I kept them far longer than I should have done.
They speak to me of comfort and they were and are a comfort.
I like the pair of them.
They are a couple of witchy old grannies in wing-chairs with gin-laced cups of tea, and they are laughing girls, and they are coolly clever, and they are generous, and they might have tears stitched into them too, and spilt things, and the stains and stories of the years and perfect imperfections and things unraveled and knit together and bargains and lost things. And they also have space in them, the space regained when a drawer or a cupboard is opened then closed again, and the space cleared by gathering things together,the space for a breath and for a nice sit down. The space to look at things, the room to divide the comfort from the clutter, to lay out the small pieces of loveliness.
And when I look at them each time they are a bit different, and I realise that some bits I had forgotten and some bits I had imagined.
And they are an inspiration for how to make work together, and how to make work because you want to, and how to make something that is kind, and how to be friends.
Monday morning. Epiphany. Grey and cold and wind and rain, and then, sometimes, a slanting spear of low sunshine. Outside are hawthorn berries. Inside, by me as I write, a box of baubles. They came down this morning, first thing; plucked gently, like berries, from a few silvered branches.
I do not know where they came from but I have had them for as long as I remember. I'd like to think they belonged to one of my grandmothers. I'd like to think they were Queenie's, my formidable great grandmother, and hung each year in her ticking parlour. But I have no memory of them there, or in anyone else's house, or that I found or bought them anywhere. They just are.
They just are, every year. Lovely and useless. Or rather their use, their function, is only to be; to hang there and be lovely, glowing with colours that I have no names for, colours that nothing else has; hanging there, dangling there, lovely. They are almost impossible, made of silvered glass so fine it could shatter with a sigh.
And now they sit snug in their box, parted like apples to last until the next time, waiting only for the lid and the long year to pass, and then I will take them out again and hang them on the branches.
MIKE NICHOLSON (Collection)
|© 2013 Mike Nicholson|
© 2013 Mike Nicholson
LINDA NEWINGTON (Inheritance)
BETTY BRIGHT (Souvenir)
Whilst out gardening I got sidetracked by a bottle sticking out of the grass, and proceeded to dig. An old lemonade bottle appeared uncovering enough plastic curtains to fill a bin bag, fishing reels, a deck of cards, an old book translated from English to danish, red lino flooring, more bottles and jam jars – still with lids, some with contents, and when I got as far as the edge of an old wood stove I stopped. This was, like the rest, just below the surface in an area 2m2. That why the grass has always been boggy there.
This is part of our inheritance, not only do we have the cabin to cherish, we also have a garden full of someone else's rubbish, but due to the delight of discovery it has become treasure. A souvenir of the past. One ugly broken vase I will return to the shelves in the cabin. Taking it in full cycle.
I stopped digging because I wanted to save some for later.
LUCY MAY SCHOFIELD (Inheritance)
It is frayed, inconsistently pleated, tatty and a rotten illuminator of light. It is a post-war green chiffon with mustard fringing, never quite sitting square atop its wooden base. It topples easily, the wires exposed, but is a constant fixture in all my moving. It reminds me who I am.
It's all I took from her house when she died. My inheritance. My souvenir. Made by my mum's mum (Mary), an unrivalled warmer of souls in a tender effort to emulate my dad's mums (Muriel)natural talent for making.
She (Mary) taught me, not how to make lampshades, but how to keep my heart lit when it was all very dark.
Sunbeam Mix Maker.
TRACY TOMLINSON (Utensil)
DR EMMA POWELL (Table setting)
Moving downstairs there is an odd collection on the dining table. This is a space normally reserved as a temporary 'office' for my partner (even though he has his own, chilly, space at the top of the house), for eating or for video-chatting with our daughter who is at University.