse's owner was up-to-date with the recent fashion trends. When the owner of this particular mouse was alive, blue lace-hemmed floral dresses and straw baskets were in fashion. Now, the mouse lies in the Museum of Found Things to represent a little-known but very iconic movement in the world of fashion.

An Obscure Dancing Style
Naked dancing with geese and balancing balls in impossible positions on one's legs and arms may be frowned or even laughed at today, but in the 17th and 18th centuries it was one of the world's most renowned and popular entertainments. People would flock from all over the world to a small town festival in rural western England, the centre for this strange art form. The art form itself consisted of  naked women performing technically difficult dance and gymnastics, while balancing a yellow ball (or, in the cases of some elite performers, a very valuable gold one) in precarious positions, such as this one, where the lady tries to spin around on one leg with one ball on her ankle and one just next to her foot on the floor. She aims for neither ball to roll from its original position. In some cases, like this set of statues, geese would be placed near the performer in order to add humour to the performance with their reactions if and when the ball rolled away, which included cawing and sometimes flying away. This art form was usually referred to as "The Ritual of the Ball" because of its origin as a spirit-calling dance in rural English places of worship. Now, to celebrate the quirk of certain pastimes past and present, the Museum of Found Things displays this skilful representation of the art form on its sitting room display shelf.


  1. The creepy thing is the mouse one sounds almost plausible...

  2. Yeah I'm sure at one point in history thing like that did happen! But trust me, my story is completely made up.
    -DP :)