Friday, October 29, 2010

oh bestill my beating heart!

oh-my-golly-goodness my booky friends.... you are NOT going to believe the following true tale.....

Guess where I've been and what I've been up to today.... do you give up?

I've been to Moruya - township of my daddy-darling's birth, source of the Sydney Harbour Bridge granite (another true tale), home of the creepy public toilet that scared the bejezus out of me as a littlun (also true) ... yep  I headed one whole hour north of Sams Creek in a convoy (2 vehicles makes a convoy doesn't it?) as I was about to collect a bundle of booky goodness..... but I'm getting ahead of myself in the general super-duper excitement of it all... let's rewind about 6 weeks shall we...

*brrrring-brrrring brrrrrring brrrrring*
"Hello - Ronnie's Sams Creek silly farm.... this is Ronnie speaking"

"oh, uh, yeah are you that book-making person in the Sustain article?"

(pause as brain is engaged)
"ah YES that's me"

"HI there, you don't know me, my name is Damien..... (and about now I'm thinking - this is all going to go pear-shaped and end in heavy breathing and phone slamming.....) My aunt Therese was a book binder and I was showing her your story (so now I'm thinking this is going to be can-my-aunty-come-for-a-visit...) My aunt has got this funny old press-thingy and we wondered if you'd be interested in it?" (so now I'm thinking 'funny-old-press-thingy?' do they mean a wooden flower press?)

"welllll Damien, what sort of press does your aunt have?"

and after a long and rather fruitless phone conversation, with Damien trying to describe something that I couldn't picture, I ended up giving the poor guy an email address and mentioned maybe he might like to send me a picture ..... and I figured that would be the end of the story...

a couple of days later the most extraordinary picture arrived in my inbox ....


what - the - heck - is - that - thing?

"my aunt says its a 'French-percussion-press' - she had it shipped out with her when she moved from France to Australia a couple of decades ago..... "

cue frantic google search

.... nope nothing much to be found .... except some hints and whispers... just enough to dash all hope that I could bring this beauty to the creek...

I consult my sad looking bank balance....

" dear damien... I love the look of your aunt's press - indeed I'm positively ACHING to give it a home, but I seriously don't think I can afford to pay what I suspect it may be worth...."


This has been our financial 'annus horribilis' - we've battled through the year surviving on less than the smell of an oily rag (sadly true.... but today I'm telling the happy true story....) I looked and FP and he looked at me.... we magicked up a figure - but is was so small and pitiful I couldn't bring myself to offer it to Therese for her lovely press


then came a call from Damien "look my aunt says, you sound like a nice book person and what do you think to..... (what for it..... its its its the magic figure!)"


but wait there's more

"of course she'd like for you to have ALL her book gear - does that sound ok?"



now I had to get Damien to ask his aunt 3 times  "are you SURE that figure is ok with you?"

fast forward to today.....

so there we were at Therese's gorgeous little home in Moruya, collecting the extraordinarily HEAVY percussion press and all her beautiful booky treasures (OK here's a tiny little peek at some of the collection - I'll do a better show and tell over the weekend)

I've just taken these shots quickly this afternoon so you could see some of the beauties - there's OODLES MORE - including a box full of small hand tools I started unpacking......


OMG the QUALITY of these - they are simply INCROOOODABLE

ooooh my head is getting dizzy again from all the hyperventilation

time for a lie down - as I contemplate the kindness of strangers....

French percussion press on Sams Creek verandah October 2010
(I truly am the luckiest girl in all this book-lovin' world)



  1. Oooohhhh... how fabulous! If anyone deserves the kindness of strangers I suspect it may be you Ronnie. What amazing things can happen in this old world. This calls for a really BIG show and tell.

  2. OMG Ronnie - that is fantabulous! I just love the whole thing - have serious book stuff-envy; but am so excited and thrilled for you! What a beautiful story oozing with kindness and happiness and filled with exciting futures. Oh me oh my -wow!

  3. oh wow WOW and you are one lucky person. if i wasn't so pleased that this fine equipment found such a good home, i'b be green with envy. may you use and honor it well!!!

  4. Oh dear I've come over all faint... I havent seen such a divine collection of bookmaking stuff for years! I agree with Velma - it's gone to such a great home that I'm only slightly green-tinged. Have fun!!! ... I look forward to seeing the resultsSara x

  5. thanks for the good vibes everyone.... I know that if things were reversed and I was reading that one of you guys had this sort of windfall I think I'd be momentarily turning all shades of lime/ fluro green!.... but I'd hope that I'd also be as gracious as all of you - I know I'm always pleased when I see bookbinding etc gear put to use, and not end up as some weird idea of interior decoration....

    I also hope I do the collection justice - I'll show more of the amazing stuff in future posts - right now we are madly trying to work out how to fit some of the haul into my little studio.... (and I of course keep patting the treasures lovingly... and pinching myself)

  6. I'm sorry, I just picked myself up from the floor where I've been lying in a dead faint. How lucky are you??!!

    I'm green, nay, I'm turquoise with envy. Did you get a board shear in the stash? If so, I'm going to go dark purple with envy.

    Congratulations! I have to come and see it all in person next time I visit the parentals.

  7. board shear? ummmmmm welllllll

    there is an amazing guillotine... (and I do mean amazing)

    and I've been trying to identify some of the other 'interesting' things (yes I will be posting more pics soon - and asking everyone to play 'name that tool' - so I can figure out what some of the bits and bobs are... today I tentatively opened the black garbage bag - to find a stash of scrumptious book leather!)

  8. Wow! I'm afraid I have no idea what half of this stuff is, but I'm thrilled to hear your story and delighted it has come to you. I'm sure the original owner feels comforted to know its going to someone who will treasure it appropriately. I await the "big show and tell"!

  9. How absolutely wonderful! No wonder you were swooning. Some things are just meant to be.


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx