Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hunting horn, dust, giving up

I have become addicted to Marcel's Pagnol's Childhood Memories, both the films and the books.
In the first book in the series, My Father's Glory, he is describing his fathers passion for bric a brac, and his mother's reaction to some of his more eccentric purchases. When his mother describes, as a waste of money, his outlay of three francs on a old hunting horn, his father replies: "Think for a moment: I can saw off the bell, and I have an ear-trumpet, a loud hailer, a funnel; the rest of the horn, if unscrewed, becomes the spiraling tube of an alembic. I can reshape it as a pea-shooter, or a water pipe, and one of copper, please note. If I saw it into thin slices, you have twenty dozen curtain rings; and if I pierce it with a hundred holes, you have a shower-head; and if I modify it with the help of an enema-douche, you have a popgun". That is exactly how I feel about bric a brac; and, incidently, some items of packaging, which always strike me as having numerous alternative uses.

I offer the vacuum cleaner a pile of dust, which some stacked canvasses have been hiding. It eats it up like a greedy dog gobbles a plate of liver.

A neighbour tells me he gave up smoking two weeks ago. "It's like losing a lover," he says. "I've nothing to live for." Then he adds; "I've still got my gum," chewing it manfully.

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