Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday 55-No Way to Treat a Queen.

A craftsman hammers gold into a cup.
A queen sips her wine in luxury.
Conquering armies plunder the riches
to deposit in different storehouses.
The cup descends through countless obscure generations
until it finds its way to an old man
who brings it as a plaything for his grandson.
BBs ping off a regal nose.

I love the show "Antiques Roadshow." I hardly ever get to watch it because no one else in my family enjoys it. I will admit I get a perverse joy out of some smug socialite insisting her china once belonged to Napoleon and Josephine only to have the appraiser flip over a dish and point out the evidence that it was made in Japan in the 1930s. By the same token, I also love to see someone bring in an old item they either found at a yard sale for a $15 or that has been a cherished part of family lore but never recognized as monetarily valuable only to have the appraisers nearly die of heart failure at the rarity, value, condition, significance, and magnificence of said item. So, I got a kick out of this story, which is where I lifted the above picture from. A 70 year old British man decided to have his childhood "toy" appraised. Now it is expected to fetch nearly $1 million (US) at auction. He confesses to having used it for target practice with an air pellet gun.

I like looking at old things and imagining the life they had in all the generations before they came into my awareness. Who drank from this cup? Who was it made for? What sorts of political intrigues may have been hatched during dinners where it was used? Or what lover's secrets were exchanged as it passed from one set of hands to another? Was it a gift received with joy? Was it something looted by invaders? Give me a chapter of the story you think this cup has.


James Goodman, Author said...


James Goodman, Author said...

ok, now I'll go back and read. :D

James Goodman, Author said...

Cool 55, Lime.

Wow, a million dollar target. :D I would freak out if I found out my childhood toy was worth that much.

furiousBall said...

Peter Gibbons: What would you do if you had a million dollars?
Lawrence: I'll tell you what I'd do, man: two chicks at the same time, man.
Peter Gibbons: That's it? If you had a million dollars, you'd do two chicks at the same time?
Lawrence: Damn straight. I always wanted to do that, man. And I think if I were a millionaire I could hook that up, too; 'cause chicks dig dudes with money.
Peter Gibbons: Well, not all chicks.
Lawrence: Well, the type of chicks that'd double up on a dude like me do.
Peter Gibbons: Good point.
Lawrence: Well, what about you now? what would you do?
Peter Gibbons: Besides two chicks at the same time?
Lawrence: Well, yeah.

lime said...

james, congrats on your yahtzee ;) yeah crazy huh? i can guarantee none of my toys are million dolar doodads.

furiousball, i LOVE that scene!

Seamus said...

Ha! The million dollar BB target! Does make you wonder who might have sipped from that cup!

San said...

I always enjoy your 55. And your reflections on the 55. We have several pieces of old furniture that we bought when the kids were small and we were needing to furnish as cheaply as possible. None are fine antiques, but their unknown history fascinates me too. I love living with old stuff. (Good thing, because we still try to furnish as reasonably as possible.)

My trained eye tells me this was a toothbrush holder for Richard III.

lecram said...

Antiques Roadshow... when the bottom line is revealed... it's the expressions by the owners that are priceless.

Wonderful 55!


NYD said...

Why would a boy want to shoot at a cu p with a BB gun when there must've been plenty of bottles and small animals around.

Good thing he was a crook shot.

ciara said...

when i saw that story the other day, i thought, how cute that he used to shoot bbs off of it and now to find it's worth a fortune.

your 55 captured it so perfectly. all the junk i seem to hoard and haul around isn't worth squat either, yet i can't seem to get rid of it. i need help. ha ha

Akelamalu said...

I love that programme too, especially when someone is genuinely surprised to find that they do indeed have a treasure!

You told that story so well in 55 words. :)

Phain said...

I don't have many treasures from my own childhood - maybe enough stuff to fill two "case of paper" boxes. Certainly nothing like this cup. I would have probably used it to hold toothbrushes or ink pens!

And...since the Friday5 website's been down for a while - I decided to post my VERY FIRST FRIDAY 55. I steal your memes, so it's only appropriate that I steal this too :)

lime said...

seamus, i just can't help but wonder

san, thanks for the kind words. if that furniture could talk eh?

lecram, yeah, that's the money shot, seeing the gasp whether it's in complete disappointment or in utter delight

nyd, i am willing to bet the maker of the cup never envisioned it being used for target practice

ciara, oof, i need to de-clutter as well!

akelamalu, it's a fun show! and thanks:)

phain, you go right ahead and steal this all you want. happy to have you play along. you checked g-man's place and it's not working?

Suldog said...

I like the show, too. I always watch in hopes that they'll show something I have and say "We're looking for the only other one of these flibbertyjibbits, and it's worth 20 billion dollars!"

No such luck, so far.

Fred said...

They have a version of this show in the U.K. The difference is I believed them when they said their antique passed through Marie Antoinette's hand.

AndyT13 said...

Teh problem with having two chicks at the same time is that after you have it a few times you begin to fantasize about THREE...and so on and so gets harder and harder (pardon the pun) to feed the habit.

The cup...I love that story too... and I too wondered abut all it had been through. What cuckolded king was poisoned with it so the queen's lover could marry her and suceed to the throne?

Mona said...

I only hope that James does not make that cup belong to a dracula king who drank human blood in that cup!

I LOVE that cup Lime! But I do not wish it was mine...

When you wish that something or someone was yours you are actually wishing for pain...

Kathryn said...

Dang it! Why can't any of my childhood toys be worth that much?

M said...

oh my. that is a fantastic story. hey, you can come over to my house to watch Antigues road show but my tv is small and it sits on the floor in a room with an old futon. i do this to try to discourage myself from watching too much tv. (ahem.)

ps all is right with the world...james is the first commentor today!

M said...

antiques with a fingers are dylexic and get g's and q's mixed up!

G-Man said...

I loved that cup story!
I read it on Yahoo yesterday and about shit...
Your 55 was awesome!!
A great example of turning news into ART!!! hahaha...xox

Pauline said...

Quick visit between 500 things to do this minute...great 55 Lime!

airplanejayne said...

Do you love me?

yes, darling.

Will you love me forever?

yes, darling.

Even when I'm old and ugly?

You will never be old, so you will never be ugly.

But without you, I shall be lonely.

Then I shall be the ribbon in your hair, and we shall never part.

Then kiss me, darling, I am ready.

And in the blink of an eye (or was it the flash of a kiss?) the Lovers disappeared, leaving only this cup.

RennyBA said...

Great one - I do love your curiousety - when I saw the picture, I was wondering the same.

Wishing you a great end to your week :-)

Anonymous said...

I love doing the same with houses...especially the old farm houses around here that are dilapidated and vacant, their fields now homes to massively obnoxious McMansions. There had to be a family in each of those houses. What stories are now lost? What was the joy, the sadness, the holidays, the triumphs, the defeats behind the now decaying walls?

smarmoofus said...

*wistful sigh* None of my childhood toys is worth a million dollars, either. If only. I could happily spend a million dollars. Great 55!


Palm Springs Savant said...

I like Antiques many people give me grief about watching it!

Rob said...

An interesting anecdote about the cup, dating back centuries to when it was still in the hands of the original owner(s). It seems the cup was made at the behest of a powerful king as a gift for his firstborn son who would succeed him on the throne. The king's visage, captured in burnished gold overlaying the brass vessel, looked out in all directions -- symbolizing the king's dominance over all he surveyed.

Now, being a crown prince certainly has its perks and the owner of the cup enjoyed more than his share growing up in the king's household. As he entered into adulthood however, even the endless amusement made available to one of his stature and privilege became a bit mundane at times. Trained as a soldier, the young prince rose through the ranks and soon commanded all of the king's army. Under his authority, the reach of the kingdom grew well beyond previous borders and new lands were added to the vast empire. The warrior prince even took a bride, a daughter of one of the rulers of a conquered land and she soon bore him a son -- now third in line to the throne after the king and the crown prince.

For all his warlike tendencies, the prince could be charming and kind at times. In those moments, his princess bride actually tried to overlook the fact that he had conquered her homeland and sent her father into exile in a faraway place.

At other times, however, the prince exhibited his worst qualities as a brute and a bully and someone used to having his own way. As time went on and it appeared that the king might live a very long life -- hence denying the prince access to the throne for many years to come -- the periods of time when the prince was loutish and vile and vulgar seemed to come around more often and last longer. He took to spending more and more time guzzling stout ale with his military subordinates and having his way with the lusty wenches he kept around for his amusement and carnal pleasure.

The princess would dread the nights he would come staggering into her royal bedchamber after hours of drunken debauchery and demand that she submit to his heartless, debased advances. Stripped of her acouterments and dignity, she would lie there lifelessly as he pounded away at her without feeling or concern for anything but his own lustful urges.

On such night he was in a particularly foul mood and the assult on her trembling, defenseless body seemed to be unending. She tried to block out what was happening to her and instead focused on their young son, the one truly joyful thing in her life these days. As her brute of a husband had his way with her, she became vaguely aware of his ranting about something between his guttural grunts and labored breathing... something about her leaving stale mead in his royal cup -- warm and flat and vile to taste except that he was so thirsty he had to drink it anyway... and she'd best not let it happen again or even she would feel the royal wrath usually reserved for mere commoners.

It was the sudden realization of what he was droning on about that took her back to earlier in the day, when she was taking care on their son, now nearly three years old. Recalling how she was determined to teach him to be a proper young man and the time was past due when he should have been what we would now call "potty trained", she finally came upon an idea that seemed to resonate (so to speak) with him. She had appealed to his maleness, his competitive nature, his love of making a game of everything. That's when she discovered that using a "target" and challenging her young son to "hit the bullseye" with his golden stream was the perfect enticement to get him to finally relieve himself like a "big boy". The "royal cup" -- with it's shiny exterior and brassy construction --provided the perfect enticement to catch the boy prince's attention and get him to really try hard to empty the contents of his bladder into the "target". Oh how the two of them had laughed and clapped with glee when the lad managed to barely spill a drop once he realized the goal of the game and what a satisfying sound the stream of steaming liquid made when it hit the sides of the shiny cup!

The princess made a mental note to herself that she would just need to remember to empty the contents of the cup in the future before her husband came home.

Or maybe not.


Anonymous said...

I like that show, too - very entertaining.

KB said...

I've never seen the show but I'll give it a look next time. Love this!

Maddy said...

I haven't watched that for probably 25 years either!
Best wishes