Your home is on fire – assuming all loved ones (people and animals) are safe, what five items would you save?
I saw this question asked somewhere the other day and thought it was interesting as, in practical terms, it would probably be passport, wallet, phone, car keys and a warm coat, but in terms of emotional connection and things I would be seriously distressed to lose – that choice would be very different. I’ve stretched a point in my choices somewhat, with multiple items appearing as one choice, as well as knowing I’d not be able to carry them all out in one go.
- The ring I was given for my 21st birthday. A chunky lump of gold, containing the impression of Indian goddess Lakshmi – this was a gift to my mother on her wedding day from her father’s business partner, and was worn by me during my teenage years. Whenever I flew back to boarding school, I had to present my hands to check I’d left the ring behind (and I always did) and only when I returned home for the holidays would it be placed upon my hands once more. I begged for it as my 21st gift only to receive a firm no … but the last thing I opened was a card in which my mother had written “… and your last gift is already on your finger”.
- Four watercolours my daughter painted and had framed for me. They’re very simple sketches, of flower stems, colour washed in muted shades of pink and green. She insisted on selecting the frames herself and I’ve had to admit her choice is spot on for they complement the paintings perfectly.
- The first quilt my daughter handmade for me – one small single-sized – which was produced during an art installation entitled Water – Colour. This event combined my daughter’s twin passions of environmental sustainability and textiles. One hundred metres of silk were dyed in an old laundry building and then made into 25 quilts. It is beautifully lightweight, and I often layer it on top of other bedlinen, keeping it close to my face.
- Another quilt my daughter handmade – this time a double – patchwork in navy and red tones and which gets thrown onto our bed when the weather first turns cold. I love to layer it on top of the white bedlinen I bought for myself as an indulgence when I first started to live alone, shortly after my 50th birthday. Those years I spent on my own in my little flat were some of the happiest ever, despite including the year I was diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer.
- The little bookcase/bureau that my dear friend banjoed (slang for handpainted and decoupaged) for me. It was an item she had knocking around in her spare room but had decided she’d no room for it. I admired it only to have her offer it to me. Apart from telling her which room I planned to keep it in, she made all the other decorative choices herself, with me and my taste in mind. It’s an absolutely beautiful one-off piece, and I truly love it.
What would your five items be?
© Debra Carey, 2020