I've spent some time looking back this week, for various reasons. My oldest friend came round with a packet of letters she had found in her loft, written by me to her, and spanning some 35 years of our friendship. Some of the letters went back to my first year at university (one made me cry), others covered the time when I was traveling the land a truant girl chasing smoke in the lanes. Here I am with the truant boy a few months after we set off, me in my Liberty print dress.
Those letters tell the story of the animals we had, the kindness of strangers, selling cabbages and holly wreaths from our horse drawn cart, cooking on an open fire and how snug it was inside with the oil lamps lit and the Queen stove burning, how we made and sold clothes pegs for 20p a dozen, how useless I was at calling at houses for scrap metal and rags, buying my rooster shaped tea pot and new china bowl. The letters documented adventures as well as anxieties about making our way up country again through unknown places. I'd remembered the happy times more than the worries.
Only a few material things remain - the letters, some photos, the tea pot and bowl, this Liberty print dress and another one I sewed by hand. If you are quick you can hear me talking about it, very briefly, on last Thursday's Woman's Hour (about 10 minutes into the programme, just after Justine Picardie talking about Coco Chanel.) My 15 seconds of fame.