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Nutcrackers and drinking horns (and Hot Cross Buns)

We’re a month into autumn and it’s the Easter long weekend, hurray for four days off! This time of year usually heralds cooler weather and rain, and while we had a grey day and some showers yesterday, the sun refuses to go behind the clouds for too long.

It’s been a really lovely weekend just relaxing at home and catching up on lots of writing, reading and afternoon snoozes!

Saturday we explored the Queensland Museum and Medieval Power: Symbols and Splendour. It was great! For me the most interesting treasures were the ones that showed people have always had a sense of humour, no matter what age they lived in.

A pair of nutcrackers were amazing – the end of the handles each had a face carved into them, so when they were together it looked like two lovers kissing. Further up the handles were dogs chasing a bird, and the nut-cracking part was the head of a mythical beast. The craftsmanship was just beautiful.

I also loved items like drinking horns and intricately decorated water vessels designed for washing hands at the beginning and end of a meal. It was a real kick imagining people sitting down at a table centuries and centuries ago, touching their lips to the horn and sipping wine, or washing their hands after a celebratory dinner.

And who were the craftsmen who made these objects? Who did they learn from? Was it a family trade, or did they begin an apprenticeship in their local village as a young man? Were there the occasional girls and women who broke with tradition and learned how to carve or cast a mold?

History, although filled with dark and horrendous events, can also be quite wonderful and offer these moments of light. I wonder if anyone will pick up an old glass of mine in the future, and imagine what type of person I was?

I wish I could tell them I am someone with a penchant for Hot Cross Buns, smothered with raspberry jam. Do you spread jam on your buns, or are you a melted butter kind of person?

However you take yours, I hope you have had an indulgent Easter break!

x Mel

*Medieval Power runs until April 10 at the Queensland Museum, South Brisbane.

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