Hi Everyone and thanks, Paula, for having me.
It’s taken a while for Paula and I to get this post to you, what with both of us being busy and born with an organisational deficiency called ‘life’. As I write it’s school holidays and I’m spending my time at my computer yelling ‘YES’, ‘NO’, ‘LATER’ and ‘WHAT?’ over my shoulder to Miss 8 and her visitors. (I’ll never win a supervision excellence award.)
My parenting style mimics that of my childhood – ah, how we are destined to return to our roots. My childhood was a country one. My parents weren’t wealthy people. We lived simply, making do with what we had and being inventive when need be. I blame this ‘get-by-and-don’t-waste-anything’ background on what has developed into a full blown adult obsession with all things second hand
Confession time: I love opp shops. And garage sales. And markets. And council hard rubbish collections. Love, love, love them.
Most things I own are second hand. My lounge and sitting room are filled with 1920 – 1940’s furniture I bought in Prahran when I first started work at Swinburne University. As I look around my study the only new thing I see is the computer! The desk, filing cabinet, telephone, lamps, tall boy, couch, bookshelves and most of the books are second hand. Aside from my underwear, my clothes are second hand. Even the mug I’m drinking tea from is second hand.
Some of my most treasured possessions are items I’ve discovered at a market or an opp shop. Camberwell market is a famed source for hunter gatherers like me. It was where I bought this gorgeous royal blue velvet 1950s coat. I knew it was a prize when the woman I purchased it from fixed me with a steely eye and instructed, ‘You look after that.’
Clothing is a particular weakness of mine. I have a shopaholic relative who sends 3 enormous bags of cast offs my way once a year and it gives me no end of joy to go through them. Our annual holiday to Lakes Entrance always includes a visit to its many opp shops and I always come home with more clothes than I arrived with. My wardrobe is bowed and bulging. Must do something about that.
It doesn’t stop at garments though. Classic crockery is also a favourite in this house. I have more gorgeous 1960s coffee sets than I can possibly use. My Christmas table always see the 1930s green glassware and my 1950s canister set is on permanent display on top of my kitchen cupboards.
When I was a student it was a cost thing. Then, when I started working, it became an opp-shop-chic image thing. By the time I got married it was a financial necessity. Now, it’s just a love of pre-loved things that are too special to be discarded and, believe me, you’d be amazed at the sort of things people discard.
My beloved (who, by the way, is also second hand having been married before) recently found a Tiffany’s bracelet someone had tossed in a junk jinker with a lot of other jewellery. We’ve found a Russell Hobb’s electric kettle still in its box, full silver cutlery sets and a gorgeous old radiogram that plays 78rpm’s to add to our homely collection.
And books!! Every year our local Oxfam group have a massive second hand book sale and two years ago I scored a pile of rare books by Aboriginal authors, many of them signed, all at $2 each! I came home from that venture grinning like the proverbial Cheshire.
The down side is the clutter. An obsession with cheap and accessible second hand goods necessitates a regular clean out of wardrobes, cupboards, bookshelves. It’s hard letting go sometimes, but if you want to keep collecting, culling is a must. Out with the old and in with the…old, I guess.
Kate is a multi-published author who writes dark, sensual contemporary women’s fiction. She lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, juggling her strange, secret affairs with her male characters with her much loved partner and daughter, and a menagerie of neurotic pets. Kate holds a tertiary qualification in chemistry, half a diploma in naturopathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Kate believes in living a passionate life and has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternised with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.
Read an extract from her latest release, The Yearning, here. Buy The Yearning as an ebook from Amazon or iTunes Print book: Target, Kmart, Myer, Collins, Dymocks, Big W, Eltham Bookshop and other independent bookshops and major airports. Also by Kate Belle: erotic novellas, Breaking the Rules and Bloom. Visit Kate at her blog/website, Facebook and Twitter.