Thursday, 30 January 2014

Helen's most treasured possessions

Having fewer things makes it easier to see what it is that we do value. I've been having a think and have come up with my top ten most treasured possessions (excluding photographs).

1) Our wedding rings - I saw a picture of a wedding ring with flowers engraved around the band and wondered if it would be possible to have my favourite animal - the dragonfly on ours. Smooch rings were very obliging and the result was better than we could have hoped for.

2) The 'moose tin' - this isn't really a tin, so I'm not sure why that name has stuck, but it has. Ian and I were close friends for several years before we started dating. In 2005 he travelled one third of the way across the world, most of it on the Trans-Siberian railway. Before he left he asked if there was anything he could bring back for me. Jokingly I replied 'two moose and a bear'. Whilst in Russia he saw many little lacquered boxes in the shops and dutifully searched for one with a moose and bear on. Amazingly he found one on a side-street in Moscow and brought it back for me.

3) Wooden birds - These were carved by my grandfather Morris Edwards. I have many fond memories of looking at these on the fireplace while visiting my grandparents.

4) Mandolin - This belonged to my great grandmother (my father's mother's mother). It's a beautiful instrument in itself and especially so as I adore stringed instruments. In addition to the mandolin we also have 4 guitars, a harp and a violin in the house. I'm looking forward to having more time to learn to play them all (I even tuned the mandolin for the first time a few weeks ago).

5) The Animals of Farthing Wood - This was my favourite book when I was young. I could just as easily have chosen one of William Horwood's Duncton books, but there are six of those and I have more than one copy of several of them (so much for becoming a minimalist). If I could only keep one book this would have to be it.

As an aside, does anyone else have more than one copy of a book? I used to have several (e.g., one paperback of the wind in the willows and another big hardback with lots of illustrations), but have been quite ruthless of late and got rid of most of my duplicates. The problem with the Duncton books is that I first read and owned them as paperbacks. In general I prefer hardbacks, but the hardbacks that I have of the Duncton books are second-hand and don't have as pretty covers as the paperbacks.

6) Pastel drawing - This one was a very difficult decision. I wanted to include some art by my father, but was torn between this pastel drawing and a little ceramic pot which he painted with butterflies and flowers.

7) Similarly I wanted to include something that I had created on the list. I briefly considered my PhD thesis, but to be honest if the house was burning down it wouldn't be something that I'd go for! Instead I chose a drawing that I copied from a print on a T-shirt whilst at University. Although I'm pleased with it I'd like to replace this entry on my list in the near future. I haven't drawn or painted anything in years, but for the last couple of years have fallen for (but not bought) many different paintings of hares. I would really like to do one myself, but suspect that it will take a lot of practice and many attempts before I come up with something I'm happy with.

8) Wooden turtle - Although carved in Indonesia, this was bought from the island of Baros in the Maldives whilst we were on our honeymoon. We gazed at in the gift shop for several days before buying it on my birthday. We saw many beautiful creatures whilst snorkeling on the coral reefs off Baros and on our last day were rewarded with the sight of two turtles.

9) Glass snail - We saw this in the window of a shop right next to the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Unfortunately the shop wasn't open and we were only in Venice for one more night, but on our final morning Ian ran across Venice to buy it for me before we were due to catch our bus to the airport.

10) Pottery - Made by native American Indian artists. We bought these at Furnace Creek in the heart of Death Valley, California during what was probably my favourite holiday of all time - a road trip through California, Arizona and Nevada with Ian in 2007. From a purely aesthetic point of view they're my favourite ornaments.

I'd be very interested to know what your most treasured possessions are and why?


  1. I'll have to comment again on my favourite possessions (or perhaps do my own blog posting) but a couple of other comments on this post.
    Firstly, I'm really honoured to have one of my pastels included in your ten. I find it remarkable to think that I'm not just 'Dad' but also part of the family's history and ancestry. In a way it's a sobering thought.
    Secondly, I have a number of your original paintings and artwork from your sixth form days if you ever want to look through them and pick some you'd like to keep (or scan in). But don't let that put you off doing your hare. I'm keen to get my paints and pencils out again one day. I've become fascinated by the idea of drawing the female form - perhaps a bit late in life :-) I've drawn men's faces but I never had much success with women's faces and wonder if I'd have more with their bodies.
    I think a lot of people would put their wedding rings on the list but yours are something so very special.
    I have more than one copy of a few books. In some cases it's a 'working copy' with notes in and a clean copy. I also have a couple that I have read initially as paperback and have a fondness for that edition whilst also having a posher hardback one. And I have a couple that are signed copies rather than the copy I actually read. I can justify all of those to myself but I can't really justify having Perry Pratchett's Discworld series in both hardback and paperback - though I've now stopped collecting the paperbacks I have a box full of the first twenty or so...). I should really get rid of those.

    1. 'Part of the family's history' - I agree that it is sobering and many of our treasured possessions are things that have been created by family members (those mentioned above, but also the family embroidery and Martin Elliott's pictures / writings). I would like to have created more things in my life and shall try to make an effort to do so.

      Thank you for the offer regarding my art. I can't remember what you have, but then I can't remember what I've kept either.

      I'd love to find out about your most treasured possessions sometime.

  2. One of the things about getting older is that more and more possessions have a special meaning for one. They are not necessarily possessions one likes or wants but which one keeps for the memory or the purely sentimental value. Having said that I also have possessions - pictures and pottery - which I keep simply because I derive great pleasure from looking at them and CDs which I get pleasure from listening to.

    1. I too treasure things like favourite cds, but I guess for this blog I was thinking of things that are in my mind 'irreplaceable'.