I’m not really a collector. Perhaps I’m a hoarder? No, I don’t think that’s right either. I do buy daft things off eBay, but I’m not sure it’s fair to accuse me of hoarding those things.
Usually I’m drawn to old postcards, maps and books. In my office I have two old maps, mounted on cork – one is of Dorset and the other Exmoor, both places I love and adore in equal measure.
Old books are piled up on my bookshelves. It may look a tad untidy but I have them categorised, sort of. Dorset and Exmoor have shelves to themselves. The books share the room with maps and magazines too. Other shelves are for miscellaneous reference books, stationery, financial records, photo albums, CDs (that used to live on the floor) and a very expensive collection of magazines that cover the film industry from its early days right through to the end of the 1980s.
The Movie was one of those part-works that entice us to part with money – or rather our parents’ cash. They fail to reveal that it will be years before the series finishes – and you dare not miss a copy. Several of the final issues were the index, that’s how big it was.
It was a running joke in my household, well my parents thought it funny. When I moved out I had no furniture so they agreed that the collection could be left behind. Eventually I could afford strong enough shelves so they made me take them. There are 13 volumes and I have never looked at them since the day the poor paper boy delivered them.
Perhaps I should sell them on eBay? But it’s unlikely they’d generate any interest. They weigh a tonne; I would struggle posting one, let alone 13. No, they will be kept for research – but with the internet it’s doubtful I will ever use them.
Movies were always a big part of my life and still are. There are some books I would never part with – the Films of 20th Century Fox, the MGM Story and the Warner Bros Story are treasures. I was still at school when I bought them.
But I digress. The intended subject for this post was Hippos and I've waffled on without even mentioning them. Why didn’t you stop me?
Let’s go back to the beginning. I am not a collector but I do have a collection. I think everyone should have at least one thing they collect. Me? It’s Hippos. It began with a black chap with a gaping mouth. He was a gift to my mother from a workmate almost 60 years ago. Despite the chip on one ear I love him.
When I was younger, much younger – young enough to wear pretty party dresses with frilly knickers, I had my photograph taken by a professional. Like most of us I hate that and invariably blink. But this photo was taken by a pro and she knew how to distract a young child. I was handed Mr Hippo to hold and that was it. I beamed at the camera, unaware that 45 years later my cute little face would be plastered over the internet.
Yes, I have fond memories of that ornament - so much so that I now have a small collection of Hippos. But for once I’ve been sensible. They live on a very narrow window sill and now it’s full, I cannot and will not add to it.
The first pair that I bought came from St Ives - a mummy and baby, ideally designed for salt and pepper. Others have been bought from car boots, shops and eBay. The most recent arrived this year, on my birthday. A friend had spotted my collection and presented me with a lovely pink Hippo. Now the shelf is full and the herd is complete.
That doesn’t make me a hoarder, it just makes me daft and I’m happy with that!