Sunday, July 27, 2008

Favourite things

My Abraham Darby rose, now beginning its third flush, in a (probably) Woodstock glass.

Woodstock was the first commercially-made glass in South Africa, in the late 1800's. Woodstock is now a suburb near the Cape Town city centre, on the slopes of Devils Peak, and was then a place of manufacture. There is little information about the glass; it is locally collectible, and much of what is sold under the name is not the real deal, but frankly, I don't mind. They are mismatched, sometimes have bubbles in the glass, sometimes rather heavy bases - and are etched with fern leaves or a geometric, rather Deco pattern; the wine glasses have smoothed teardrops cut from them... To me they represent someone's earnest and inadvertantly beautiful approximation of what was deemed Proper.

There are custard cups with little handles (my mom has many, into which she puts the most unbelievably delicious concoctions, not limited to but not excluding, custard: my favourite is bright layers of green pesto, fresh red tomato coulis and black tapenade, incredibly time-consuming to make, into which you dip toast points. But I digress). There are sherry glasses, ranging from thimble to small pitcher-sized, and flat champagne glasses. And there are tumblers, possibly my favourite.

I bring back a couple of glasses every time I visit the Cape and am always on the lookout for more in the antique and junk shops of Kalk Bay, in Long Street and farther afield. I use them, too. One is my tooth mug.

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