The old white enamel water jug here at Moble is one of our family stalwarts we simply can’t operate without. It is plain and functional; there are no unnecessary curves or details, no outlandish ornamentation to catch your eye, nothing that makes it stand out from being anything but ordinary. It is what it is, an old, white enamel water jug. Yet we use it all day, every day and when it is misplaced, all systems stop until it is returned to base. It was sitting in the kitchen under the rainwater tap when I arrived here as a bride, indeed it showed me the ropes of the kitchen and introduced to me to resident mice and frogs. The meet and greet jug of old.
Like many country kitchens, the rainwater tap here is knee high beside the old wood stove recess. The wood stove, though wonderful in winter, was replaced about twenty years ago. The rainwater tap however remains in situ, with the old white enamel water jug underneath.
Over the years, there have been infrequent, fantastical discussions about shifting the rainwater tap. Outrageous claims have been made such as, “Now we have power we could shift the rainwater tap. Imagine, with a small pressure pump we could have rainwater at the kitchen sink.” The old white enamel water jug sits on the bench, listening disdainfully, whilst the conversation moves on to diverting Lake Eyre to grow rice. It knows there will never be a rainwater tap at the kitchen sink while it rules the bench.
For some reason known only to the old white enamel rainwater jug, it manages to keep itself frog-free. Anyone who has endured a summer at Moble will understand how remarkable this is. Frogs and Moble go hand in hand and if we’re lucky enough to have a shower of rain, the resident frog chorus inside the house is deafening. Miss Boodles reminded me last night of the trauma she still feels from the boiled frog water coffee I made her one morning. She couldn’t work out why her coffee was so frothy and my offhand comment about a special cappuccino did not placate her. She is suspicious like that. Further investigations revealed the kettle had been taken over by brown frogs, something that the old white enamel water jug would never condone.
I have an old coal rake I use in the garden here that is almost as important to my garden tasks as the water jug is in the kitchen. It is broad and flat, and is perfect for shifting large volumes of manure, raking up heavy duty rubbish and unsurpassable for mulch, both straw and flood. It will run along the ground underneath a pile without digging in and when it is full, I can only just lift it now. Like the jug, it was here when I was married, and I like to think it has a happier life now in the garden with me rather than shovelling dusty coal.
The big old wheelbarrow is another garden icon here. I think Mr.Moble found it in a second-hand shop once, discarded and disabled amongst the weeds. He presented it to me for my birthday one year with a new/old aeroplane tyre installed, surely the best tyre a wheelbarrow operator could hope for. This wheelbarrow is like the Magic Pudding, Mary Poppins or similar; it literally takes as much as a trailer and then some more and is so well balanced no load seems too heavy. The only small disadvantage is it is too wide for the bridge across the creek to the workshop, so cannot be used for general freight carrying. Fair enough too. Afterall, it is a garden wheelbarrow.
There are few real material treasures in your life. The ones I hold dear have no value in a monetary sense but are extremely valuable to me for their intrinsic fit for purpose attributes. They would have little or no appeal to anyone else. (On re-reading the above ramblings, you could also assume that my life treasures are invariably old). I cannot imagine anyone outside the family coveting our old white enamel rainwater jug. Yet all of us know when it is put down somewhere off piste, everything stops until it is found again and reverently returned to the rainwater tap.
Enjoy your treasures,
The Moble Gardener