a virtual cabinet of curiosities

My virtual Cabinet of Curiosities is still rather bare, so some additions for April.

primroses, violets

On the nature shelf

is a celebration of the arrival of spring with flowers and leaves from the garden.

The Remarkables
On the shelf from abroad,

I give you The Remarkables from Kangaroo Island because they are truly remarkable. Balanced on top of a granite outcrop, these granite boulders have been eroded by wind and rain so that they resemble an enormous Henry Moore type sculpture on a plinth.

barley barn
On the miscellaneous shelf,

The Barley Barn that stands near the entrance to our farmyard. We believe the oldest part of this barn was built in the sixteenth century and that at the turn of the eighteenth century the rest of the barn was joined to it, using bits from earlier buildings including fourteenth century posts and Tudor bricks. It’s a beautiful barn but, as it’s no use for modern agriculture, it’s due to be renovated so it can be used as an art gallery and exhibition space. Work should start this summer, so it would be good to put the barn, in its current rather ramshackle state, into the virtual cabinet.

On the blogging shelf,

(this is virtual, so I can have anything I like) I wonder if I should put some blogs I enjoy reading. When I first discovered this blogging lark, I used my blogroll to check when blogs were updated, so I edited the list regularly, deleting those that went into terminal decline or moved. Then I started to use email notifications and WordPress Reader and I forgot to edit, so there were blogs on the list that hadn’t been updated for months and others that I’d lost interest in, while new blogs that I’d started to read weren’t added. It was no longer a reflection of what I was reading and instead of editing, I took the easy route and deleted the whole thing, choosing to link from posts to blogs that inspire me, which at least gives the reader some clue to what they’re going to find, rather than a random name in a list. But maybe I should reinstate my blogroll. Do you look down blogrolls and click to find out more? How do you decide who to include on yours? Or have blogrolls had their day?

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.