Buying Souvenirs

Keep the adventure going at home!
Wine stopper, Brighton Pavilion

We are not souvenir hunters on the whole, and we are generally not acquirers of lots of "stuff": at our stage in life we are selling, giving away and scrapping a lot more possessions than we are acquiring.  But is is good to relive the excitement of some of our trips, long or short, abroad or at home in the UK, so we do sometimes buy things but are very selective about what we do buy, and where possible (which is usually) we buy something useful which, when we use it, will evoke memories of a trip or two that we have taken.

Last summer at Yarmouth Castle we bought a tea towel - our St Ives one has faded and one or two others are too thin to be any use, so we needed a new one and this will bring back memories of a great summer break on the Isle of Wight. Tea towels are a bit hackneyed, but we all need them so why not have ones that mean something?

Teapot from Tate St Ives in Cornwall, tea from St Pancras
International station in London.
Every tea time is a trip down Memory Lane.
At St Ives we were rather taken with the teapots in use in the café at the Tate St Ives gallery; they were on sale there so we bought one: we have since seen them in other shops but to us that teapot always reminds us of our break in Cornwall and prompts us to think of returning because it is too long ago now! We use Fortnum & Mason's St Pancras Blend tea in it much of the time. It's nice tea, but the fact that it can only be obtained in the shop at St Pancras International station evokes many memories of some of the most exciting of our holidays.

We have a wooden train set for our grandchildren, and to it they can run the little wooden Swiss Rhatischebahn train that we bought when we were there researching for my new model railway - and, of course, the model railway itself is being built to bring back memories of several holidays spent exploring the Swiss Alps by train. On it will stand a bus and some railway personnel bought from a model shop in St Moritz - at which we arrived on a bus just like the model I then bought.

The other thing we often do is bring back edible things if we can! Cheese and chocolate, usually, from Switzerland. Clotted cream from Cornwall, shortbread from Scotland. They do not last long, of course, but they spin out the holiday for just a few more days.

And, of course, we usually buy something for others: for the grandchildren and for those who have kindly looked after our home or garden while we have been away.

So visitors to our home will not find it cluttered with bric-a-brac brought back from numerous trips, but they will find themselves, say, enjoying a fondue from a set bought at Mürren.

You have to keep your tablecloths and napkins somewhere,
so why not somewhere like this? The straw boaters evoke
the summer holidays!
Thus our home itself is gradually becoming a constant reminder of our travels, and now that our table linen is stored in old suitcases on a reproduction railway carriage luggage rack, and there is a sign by the back door requiring passengers to cross by the subway, there are many gentle travel hints all around anyway - down to the Pullman sugar spoon for the St Pancras Blend tea!

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