Soon I shall be able to tell you about the places we have seen - but at present the photographs are still in the camera and in need of sorting out, so that will have to be next week's job as I am still suffering from jet-lag and the effects of air-conditioning.
Meanwhile, Jinksy of Napple Notes posted an interesting account about keepsakes, ending with a lovely little poem (she is so good at conjuring up good poems at the drop of a hat), and last evening when I was too tired to do anything but sit in an armchair, I began to think about my keepsakes. Again, photoghraphing them is out as my camera is full of holiday shots - so this post will tell you about some of my precious keepsakes and I am afraid you will have to imagine them rather than see them.
But what an interesting subject and what food for thought. I think we all have a collection of bits and pieces of no monetary value but very precious because of their association. Jinksy was speculating on what would happen to them when we are gone - they will have no meaning to anyone else and will probably get thrown away. If that is so, then is it such a tragedy - they have been precious memorabilia to us - mine have certainly sustained me through crises, and I am sure yours have too. Here are some of mine: A small, oval tin with the words "Pastiglie di cioccolata" written in blue on the top. I keep my sewing needles and bodkins in it. The story behind it? One October twenty odd years ago, quite by chance we found ourselves in Venice at the same time as some friends. My birthday is in October and happened while we were there.
For a birthday treat we all four went to La Fenice to see the Shanghai Opera and at the end of the performance my friend, P, gave me this little tin of chocolate pastilles for my birthday. Why is it so precious? About two years later P decided she no longer wished to live and took her own life. She was such a jolly, gentle lady and each time I look for a sewing needle I am reminded of her. A tiny wooden cross roughly carved, which stands on my mantelpiece. The story behind it? When my brother was seventeen he went to Eire for the weekend with some friends and he brought back the cross (made from Irish bog oak) as a present for my mother. I was very close to my brother. He fought in Europe throughout the Second World War, was at Dunkirk and later at the relief of Belsen. Through all that time he had a photograph of me in his jacket pocket - I have it now, very tattered and war-worn. He died in 1986 ; this little cross, given to me by his widow (now in her late eighties) ,reminds me of him daily. A silver thimble, which belonged to my mother, sits in my sewing box - I use no other, although she had tiny fingers and the thimble is rather small for me. My father's sisters were either tailoresses or milliners and so, obviously, very good at sewing. My mother was hopeless and also had a complex about her inadequacy in that field. She discouraged us from sewing and knitting, implying that we would never be as good as our aunts were, so we were best to leave it alone. A small mother-of-pearl-handled penknife which spent its entire life in my father's pocket until he died, when it came into my possession. It sharpened countless pencils, whittled bits of stalk to make pea-shooters or catapults, cut apples in half to share when we were out on walks and came across an apple tree - whenever we needed a knife there was always Dad's penknife. Since his death it has become blunt and is unused, but it sits in my bedside drawer and I see it every day. Also in that drawer is a piece of wood with the initials DJR cut out of wood and nailed on to it. This is one of the first (and almost the only) things my son made in woodwork. His father treasured it greatly and always kept it nearby - now it sits with the knife in my bedside drawer - very precious to me for a variety of reasons.
I could go on - but that is enough for now. There are flowers from special occasions, which I have pressed inside books; there are notes - like the first poem my son ever wrote, when he was about six. Do you have keepsakes? I am sure you do - it would be lovely to hear about them.