Recently I found this invitation reminding me that being a diplomat in a small Embassy offers real advantages for a junior diplomat. Every year for the King’s birthday, our Ambassador could take two or three staff, so we all got to go once during our three-year posting. After formalities, we mingled. My husband met the young princess; I wai-ed the King.
When we were on a diplomatic posting in Bangkok, friends likewise lived down the road in Singapore. Our Bangkok apartment had wooden floors that needed covering. Persian rugs were, our friends advised, reasonably priced in Singapore. We bought several – one at an auction, which was poor quality but we used it for years, and some from them. This is my favourite.
Driving to lunch in the vines south of Melbourne with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, we stopped at a pottery shop, and I admired the large, but breakable, platter. My SIL insisted I buy it (or I think she bought it for me?), reasoning, “it isn’t an overseas trip if you’re not worried about how to transport purchases home on the plane.”
My mother had stored three beautiful wooden boxes (one for each daughter) away in a wardrobe, unseen. Great-Grandma Grant’s Box sits on her piano in my house, displayed now. It opens into a writing box, with spaces for pens/pencils, and underneath the writing surface, space for paper. I don’t just want to look at it. I want to use it too.
Our boat trip to Robben Island was cancelled due to bad weather, so we went art shopping. We found this wall hanging called, “Manhood Ceremony.”
The following day our tour guide/driver pointed out an area of natural bush where initiation ceremonies happen. He grimaced, remembering.
“The men will be in pain and walking oddly.”
It brought new understanding of our purchase.
When we first saw this house, I fell in love. A bust of Beethoven in the garden convinced me, although it went with the owner. Later, my father-in-law gave me a thoughtful gift: three small replacement composers. They sit on my piano. When I see them, though, I often wish there was still a huge bust of Beethoven in the garden.
Whilst planning our Iceland trip, I saw lava rock jewellery for sale. I ensured there was shopping time in Reykjavik at the end of our trip. One street had several jewellery shops with contemporary styles. I found one shop with fabulous designs, the jeweller working out the back. I could only choose one piece – Iceland prices – though it was personally fitted.