This brass standard lamp was bought by my parents during their tour in Hong Kong, between 1964 and 1967. It's been used in all of the houses they've lived in ever since. It has been the light under which I read countless books, it was probably part of the scenery as I learned to read.
We girls (there were four of us) would, now and then, be required to clean it. Either as an attempt by my father to make us help and learn the value of chores, or as punishment for some misdemeanour or other. Cleaning it involved a tin of Brasso, a cloth to apply it and another soft cloth to rub it off and burnish the clean metal. It really was a chore. It took ages. My father used to get cross at the time it took us, and one of the expressions I heard more than once was 'you've only got two speeds - dead slow and stop'. It wasn't helpful. Probably more infuriating for him because of all the delaying and sighing that went into us doing any chore, because he was the overseer. As an adult, I get it and ask myself - punishment for whom?!