SOUVENIRS STIR MEMORIES
Every morning I use a souvenir spoon – or more accurately a tea scoop – with a Canberra crest on it to make a pot of tea. It intrigues me for a few reasons, mostly because it belonged to my grandparents who lived in our nation’s capital so didn’t need a keepsake to remind them of their home town. Secondly, the whole notion of commemorative cutlery.
A little sleuthing tells me that the genesis of the commemorative spoon came in the 1800s. They were made not just for travellers wanting a memento of a journey, but to celebrate events and occasions. They were initially made by silversmiths and expensively priced until improved mass production methods made them more affordable.
Another of my favourite souvenirs is a framed menu from a bistro in Paris I kept after a dinner when I was backpacking in the early ’90s. It came to be after I called my parents (reverse charge, of course) lamenting the cruelty of only being able to afford Laughing Cow cheese in a country where there was a fromagerie on nearly every block; they kindly rose to the hint and offered to pay for a dinner for me and my two travelling buddies.
In honour of the royal nuptials, I’ve pulled out my royal souvenirs: one is a silver and enamel charm bought by my Nan and Pa when they travelled to the UK during Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. The other two I bought from the Buckingham Palace gift shop on a recent visit to London. They include a crystal reproduction of the Queen’s diamond star brooch and a tea cup celebrating Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.
What are the best souvenirs you’ve bought or been given? I’d love to hear from you.
JANA FRAWLEY, NATIONAL TRAVEL EDITOR