Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Travel + Life Abroad

The Villeroy & Boch Colander Incident

I can be as sentimental, positive, free spirited and open-to-the-world as I like, but the truth is, this moving across the country malarkey is quite stressful. As I have learnt, as the years go by, I am someone who internalises stress. Consequently I don’t tend to consider how much I may or may not be under until I have an almighty moment of complete irrationality which has proven to be the conventional indication all is not particularly good in my hood. I had one such moment yesterday and as I lay in bed with a glass of wine and reflected on my behaviour, I decided the only explanation for such a starkly out of character ‘moment’ (really, 3-4 hours) was my old pal, sublimated stress.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to a furniture shop with Silke to investigate monster-wardrobes and stock up on some kitchen essentials like champagne glasses. Whilst perusing the kitchenware, I came across a colander, a Villeroy & Boch colander no less, so guaranteed quality and craftsmanship. A lovely, heavy, white colander with a pattern of fruits and flowers dancing upon it. It looked like the kind of colander that has been passed down through the generations, affording the pasta drained within it, the taste of love and home cookery. As far as colanders go, it was a sensation.

I decided I had to have it. I even said those words to Silks, ‘I have to have it’ and I have never ‘had to have’ a colander in my life. Perfume, regularly. Shoes, of course – why else do I have a pair of 15 centimetre, Japanese inspired, wooden wedges in my closet that I actually physically cannot wear because my ankles give way every time I take a step? Books, all the time. A colander? Never. I don’t even eat enough pasta to warrant having anything above and beyond a run of the mill, 3€ number purchased from the kitschest of stores, Nanu Nana. But there I was, seduced by the notion of draining pasta in that very colander. Seduced by how much it said about me, as a person; sweet, flirtatious, fun, vintage, stylish, appreciative of fine cookware. There I was, having to have a colander.

Later that evening, SG, aware I had been to a furniture store to check out wardrobes and other such things, called me on Skype. He asked me how my expedition was and I said, ‘wonderful, I bought a colander!’ He expressed about as much enthusiasm as one can we expected to express, if one is being expected to express something by a rational person, and I told him, ‘wait a minute, I will show you!’  And so I pulled the colander out of its box and thrust it at the camera and then peered around it so I could gauge SG’s reaction. He looked mildly bewildered – I think the first thing he copped an eyeful of was a dancing pansy – and then caught my eye and said, ‘wow, cool.’ I said, ‘isn’t it beautiful! It is so lovely and floral …’ and SG said, ‘just like the rest of our kitchen.’

It was all it took. Stung, I withdrew the colander from the camera and narrowed my eyes at the screen. ‘I am hanging up now,’ I said. SG realised the error of his ways too late and tried to backtrack, tried to muster the appropriate enthusiasm for the colander. But it was too late. I ended the Skype call. Furious, I re-boxed the colander and placed it lovingly with the other things I have impulse bought in recent months – 8 wine glasses, 10 tea cups, bright blue face washers, a wok – and sat back down in front of my computer. Opening Facebook chat with SG, I fired off the following message: YOU don’t HAVE to like the colander. I do. Just like you don’t have to like the wok or the wine glasses or the tea cups. I like them ALL.’

What followed was, essentially, an evening of sulking. I am not proud. I see the distinct lack of reason. I see the distinct presence of overreaction. I understand a floral colander may not awaken ones senses like it does my own and I understand SG should not have to fake enthusiasm for a floral colander if he doesn’t really feel like it. That’s cool.

Late last night, after I had cooled down, stopped sulking and accepted that the entire evening was a departure from my regular character, I emailed the girls at home. I told them I had flipped out over a Villeroy and Boch colander. Their laughter, which I could hear from the other side of the world, was the greatest de-stressor of them all.


  1. RANDOM NOMAD: Liv Hambrett, Australian Expat in Germany « The Displaced Nation

    29 February, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    […] assume you’d drain the cabbage in your Villeroy & Boch colander? I saw a photo of it on your blog — it’s wonderful! And now you may add a word or expression from the country where you […]

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    […] 18 months isn’t really a long time and really not deserved of celebrating (2 years … now that’s another story). But as someone who enjoys the process of taking stock and the lovely feeling of roundness that tidy blocks of time can provide, I am going to have a mini celebration anyway. In my new kitchen. With my new colander. […]

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