Wandering around the junk shop, looking for nothing in particular, more for inspiration for final detailing pieces in the new bar we were opening soon, it started to rain heavily; so I moved indoors. I inched my way slowly around, not wanting to trip over the eclectic mix of items scattered around the floor, they had left just enough room to allow you to meander. Maybe it was intentional, making you go slowly, more chance of seeing something you can’t resist.
I’d found an old mirror, copper coal bucket and coat stand, all fitting in with our Edwardian theme for the new gin lounge. I was just about to settle up with the proprietor after feeling I’d done well with my bartering when I spotted the pewter jug behind him. We established that it was a genuine Edwardian piece and I cheekily said I’ll take it If he throws it in for nowt. Surprisingly he readily agreed, so maybe I hadn’t done as well as I’d thought.
I take my treasure back to the three storey, terraced shop on a side street in town. Built in 1845, it is allegedly haunted, part of the reason we wanted to buy it. It has undergone a few transformations but retained many original features which we’ve tried to compliment with genuine period decor and furniture throughout. We place my pieces in the bar area, the mirror in one of the dark alcoves immediately lightens the spot, the coat stand is perfect by the door, with the coal bucket naturally by the fireplace. That area will be cosy when the cold weather comes.
As I place the jug behind the bar I take a closer look. It was originally a milk jug with a pretty engraved decoration over the body. The piece sports a very ornate spout, scrolled handle and a dark patination . It’s obviously seen some action, I wonder what stories it can tell.
I sit at the bar and wrap my hands around the jug, close my eyes and breath deep and slow. Soon I lose all bearings of my surroundings. Images flash in front of my eyes. I’m looking at another bar, full of mostly women having a little downtime on their way home from a gruelling shift at one of the many Sheffield steelworks making munitions for the war effort. In front of one of the women is a tea tray with china teapot, cup and saucer and sugar bowl, none of which match, silver teaspoon and pewter milk jug. Suddenly the sirens blare out and everyone rushes to the shelters. The room is cleared by the time the glass blows in and the pewter jug is thrown against the back of the bar, smashing glasses and the ornately decorated mirrored back before landing amongst the debris, dented but functional.
The mood shifts, I can see a different bar, but the scene quickly fades as I’m interrupted by my partner reminding me that we need to finish some jobs. I don’t mention what I’ve seen but can’t wait for some quiet time to see what other stories the jug can tell.
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