a cabinet of curiosities

Ever since I read about John Tradescant’s collection of all things strange and rare that he housed in “The Ark” in London, I’ve longed for a little Cabinet of Curiosities. Not a houseful like Tradescant or even a room as the original Cabinets were, but just a little display cupboard.




For a while I used a small glass topped box to display a few tiny treasures but Beth decided it would be an excellent display box filled with miniature bottles of Raspberry Gin and other little objects and she took it way to use on drink stall so now my collections live mainly in my coat pockets (collections being baler twine, penknife, funny shaped stones, Christmas tree labels …). Occasionally I make a small arrangement on a shelf or table but for some reason these don’t resemble the tasteful vignettes beloved by pinners on Pinterest  but attract spare change, pens and bits of paper until the whole thing turns into a dust covered heap of rubbish that I sweep away into the bin.


beethams bottle


So, what will I put in my Cabinet of Curiosities? Some old coins and a rumbler bell that have been unearthed in the fields, an old bottle that we found under the floorboards, pretty shells and stones picked up on walks. A fossil or two would be good or perhaps like Tradescant I might find the hand of a mermaid.

Until I have a cabinet, I shall make do with a virtual one.


nature study


On the nature shelf – a collection of the transition from winter to spring with an over wintered rose hip and poppy seedhead, feathers and snowdrops.


elephant skull from kenya


On the shelf from abroad – an enormous elephant skull in Kenya that will have to stay in my virtual cabinet as it will be far too big for a real one.

On the blogging shelf – a curiosity about comments because everyone seems to be writing about it at the moment so I may as well join in. I love getting comments here and enjoy reading comments on other people’s blogs unless there’s too many or they’re unnecessarily obsequious. Sometimes the comments change my mind about the post or just make me laugh and I love it when they take a flight of fancy and go off at a complete tangent.  I hate it when they get cliquey as when a group of bloggers meet up (in real life), each blog about how wonderful it was and then use the comments section to publicly thank each other for the presents they exchanged and remind each other about their fabulous day. Ooh, bit of a rant.

If I’ve got something constructive to say then I add my comment to the list or tweet the author but otherwise, I hit the “like” button just to say I was here and enjoyed reading your words or on rare occasions I slink away mystified. I don’t expect a reply so rarely return to sites to check, though I’m always delighted when my notifications box shows I’ve had a reply to a comment on another WordPress blog. Whilst I admire bloggers who reply to every comment or always make a reciprocal visit, I’m not that diligent and any effort to do so is never long lasting though I do answer any questions asked.

My maxim when commenting is that dissent is fine but rudeness is never acceptable; that I always give my name and never hide behind an “anonymous” identity; that I try to remain calm and have another go whenever I type in the wrong number and letters for that wretched word verification thing that some people insist on using.

I’m curious to hear your view. Go on, leave a comment.


23 thoughts on “a cabinet of curiosities

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    I love your elephant skull! We have a huge mammoth tooth fossil which sits on our mantlepiece – it’s too big to go anywhere else!

    Aaah, comments. I reply to comments whenever I can, because I view a comment as somebody talking to me, so I feel it’s polite to reply. I don’t reciprocally comment, mostly because I don’t like the sense of obligation associated with it – whenever posts are written about “how to build your blog traffic”, they always say that you have to comment on other people’s blogs, and then they will comment on yours. I don’t want people to comment on my blog simply because I’ve left a comment on theirs and therefore they feel obliged to reciprocate! 🙂


      • knitsofacto says:

        I think when it comes to commenting it’s best if we can celebrate difference … I say this because I have always left reciprocal comments. It began when I was getting 2 comments per post or less and I’ve kept it up even though I now frequently have 50 comments or more. But I don’t do it because I expect people to then reciprocate again – what a nightmarish merry-go-round that would be! – no, I do it because I’m blimmin nosey and if I’m going to follow the links to the blogs my commenters link to and read their posts then it seems only polite to leave a comment. Have to say though, I’m getting to the stage where I just don’t have time to follow every link every time, and I genuinely regret that.


  2. Jayne says:

    You made me laugh, and I love all your little finds. I never got into the whole “clique” thing, even in school, guess I’m a bit of a loner.
    Oy vey, now I’m having a difficult time even leaving a comment, lol!


  3. Thomasina Tittlemouse says:

    Love your curiosities box – is it a cutlery box? It’s perfect for the job, whatever it is, unless it’s the glass-topped box Beth has appropriated! That miniature teddy bear is my favourite but he gains something by his juxtaposition to all the other things in the box. Which must be part of the point of such collections that they become more than the sum of the parts. And in a compartmented box like that there is always the possibility of change and variation – nothing is permanently fixed. Linked by compatibility only of size and the collector’s eye and current whim. I love that.
    As to comments – I always feel slightly inadequate to be honest about my ability to keep up with comments either on my own blog in replying to them and increasingly on all the blogs I read that I would like to comment on but simply do not have time to. Probably says something about an inherent guilt-complex! Anyway could do with at least another three hours in the day at the moment! E x


    • Anne @GtSlamseysFarm says:

      It is the glass topped box that Beth pinched, though as I sneaked it from Ruth’s room when she was away in Australia I can’t really complain. Elizabeth your comments are always very thoughtful and definitely prove that it’s quality not quantity that matters.


  4. Jane says:

    That elephant skull is quite something – it reminds me of a dugong. I can really relate to the piles of pretty things around the house that attract less pretty things and dust until it’s just horrid mess….
    As for comments… ah the cliquey ones are awful aren’t they? I’ve only once let myself become a bit embroiled in a comment controversy on someone else’s site (about post content I objected to). I unsubscribed to that blog, but oddly and irritatingly it somehow keeps reappearing now and then in my Blogger feed list! Perhaps that’s karma for allowing myself to get caught up 🙂


  5. Sharon Braxton says:

    I enjoyed your post. I don’t know if I could handle the skull, I’m not comfortable with skulls and bones of any sort, but the bottles and stones, oh yes. As to comments, oh well, some are good, some are silly and some are just unnecessary. But in the end, they all mean people are reading. 🙂


  6. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    Hi Anne, I love your little collections, especially the feathers, flowers and seed pods. The elephant skull is amazing, wow!

    Comments: I agree with Celia, I don’t want people to comment just to reciprocate. Its a whole can of worms really isn’t it?


  7. knitsofacto says:

    Gorgeous cabinet of curiosities there … I reckon you need to steal that box back! I have some IKEA Billy Bookcases to go into the new studio and I think I shall set a shelf aside for my own little mini wunderkammer.

    Re. comments … if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that every blogger and blog reader has a different approach to this. Some think it’s bad manners not to email a reply to everyone (crumbs, without meaning to brag, if I did that I’d be emailing all week), others that you should reply to every comment on your blog (I only reply to questions and confusions and such, and to comments from first time visitors and non bloggers). But, as I said above, I do try to comment on commenters blogs where they have one, and not because I feel I should but because I’m genuinely interested in what they have to say. Surely we should simply do what feels right to us and assume that others are doing the same with equally good intentions?

    As a blogger who gets a fair few comments I’ve had people who used to comment regularly when the blog was smaller stop, saying they feel everything has already been said by the forty odd people who got there before them. What then isn’t said, of course, is that they’re still reading from time to time, and as you say above that’s nice to know. Without that information one can be left feeling as if an old friend has stopped talking to one.

    Not a can of worms necessarily, but a fascinating social study 😉


  8. Glenda says:

    Hi Anne, I comment only if I have something to say. I can’t see the point of commenting for commenting sake. It is only WordPress that benefits from increased circulations. I like to press the ‘like’ button to tell the blogger that I have visited. It is like leaving a visitors card. I think that is nice.


  9. rusty duck says:

    Beautiful curiosities! I stayed in a hotel that had a large glass top coffee table with similar trays inside, full of found objects from the beach and garden. I’ve wanted one ever since.

    Comments really do add something to a blog. They can be as entertaining and informative as the original post! I try to respond because for me it is the interaction that is the most enjoyable bit. I love it when I find a new (to me) blog through a comment, and tend to follow and comment on those that resonate in some way rather than on a tit-for-tat.


  10. domesticali says:

    Comments are, for me, often the best bit of any blog. Personally, I try to reply if someone asks a question and will often pop over to a commenter’s blog (especially if they are not someone I recognise – it’s always interesting to see who has been interested enough in what you’ve said to bother to leave a comment). But of course, it is impossible to comment on everything you read (as well as unnecessary).

    My ears a burning a bit from the ‘cliquey’ references. Though I do, absolutely know what you mean. It’s a fine line to tread and an easy thing to get wrong. I hope the occasions that smack of ‘exclusivity’ are balanced by the things which reach out to the wider community.

    I smiled in recognition at your vignettes turning to heaps of rubbish that you are compelled to clear away!


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