Virginia Barton

31 March 2017: Things old and new


31 March 2017


So there’s nothing new under the sun, eh? However, there are a dozen new uses for old things, are there not?

7690fc5f99a539175f29bf926d98c05dOn Mother’s Day, which was the same day we were all discombobulated by the clocks changing, this particular mother was given a milk bottle and a lunch box – two presents that truly surprised me. In fact, I didn’t recognise the milk bottle until it was pointed out that it is now an object on trend. It took me back to Junior School when each of us was given, by courtesy of HM Government, our daily half-pint in just such a bottle, only rather smaller, with a paper lid and a paper straw. The same bottle is now a must-have for flowers, grasses, sticks or what have you.

Trollius, thistles, and little yellow feathery gorse-type blossoms are gracing my bottle, far more interesting than milk.


The lunch box was, in fact, a tiffin tier, each section packed with delectable eats including a large helping of my favourite jazzed-up spinach. It took a few minutes to connect this hi-tech version of a tiffin box with the ones I remember from our Good Old Days in Hong Kong. This modern one was a vivid pink, a colour much favoured out East these days – think “Hello Kitty”.

In the ‘Fifties and ‘Sixties, tiffin came in round bamboo lidded boxes, with the hot or cold food wrapped in leaves inside. Multiples of them were stacked and carried on poles over the shoulders; the carrier then broke into a sort of swinging gait that was almost a run. (I have him in mind exactly, but no means of drawing him for you…) Street vendors and restaurants prepared the tiffin boxes, employing an ever ready queue of men or women to deliver them in good time for a hot lunch.


I challenge you to devise an on trend object from at least one of the following items, thereby converting them to must haves:


The winner will be awarded a gaily-painted door stop made from three bricks.






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