Ambling Antiques

Walking into the shop is like shoving your nose into a yellow stained page, musty and still as captured time. Rather than the expected unique South African antiques, I am met by an Empire. British memorabilia spatters the shelves, extending the monarchs tyranny centuries after his body has turned back to earth. Yet, the pieces do not shout. They do not stamp and demand attention. They sit, unnoticed, unclaimed, on shelves and desks. Abandoned far from home, they gather dust and rust and crust over in disuse. One cup cries for company, begs to be taken back to the chemically cleaned cupboards at the Norfolk Hotel. Whining, he promises he can be polished. The liver spot petina that speckles his body will fade with a rub down. The copper stain down his no longer proud lion and unicorn East Anglia crest, left from years of leaning sideways along a forgotten shelf, may be removed. He pleads, “Please, I can change!” He yearns for the heat of arabica, the blanket of tea leaf resin, the cold slosh of cream. Lips on lips on lips. “Please. Please.” But I can see his dented metal, the small handle that risks cut fingers, and the rainbow splashed bottom of a material too cheap to even grace my parched tongue without worrying it may turn green. “You are too cold, too old,” I mumble, backing away into the labyrinth of wishful thinking.

Antique shop in Mosselbaai, SA

Antique shop in Mosselbaai, SA

From East Anglia to South Africa

        From East Anglia to South Africa

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