Sunday, October 22, 2023

Orange Juicers and the Bloomsbury set

I grew up in a house that my father inherited from his Godmother, She'd inherited it from her Uncle via her mother and spent many years bedbound with MS. The end result was something of a time capsule with 80 odd years of accumulated stuff that ran the full spectrum from total junk to glittering treasure; I once found a gold half guinea in an old purse. I wore it for years as a pendant until it was stolen in a burglary.

Amongst the kitchenalia was an orange juicer - good for other citrus fruits too - that followed us to another house mostly as an ornament and then ended up being used by my stepmother in her hotel where it did a good 20 years of sterling service before the tray that catches the pips became badly corroded. I loved that juicer. It was easy to use and easy to clean and I've spent a good chunk of the last 30 years keeping an eye out for one. The only time I ever saw one was in a national trust property.

I had looked online from time to time, but not for a long time and then last week I saw Cressida Bell renovating exactly the same juicer - it had been her father's. Her post revealed the name (Instant No1) of my fabled juicer, that there's a small but loyal band of fellow fans who still have them, and when I lamented not being able to buy one she casually and kindly pointed out that you could get them on eBay. 

I've avoided the rabbit hole that is eBay as much as possible, but these were exceptional circumstances and whilst I was dithering Doug bought me a juicer. It arrived in good order a couple of days later, I gave it a good scrub, checked it worked (it does, and it's as good as I remember - no restoration needed), and now it's wrapped up again destined to make my Christmas magical.

The internet is a wonderful place sometimes - the date of my juicer is around 1934, and given that Vanessa Bell's grandaughter has her father's one it seems reasonable to speculate that both Vanessa and Virginia might have had them in their kitchens - that tenuous Bloomsbury connection is a cherry on top of my delight to have this gadget again for myself.

It's more than just an excellent juicer to me - it's memories from early childhood of the shape of the thing, and of holiday jobs preparing hotel breakfasts - part of the furniture of life. It's the luxury of lots more freshly squeezed orange juice which I have a bot on an obsession with, and is really going to improve my cocktail game. For a fairly humble object it's made me remarkably happy. 


1 comment:

  1. I like that connection you have with both your history and the Bloomsbury past - so nice to see something survive to be loved and used again. (Also Cressida Bell's patterns have given me quite a redecorating lust!)