Nostal­gia among the dust

Geraldton Guardian - - Opinion - Grant Wood­hams

Ev­ery now and then I have a burst of en­thu­si­asm for house clean­ing.

Not the stan­dard floor sweep­ing or win­dow clean­ing at which I am re­mark­ably dis­ap­point­ing. But more the dis­pos­ing of un­wanted ar­ti­cles that gather dust in var­i­ous cor­ners of our house.

Re­cently I stum­bled on a set of wall or­na­ments hud­dling in the bot­tom of a cup­board.

If you are fa­mil­iar with the fly­ing ducks that were once so pop­u­lar, then what I found is the alpine ver­sion fea­tur­ing three moun­taineers in climb­ing at­tire. Kitsch is the word that im­me­di­ately springs to mind.

They were part of my in­her­i­tance from a favourite aunt who de­parted this mor­tal coil in the first few years of this cen­tury.

I haven’t man­aged to get them mounted on a wall to this point, so I have prob­a­bly failed in my duty to her.

The moun­taineers are safe for the time be­ing, rest­ing peace­fully with two minia­ture porce­lain dogs.

Ac­tu­ally it was a pretty good day for clean­ing be­cause next to the moun­taineers were a set of books I have kept from the 1960s.

As a kid I re­mem­ber of a lot of other kids with the same books. One was Nes­tle’s World on Wheels, the other was the Shell Project Card Al­bum — Trans­porta­tion.

As their names sug­gest one was pro­duced by the Nes­tle com­pany and the other by Shell Pe­tro­leum. The books were de­signed to be filled with cards that were col­lected ev­ery time you bought a Nes­tle choco­late or you filled your petrol tank at Shell.

If my mem­ory serves cor­rectly most of the cards in the Nes­tle book came from what were re­ferred to as three-penny blocks.

But then there were also some that came from six-penny or one-shilling blocks.

Nat­u­rally fin­ish­ing the set was not an easy task, with some cards rare or al­most im­pos­si­ble to find.

There were more than 100 cards to com­plete the book.

With the aid of sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers who didn’t mind the odd choco­late I did man­age to com­plete the Nes­tle book but, sadly, the Shell book re­mains in­com­plete some 55 years on.

Need­less to say my at­tempt at clean­ing up was an ab­ject fail­ure.

I must ad­mit to a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ment too as I’ve learned my Nes­tle book is now worth $12 on the open mar­ket, a small amount of choco­late in to­day’s money.

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