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Story Circle explores storytelling and creative writing. We explored the stories hidden inside our homes, sharing objects, photos, favourite clothes and gifts we had been given.

OBJECTS

THE WOODEN EGG by Liza Castellino

The ovoidal object in my possession was, I imagine, carved out of a branch that fell of a tree that could have grown by a village hut. A youth living nearby may have wanted to try out the penknife found on one of his walks. As the egg was gifted to me more than three decades ago, it’s unlikely the tools prevalent in the millennium could have been available then. The ovoid would have taken him days, weeks, and perhaps months to fashion to his satisfaction. I can’t think why the lad would have thought to shape it like he did. The fact remains that he took a lot of pains over it to keep it small so that it fits within my fist, to ensure its smoothness, and resemblance to a barrel with flattish tapered ends, but not flat enough to stand upright.

It occurs to me the youngster may have had a relative or friend who, either because they followed him everywhere and disturbed his concentration, or had an artistic trait, was the recipient of the gift when it was completed. Wanting to own a colourful object, they could have made dyes from plants, with which to paint it because the ovoid has horizontal bands of black, green, yellow, pink and red. Five of the broad bands have patterns within them and black lines separate the colours to make the object multicoloured and attractive.

At the first of my picnics as a working girl, I became friendly with two young men who had been friends since childhood. The younger of the two fancied me, mentioned he was in the Indian air force and was on leave from Bangalore (now Bengaluru) in south India, where he was stationed at the time. The first time he visited me at my parents’ home with his friend, they both made a good impression and I was permitted to go with them to the pictures, dances, Back Bay – a promenade by the Indian Ocean – and visit the area where reclaimed land was being developed and multi-storey buildings had reared their heads. Not long after, the younger man returned to Bangalore and when he was back in Bombay (now Mumbai) for Christmas with his family comprising parents, two brothers and three sisters, he gifted me the ovoid. It lay around on my chest of drawers in the one-room tenement my parents and I occupied, until I packed my belongings to sail for Nyasaland (now Malawi) in Central Africa on my marriage to somebody else, who swept me off my feet at age 18. With a family of my own, I at last found a use for the ovoid. It helped to darn the children’s holey socks! Now those same children have offspring of their own and I’m not required to darn socks any more, the object sits in my sewing kit as a reminder of the memorable times I had in my heyday on the Indian sub-continent. I do wonder from time to time how the years have treated the then young man from the Indian air force, whether he and his family still live in Mumbai or emigrated elsewhere, and what the daughter who has my name does for a living. Sadly, his childhood friend who kept in touch regularly over the years and brought me up to date with news of mutual friends in Mumbai, departed for his heavenly home in 2009. RIP.

HOMOTECH: HOMELINESS & TECHNO-TOYS by Martin Camden

Techno-Toys sought out by my ‘man with the child in his eyes’ loving father.

1. My childhood home for 18 years was a maisonette of 2 upper floors, with Auntie June’s family living in the ground floor maisonette below. June’s maisonette had the boring back garden, whereas my family had the interesting front garden with an open area with a swing attached to a tree, and slopes to run up and down, and bushes to run through, and trees to climb, and a beautiful lilac tree that smelt nice, and some beautifully irises and forget-me-nots, and dandelions, and dandelion clocks, and bluebells in the spring, and tiny wild strawberries, and a mint plant in a pot for to make mint sauce, and lumps of flint for making sparks!!

2. And my younger brother and I once kept a badminton rally going for over 1,000 shots!!

3. Then there were the techno-toys & hobbies!!

4. My father gave me a build yourself radio kit where I had resistors and diodes and capacitors and transistors to put together to make this lovely radio that actually worked!!

5. And my father bought me a large flying saucer with a gyroscope inside, where there was a handle to wind up the gyroscope to full speed, then the flying saucer would do all kinds of balancing tricks!!

6. Then there was my father’s sophisticated old camera which he gave me that was not at all automatic. You had to use a light meter, and choose the shutter aperture, the shutter speed, and focal depth like a real professional. And I kept this camera well into my adulthood!!

7. Then there were the real fires in real fireplaces with real chimneys that needed the occasional chimney sweep. And the best Christmas ever at Auntie Nora’s house with a warm room with a raging real fire, a massive golden brown turkey, and every conceivably kind of Christmas fare trimming!!

THE PINK PLASTIC HAIR BRUSH by Sue Evangelou
(assisted by her hairbrush)

Okay, I know I am not looking as smart as I used to. I’ve been round the block a time or two as they say. Once I was a subtle pink with brilliant white bristles. Did I have a pearly sheen? I might have done but I’m afraid I can’t remember. You see I was made a long, long time ago. Well, at least 55 years ago anyway. My memories are vague but I think I must have been born in the USA. I know I was made for a company called AVON as I have raised letters spelling that word out on my handle. Were the letters once painted gold? Maybe or possibly I am just having one of my flights of imagination. I have had to work hard all my life. Each day and sometimes more than once a day, I have brushed Sue’s hair. I am sure she won’t mind me telling you that when she first bought me her hair was very thick and a chestnut brown colour. The styles I have had to cope with! Short hair, long hair, permed hair, backcombed hair, pageboys, half up half down, a pixie cut (a bit of a mistake that one in my opinion) and many others. And don’t talk to me about the lacquer she used to spray on. It made my job even more difficult I can tell you. Then when her hair started to go grey quite early there were all those semi- permanent auburn and plum colours.

And my, how I have travelled. Sue would never leave me at home so I never got a well- earned rest. No, she took me wherever she went all over the world. Hot climates, cold climates. I even went to Machu Picchu in Peru in the early 1970s. Now that was an experience – we stayed up there one night in a hotel if that’s how you could describe it. The electricity generator was turned off at 10.00 p.m so I had to brush in the dark. The next morning Sue woke me up at dawn so I could make her presentable to explore the ruins before the first train from Cusco arrived. Mind you, there have been some moments of panic when Sue thought that she had forgotten to bring me or even worse that she had lost me. For some reason she doesn’t think that any other hairbrush can do as good a job as me. I’ve lost quite a lot of my bristles now but I’m not the only one. I don’t like to be mean but Sue’s once thick hair is thinner now and it’s turned a whitish grey but who am I to talk. My subtle pink has turned to dirty white. So, I am not the only one who is getting old but at least I am still wanted and loved and that really is all that matters.

THE CHRISTMAS CHAPEL by J.A. Lovelock

In thinking of writing about an object, my first thoughts turned to my Christmas Chapel. Under, let us call it ‘normal’ circumstances, I might not have chosen it, perhaps…I use the word ‘normal’ tentatively here. As we all know, we are living in times that are not considered to be ‘normal’. The Christmas Chapel. I cannot recall how long it has been in my home and part of the Christmas collection. At least ten years and possibly as much as twenty. If not more. I cannot even recall where I bought it. And I have never seen a second. Anywhere. The reason I would not have chosen the Christmas Chapel as something to write about is that it usually lives, for the best part of a year, on the top shelf of a wardrobe where all the old Christmas cards and tree decorations are kept. Out of sight, out of mind. As the Christmas season gets underway, I would take down the baubles, big and small ones, gold and red ones, out of their compartmental box and hang them on the Christmas tree. To finish off the decorating process I would switch on my Christmas Chapel and place it in the window of the living room. A delightful (and comforting) accompaniment to the sparkling Christmas lights. And every January, just before Twelfth Night, it would be put away and not see the light of day, for another year. For reasons I cannot fathom, I decided not to put the Chapel away at the end of the 2019 festive season. And hence the Chapel found its new home, on the bookshelf.

I have always loved my Chapel and especially when it is lit up. That fascinated me. The way it lights up with its different coloured lights. The bell tower has a green roof with a gold bauble at its zenith. All four sides of the tower have something on it. Two sides show the face of a clock, and the other two sides bear a cross. At the front of the tower, there is one light. It goes red when switched on. The roof of the chapel is partly covered in snow. There are ten windows on the chapel, three on either side, two at the rear and two at the entrance. At the rear, there is a brown door and above the door, there is a Christmas wreath. At the front of the chapel, the entrance, there is also a brown door with two knob handles. On the front façade, there are six lights and when they are switched on, they brighten in different colours. One white. Two yellow. Two green and a red light settle themselves on the door itself. There is also a Christmas wreath above the door. Three green steps lead up to the main door which is a nice contrast to the red-painted exterior of the Chapel. On either side of the steps, two large Christmas trees stand guard. Melting snow can be seen on the trees and the ground at the sides of the Chapel. In all the years I have had this Christmas Chapel, I have never looked at it this closely and taken in its characteristics. But looking at it now certainly brought a huge smile to my face and a chuckle to my throat, which was quite unexpected. The Christmas Chapel fits nicely into the Christmas spirit and brings me great comfort and joy beyond the Christmas season. And perhaps it had an inkling of what was to come in the year 2020. Perhaps…

THE WOODEN EGG by Liza Castellino

THE PINK PLASTIC HAIR BRUSH by Sue Evangelou

THE CHRISTMAS CHAPEL by J.A. Lovelock

PHOTOGRAPHS

MY MEMORABLE PHOTOGRAPH by Liza Castellino

It’s true photographs evoke memories: some glad – reliving momentarily the occasion when the snap was taken; some sad – especially if it’s a mortuary card; some good, when they help us recall thoughts of nature and appreciate the beautiful world we inhabit; some bad – particularly the ones I take, when the subject’s head is unintentionally cut off, or only the feet are visible; still others, indifferent. In this day and age folk are able to take selfies, besides taking snaps of people, places and things that are meaningful to them. The stacks of photographs I had in my possession are predominantly from days of yore: some in albums; others still with their negatives in envelopes from those Kodak and others that developed the films; yet others I inherited are loose in envelopes. My son has undertaken to digitize those in which the subjects are known to the family, so that the actual photos need not take up space, which is at a premium. Those in which the subjects are unknown to us can be discarded. The one photograph with which I would be loath to part is that taken in October/November 1997 by British School of Ballooning. It’s a reminder of husband Tony’s 70th birthday Champagne Balloon Flight and was taken by the pilot in mid-air. The exact date eludes me because the flight needed to be deferred a few times on account of the winds not being quite right on the days we were notified to save for it.

The delay was made worthwhile when we arrived en famille, at the designated site in Surrey one afternoon. We drove there in three cars with Owen, our youngest, leading the way with his recently acquired satnav. The family comprised Brett, Tony’s nephew from Canada who was visiting England at the time and made his headquarters with us, Amanda, Owen’s betrothed whom he married the following March, middle son Noel and his wife, Seeta, Mark, our eldest son still a bachelor then, Mariette, the eldest of our offspring and still single, Tony, my husband, and I. The only additional members missing in the photo are Erin whom Mark married in 2007 and India, their daughter now aged 12, as well as Zara, Noel’s & Seeta’s daughter soon to complete 18 years of age. An English family was the first to arrive at the field and we saw before us the basket resting on its side, with the silken sails in a heap on the ground in front of it. The pilot explained that the sails were to be disentangled and straightened on the ground, before a few of the passengers would be permitted to scramble into the basket, whose weight would right it. That’s when the rest of the passengers would get on board. When the joint families did as we were bade Seeta, Mariette and I were the first to get aboard; the others followed, and the pilot brought up the rear. We got airborne in the twinkling of an eye and it was thrilling to see the landscape stretch out before us. We drifted from east to west reliant on the prevailing winds, as we soared to maybe 5,000 feet. People, animals and trees beneath us could be likened to matchsticks. Trains, still recognizable, resembled toys, fields formed a patchwork quilt, dogs, with their keen sense of hearing looked up and barked. Everyone pointed in different directions calling our attention to Wembley stadium and London Eye in the distance, or places with which we were unfamiliar. We witnessed a glorious sunset, delighted in the sights before us and the sound of the balloon’s engine responsible for this momentous experience. Sadly, all good things come to an end, what goes up, must come down, and though we would have preferred for the flight to continue, we found ourselves floating towards the ground. The smooth landing at dusk was in an open field near a residential area. Illuminated by the street lights and those of neighbouring porch lights, champagne corks were heard popping and the male passengers handed around filled glasses of the nectar that we savoured as we sipped the bubbly, recalled the day’s excitement and made ready to return home. Those were the days when we were permitted to drink and drive!

THE FOUR YOUNGER SISTERS by Sue Evangelou

Four photos of four younger sisters sharing a silver- plated frame. All in their early twenties starting out to make their mark in the world.

First, my Grannie, born in Mansfield, December 1869, the youngest child of an Irish doctor. A studio photo taken by a Mansfield photographer, roses in hand and on her lap. She wears a dark silk dress and at its high neck is pinned a gold bar brooch with birds each end, a tiny heart suspended from the middle. A simple gold bangle round her left wrist. The only one of the four of us with blue eyes. Trained to be and worked as a domestic science teacher at a college in Nottingham. Her mother widowed, Grannie was living in a household of women of all ages and said she wasn’t going to sit around doing nothing whilst waiting for her older sisters to get married.
Second, my Mother, born in Mansfield, September, 1910, also the youngest child of a doctor, this time English. Wearing a jersey dress bound to be of her own making using the Singer sewing machine that was her 21st birthday present and that is still used by my older sister. Fine mid brown hair that still hadn’t turned grey in her nineties. She works as a shorthand typist at the Westminster Bank, Mansfield. All her spare money goes on flying lessons at Tollerton Aerodrome. She gained her Pilot’s licence. The first woman to do so in Nottinghamshire. She took Grannie up for a ride in a Gypsy Moth plane.

Third, myself, born in February, 1945 in the last months of the Second World War. The youngest child of a Mining Surveyor, who was in the Home Guard. I am also a shorthand typist. At the time of the photograph, I had made the big move to London, living at the Ada Lewis Hostel for Young Ladies and working at a branch of Scotland Yard. The photograph was taken on a Thursday night at Hammersmith Palais, a night when entrance was cheaper. I am sitting in a photo booth, smiling at something my friends have said and, without doubt, the strains of Joe Loss and his orchestra are playing in the background. I am wearing a black corduroy dress with frills tipping the three-quarter sleeves. I made this dress. My mother’s old prefect badge at my throat. Hair backcombed and lacquered by Denise, the trainee hairdresser who lives in the room next to mine at the Hostel. I wore the same dress to go and see the Beatles at Hammersmith Odeon that New Year’s Eve.
Fourth, my daughter born in London in March, 1984. My youngest and surviving child. The daughter of a Greek Cypriot who worked as a Bank Auditor. Dressed in a peacock green t shirt, a colour that suits her, with a matching patterned long skirt. Her thick long dark hair with a hint of gold when the sun has caught it and large brown eyes – where did they come from? Working in a children’s nursery at this time about to train as a Montessori Teacher. Children, singing and healing were her first loves then and remain so. I believe the photo was taken in Cyprus on a visit over the border, north to the village of Kalogrea (now called Bacheli ) to see where her father and her Greek ancestors came from. There is an small oak table made and carved by a friend of Grannie’s who did not return from the First World War. She requested my mother to keep it. Now I have it and I hope my daughter will follow suit.

MY MEMORABLE PHOTOGRAPH by Liza Castellino

THE FOUR YOUNGER SISTERS by Sue Evangelou

CLOTHES AND TEXTILES

ME AND CLOTHES by Liza Castellino

Talk to the feminine gender and clothes invariably crop up at some point in the conversation. Invite a female anywhere and she will immediately think “I have nothing suitable to wear”, or “what shall I wear for the event?” Next, she will picture her wardrobe and decide “no, can’t wear that …. because I wore it to (whatever the occasion was) so I can’t be seen wearing it again.” And having gone through her wardrobe mentally, she’ll come to the conclusion that she needs to shop for an appropriate outfit. Most women tend to think of clothes for practical use indoors, clothes for everyday shopping; clothes to wear to parties; clothes to wear to dances and balls; and if they have the means, new clothes for birthdays, Christmas and the New Year celebrations – even Easter. It is unsurprising therefore, that teenage girls and ladies of all ages focus on colours that will set off their skin tone: the type of neckline: boat, halter, polo, scoop, square, strapless, sweetheart, V neck, deep or plunging. Whether to have a collar, or none and the choice is wide: boat, mandarin, nehru, peter pan, pointed, ruffled, sailor, shawl, turtle, tuxedo – you name it. Then there’s the type of top to suit their figure: asymmetric, bolero, cami, cape, cinched waist, cold shoulder, crop, empire, front knot, halter, high low, hooded, kaftan, lace, layer, longline, off shoulder, one shoulder, sheer, shirt, shrug, tube, tunic, wrap. How about the sleeves? They can make all the difference to tops: balloon, bell, bishop, butterfly, cap, cape, dolman, flutter, kimono, leg-of-mutton, puffed, raglan, slit. The style of skirt: A line, asymmetrical, box pleated, knife pleated, bubble, button down, circle, denim, draped, gypsy, handkerchief edge, high low, high waisted, lace up, layered, mermaid, mini, pencil, ruffle, side slit, tiered, tulip, tulle, waist belted, wrap around. The type of fabric for the style of skirt and top also comes into consideration: whether even or coarse weave, whether cotton, lace, linen rayon, silk, viscose, organdie, organza, chiffon, gingham, polka dot, checkered, floral, striped, or tartan. My mother, though a seamstress, seldom had cash to spare for outdoor clothes for my sister and me. She owned a muted technicolour dress as a spinster that she reserved for special occasions, into which she fitted even when in her eighties. With her thrifty ways, Mum made my Dad’s meagre monthly wages last until his next pay day. Our family of four never went hungry – in fact she always had a cup of soup for unexpected guests. She sewed our clothes that she washed by hand and while they were still damp, they were smoothed by hand, folded away and left under a mound of bed linen – because we did not possess an iron – to be worn again. She even managed to save Rs5/- each month that she posted off to her mother in Goa, towards the education of her two younger school-going brothers! Of the fabrics relatives occasionally presented my sister and me for birthdays, depending on the material’s length and width Mum ensured to sew either a skirt, or blouse for each of us so that there was no ill feeling between siblings. As my elder sister outgrew her clothes, I got her hand-me-downs. Somehow Mum, with her scrimping and saving, managed to buy material for school uniforms she sewed, to which she kept large hems that she let down as we grew taller. It was only when my sister qualified as a shorthand typist and was to start her first job that Mum hired a tailor recommended for his neat work. He was in great demand and because he was seated in people’s homes by 8am ready to sew, rarely returning to his lodgings by 10pm, Mum and I would set off from home towards 9.30pm and invariably waited for his return. He was not often able to oblige when we needed him. However, because he enjoyed Mum’s culinary skills and was treated as a family member, depending on the urgency of our needs he would come and sew office wear for my sister, who chose patterns from the Lana Lobell fashion magazine he brought along. My earliest bespoke clothes were my wedding dress and trousseau that the same tailor sewed. My endearing memory is of a couple of dresses from 62 years ago when he sewed what he considered would look good on me with the fabrics he was given. One was a bright floral design on a black background silky material that had a flared skirt, a two-inch back opening at the neckline with hook and eye and fitted like a glove around my throat. The other was a crisp cotton white, patterned striped on a burgundy background that one of my bosses from work presented to me on my 18th birthday. The tailor decided to make a horizontal pleated top with a horizontally striped A line skirt. Wearing both those dresses made me feel alive and took pride of place in my wardrobe, though the passage of time has dimmed my memory of what happened to them.
Currently, my wardrobe holds casual apparel: readymade tops, jackets and trousers. Not for me the drainpipes of today, nor the flares of the 50s and 60s. I avoid wearing dresses because unlike my Mum, I don’t have the figure for them. In any case, clothes are not my priority and I consider “dressing up” to be a waste of time. Thus far I have avoided events when asked to dress in a certain way; now I live on my own and desire company, I shall make do with the contents of my wardrobe and attend the occasions to which I am invited.

A red viscose floral patterned blouse with green stems on which sit white flowers tinged with silvery grey, some yellow brownish orange inside of each and a blob of red in the centre, was gifted to me by a very good friend.
It has my favourite three quarter sleeves that flare out at the elbow, a wide neck with a two-inch opening at the neckline and a tiny fabric covered button to slip through the fabric covered eye and though it adorns my wardrobe, I have yet to wear it. Presented to me a couple of months ago,
I am saving it to wear for a special occasion before the year 2021 is out, when it will be a year since my husband’s demise.

Being of Portuguese extraction, it used to be customary for widows to wear black permanently and be devoid of earrings. I discontinued wearing earrings when face coverings were introduced even before being widowed. Not for me the black attire because I live in England and not in Goa; instead, I wear white, all the shades of blue, pale green – in short, neutral colours. Apart from the washing instructions saying the blouse needs to be washed inside out, the label inside mentions k&d London, UK 10, EU 38, Keep away from fire and Made in Turkey. Another label next to it says “due to the natural characteristics of this fabric some shrinkage may occur; however, this will recover after iron with steam”. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that will indeed be the case.

GRANNIES CRAZY PATCHWORK by Sue Evangelou

Grannie died on All Saints Day – the 1st November in 1948. This means I that only knew my Grannie for 3 years and a little over 8 months. I definitely do remember her. My Grandad, her husband, had died three weeks before I was born and since then Grannie had come to live with us on the farm owned by my Uncle Bob and Uncle Peter, two of my mother’s brothers. So, living in the house that my uncles had built, were my mother, father, sister, brother, said uncles and Grannie. Each morning I would visit Grannie in her room. She would place in my outstretched hand, three Smarties and three Philips Tonic Yeast Tablets. These set me up for the day for after this, if I remember correctly, come rain or come shine or even come snow, I was wrapped up in warm clothes and sent out to explore the farm whilst my mother carried out some of her many chores. My father was at work and my siblings were at school. I loved my Grannie. I loved her so much that I remember one day whilst exploring I was so very pleased that I had found a special present for her. I popped back to the farmhouse and asked Mum for a brown paper bag. Then I put my treasure into the paper bag and presented it to Grannie. Looking back, I don’t know how Grannie managed to maintain her composure I think she said words to the effect of – Oh, how nice dear. You see, my present was a tiny velvety soft and smooth and very dead mouse! I thought it was a lovely gift now, of course, I know better.

My mother passed to me the crazy patchwork cushion covers that Grannie worked on in the last years of her life. I like to think of Grannie sitting quietly, maybe listening to a play on the radio, whilst she placed the scraps of silk, snippets of ribbons and squares of embroidered flowers, given away with her Kensitas cigarettes, in a way that pleased her. I like to think that whilst doing so she would recall where the fabrics originated from. From which dress and on what occasion, special or humdrum, she had worn that dress. I have spotted pieces of her wedding gown fabric and pieces of the fabric that my mother made her bridesmaids’ dresses out of, in Grannie’s crazy patchwork. I believe there are pieces of the spotted silk dress that she is wearing in a photograph with Grandad. I like to imagine that each piece placed brought back a happy memory for her. After the final random placement of these precious fragments had been made, Grannie embroidered herringbone stitch round each in different coloured embroidery silks, as if to frame each memory. When I look at Grannie’s crazy patchwork, equally precious memories are evoked of her. Thank you, Grannie.

ME AND CLOTHES by Liza Castellino

GRANNIES CRAZY PATCHWORK by Sue Evangelou

GIFTS

A TREASURED GIFT by Sue Evangelou

Each time I look at them, I am transported back to a September about ten years ago. We are staying in a small hotel in Halkidiki. The hotel is situated on higher ground above a road midway between two villages. From our balcony we have a view of the not-too-distant sea. Courtesy of Thomson’s Small and Friendly Hotels, our happy band has converged on Thessaloniki airport from all over the UK and thence by coach to drop us off at our various temporary homes. The owners of the hotel are very welcoming. We go downstairs for our first evening meal and cast our eyes around. No children – they are back at school. It’s mostly couples and friends and mostly British. We seem set to have a quiet time. This is fine with us. I can’t remember how we started talking to Jill and Catherine. Maybe they are near us as we wait in line to be served at the buffet. Maybe one of us makes a remark that the others think is funny. The next morning Kyriacos and I set out to find the sea. This involves crossing the road and then walking down a narrow path sign-posted by the English words ‘To the Beach’ in weathered letters. At the beach is an open-air restaurant and that is it. Again, this is fine with us. Someone calls out our names. It’s Jill and Catherine who inform us that for the price of a drink we can obtain a lounger each for the day. We sit near them, chatting, lazing, reading, sunbathing and most of all laughing. Kyriacos, Catherine and Jill swim in the sea. My limit is to have a paddle. The two water sprites as I decide to call them, frolic amidst the incoming waves. Jill and I commiserate over our pale skins that require regular applications of Factor 30 or above. The days pass. Breakfast, beach, lunch, beach, evening meal all shared with the water sprites though they go back to the beach bar in the evening while we retire for the day after a chat with the owners. Catherine has told me that she is a widow and runs a company that makes replacement decorative covings for old houses and that Jill is a potter. I am very impressed. I have never met anyone who makes their living as a potter before. Sometimes whilst Kyriacos swims way out to sea, we three create pictures and designs in the sand and walk along the water’s edge collecting shells and sea glass. Jill and I both have a collection of sea glass. Apart from two forays on the local buses, one way to a market and the other way to a very crowded beach, our days are spent near the hotel. All too soon the time comes for us to pack our cases ready for departure. Early one morning after breakfast, after exchanging addresses, we wave the water sprites off as they start their journey back to Newcastle and we follow a few hours later to catch our flight to Gatwick. We really miss them, but life goes back to normal and the autumn days grow colder, the nights grow darker and heating gets turned on. About four or five weeks after our return, the postman delivers a cardboard box. It is marked ‘Fragile’. I haven’t ordered anything and can’t think what it can be. I carefully unpack the box. My hands dip into the nest of newspaper and find two objects wrapped in bubble wrap. Two beautiful pottery bowls made by Jill. The outer sides have a sea green glaze and on the inside bases of the bowls shimmers clear green glass. Jill has incorporated the sea glass she collected into the bowls. What a lovely gift. I treasure them both. They hold within them such very happy memories.

A TREASURED GIFT by Sue Evangelou

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