Four objects sit to my left on the desk beside me whilst I write this, collected from their various places of safe keeping and display in my bedroom and precious to me more for their sentimental than monetary value; the best of things so often are.
The first, a small cigarette tin which I’m told my mum used to keep her chalks in at school. I like things in a particular place, sometimes in an intentional, seemingly haphazard arrangement reminiscent of an antique emporium filled with second-hand fripperies.
At one stage in my life I lived in higgledy piggledy house and the bedroom which I occupied was a later addition to the original space, squeezed in between the ground and first floor with the staircase wrapping round it. It was a cheap and cheerful living in a cupboard under the stairs just like Harry Potter. In my little room I could touch the ceiling with my hands above my head and just below ceiling height was a little shelf on which I kept all my favourite little items and books including my little red and gold cigarette tin.
Fond memories of this mildly impoverished stage in my life are still shared with my old housemate and friends that witnessed firsthand the eccentric details of the whole place. I see that little room, and relive moments of that time in my life often, the memories woven into stories of mad working hours, late nights and early mornings up to all sorts of capers.
The hip flask and silver match case were leaving presents from work colleagues and my darling friend A. a couple of years ago before I flew off to the other side of the world. Drinking paraphernalia made quite fitting gifts for our little work family unit, saying something quite telling about the way we passed our time on a day-to-day basis, and I carried these two keepsakes with me to Australia and back again.
Recent binge watching of the TV series ‘Peaky Blinders’ made me polish up my hipflask a few days ago after sighting a similar one being passed around by the 1920s mob of troublemakers and gorgeously stylish bad boys of Birmingham. Next time I’m out with A. I must remember to take it with me, top it up with something potent and share a wee nip together.
Finally, on the first day of postal service for the new year I received a belated Christmas present from K. all the way from Morocco. She knows how much I love to send and receive letters and must have read my mind from afar when working in Marrakesh because she sent me a beautiful silver letter opener. I love it. It’s just the sort of thing I would choose for myself and put it straight to use the following day to swish open a letter from Suzy.