Friday, 26 August 2011

Keep calm and carry on

I love boxes and tins and things that you can put things in - and it keeps me amused no end to look into all those boxes and tins looking for specific stuff...

Anyway, I was flicking through an English mag - can't remember which one, it was a crafty one - and I came across a picture of a little tin, marked 'first aid kit' with the 'KEEP CALM and CARRY ON' graphic on it.  This sentiment, with many, many variations (some quite rude, but funny) is all over the place, on tea towels, posters etc, but I'd never seen it on a tin before.

Being the staunch Anglophile that I am, I had to have me one of these tins - but John Lewis doesn't mail to Australia.  Lucky for me I have 3 gorgeous sisters in Britain, and Heather came to my rescue.  The tin arrived on wednesday (well, 5 tins arrived on wednesday - I'm spreading the joy!) and it's exactly what I was expecting - with a seriously fun bonus.......all the bandaids (plasters) are printed with the same sentiment - joy, oh joy!!

On the back of the tin, there's information about how this image came about.  The original phrase was part of the British Government's Ministry of Information propaganda agenda in 1939 when Britain was on the brink of war.  The idea was to reassure the population they would be defended at all costs - "keep calm, carry on with what you're doing, we'll be fine".  This theme was also continued in war time movies; "Mrs Miniver", starring Greer Garson springs to mind (and no, I'm not that old - it's just my mum loved Greer Garson!).

If you look at it another way, the phrase is also a bit of an oxymoron - 'keep calm' and 'carry on' - two diametrically opposed directions.......maybe this is why the poster wasn't ever offically used.  Whatever the reason, the back of the tin goes on to explain that the image was all but lost except a crumpled copy of the poster was found by chance amongst a pile of dusty old books in Northumberland many years later, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This tin will sit in my sewing room, urging me to keep going - and will attend to my wounds should I get attacked by pins, scissors or the rotary cutter.........(fade out to the strains of 'Land of hope and glory....)


  1. how cool are those bandaids!!! I want some too, but like you I am in Oz. I did see some that had pictures of Jesus and the words "Jesus Heals" which was kind of fun. I love your fws blocks btw.

  2. Jealous! My son's headed to London in a couple of weeks--maybe he can snag one for me? I'm sending him this photo right now. Where did Heather buy this?

    Elizabeth E.


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