The continuing story of the house Joe and Mary Ann Scott lived in for over 50 years and the families that have lived here since.*
|Mr Tippy, 2017|
Now I have no idea who took out the ash and laid the new fires when Joe and Mary Ann lived here but ever since we moved in over 40 years ago it has been my job and one that I enjoy.
It starts with cleaning out the ash from the night before and yesterday I took charge of a new "Mr Tippy" which is the container that takes the hot ash
As long as I can remember each such bucket has been called Mr Tippy which was the name of the very first one that we used.
Long ago it fell to pieces, a consequence of daily use and on occasion a bit of neglect and our present Mr Tippy is the third to bear the name.
It looks nothing like the first which actually had the name pressed into the lid but does the business just as well.
There is no reason why we should still call the ash container Mr Tippy, we just do and that led me to reflect on all the other house hold objects which acquire a personalised title.
|Joe and Mary Ann's house, 1973|
For years the television control was a “dit dit” because that was what our Ben called it when he was five years old and while the name as fallen out of use it will still sometimes surface.
In the same my grandparents called one of those ceramic flower pots, Mr Patterson because Nana maintained that it looked like him.
I never bothered to ask who Mr Patterson was, or if I did I long ago forgot, but Mr Patterson with his smiling face adorned the back step of their home for years.
And for all I know lasted as long as their little kitchen knife which was always called “sharpy”. It had a bone handle and was much shorter than when they bought it.
I suspect many of the names they had for household objects will go back to the early years of their marriage in the 1920s and were part of their life.
|The family vase, 2017|
Just as Mr Tippy and the dit dit are part of ours.
In time I suspect many of the other names for objects they and we have used will come back to me.
Sadly we will never know what silly and affectionate names were given to things by Joe and Mary Ann but I bet they existed and there will have been stories behind each one.
Like the floral vase that came north after dad died.
There is nothing over special about it, and I suspect mum picked it up second hand sometime in the 1950s.
But it has been around for as along as I can remember, and was one of the objects I got when we set about deciding what of the old house to keep.
And here I must confess to being a bit of a fraud because I don't have a story about it other than that it has always been around and like so many family "bits" was something I wasn't over keen on, but now every time I pass it, I think of home.
Not that it ever got a name.
Pictures; the new Mr Tippy, from the collection of Andrew Simpson