An offcut from the Story Kettle

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Copyright © 2010, Michael M Wayman

I've been to Liechtenstein once, many years ago, I drove around and saw some things, probably just to see if it existed. I've bought silk ties in Andorra and I've been to San Marino, Luxembourg, and Vatican City. I've probably driven through Monaco, I've been close to Kaliningrad, and I've seen Gibraltar from the air.

When you travel a bit, you bring back memories, if you're stupid you bring back things, yes, the ghastly souvenirs. You could bring back usable things like English mustard or Spanish ham or Rode Grütt or Swiss petrol, but no, if you don't, your friends and your relatives will. You will have dust collectors for your shelves, you must. You can hide them in cupboards or display them in a vitrine, but you must have a coloured glass fish, a duck made of sunflower seeds and a beer mug made of some poisonous metal.

I know someone who always steals a towel from every hotel, only nice towels with the hotel's name on it. I prefer to do something positive. That hotel corridor needs that delightful orange glass bowl from the Black Forest. That hotel breakfast room needs some beautiful fake brass candlesticks. And where can I leave that pretty milk jug? But never in my hotel room.

Many years ago I received ten copies, yes, ten the same, of a “professional”, technical magazine, very glossy. So “professional” and so glossy that it cost nothing. Such magazines are sent to selected “professionals” free of charge, there is no price on the front. I took them straight to the local W.H. Smiths and put them on the shelves with the other magazines.

Yesterday I was looking for some extra plates, I had guests in the house. I found in one cupboard a painted plate, just one. It was not kitschy, no, awful if not hideous. It showed beautifully painted views from the lovely state of Liechtenstein.

I wonder how that got there.