Shaken Not Stirred

Friday, when I was leaving to take the middle Blandings boy to basketball practice, Mr. B asked me if I could stop at the hardware store and pick up more Christmas lights. Of course. Be right back.

Two hours later I arrived, lights in hand. "I got side tracked." I had made a quick stop at Mission Road Antique Mall. There had been some vintage seltzer bottles at Suzanne Cooper's booth at the amazingly low low price of $38. I'd seen them last week and could not get them out of my head.

I ran like a crazy reality show contestant to her space at the back of the mall. Still there. Hooray. As I meandered back to the front I saw two vintage shakers, both at great prices, and I thought they might all be a happy trio, a merry menage. Arms full (the seltzer bottle is heavy) I made my way back to the desk. "Are you finished shopping?" Well, come to think of it, maybe not.

While browsing, I happened upon a charming ruby glass shaker and matching glasses. As I lifted the shaker from the shelf it slipped from my grasp and crashed to a million pieces at my feet. The base remained, presenting a scary and jagged edge. I gathered as many shards as I could and carried the corpse to the desk. I had a brief image of tripping on the stairs and impaling myself on the shaker, a flash of an unfortunate antique dealer having to tell my husband of my death by ruby glass. I can't help it; I'm wired that way.

Fortunately, my fate was nothing worse than having to stand at the desk and confess my clumsiness. The men behind the counter blanched when I explained that six glasses remained, orphaned, no longer a "set" but just six small glasses desperate for a home. I made amends, but we all felt the despair of the tragic situation.

There was nothing left to do but go home and mix myself a good strong drink.

I hate to talk money, but there was one more seltzer bottle at Suzanne's booth when I was there; it may be there still if you are interested. Images of London-based architect and designer Philip Wagner's Sussex cottage from the Perfect English Cottage by Ros Byam Shaw; photography by Jan Baldwin. Look closely and you will see that Wagner has quite a collection of shakers and seltzer bottles.

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