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April 4, 2020 at 8:20 am #8105
A Victorian Writing Box
Crafted in walnut with brass trimmings and lined with deep blue leather, the box is labelled discreetly as being made by Cawston, a portable case maker of 27 Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly. I can only imagine its complete history and wonder whether it might have journeyed with its original owner in fine carriages from London to country estates for lengthy house party gatherings.
It sits on a small antique mahogany sewing table which, I have been told, may have been an apprentice piece. They reside in close proximity to my modern desk and computer.
Both were gifted when a maiden aunt on my husband’s side of the family died in the late 1970s. The box is special to me because of its connection with writing and my love of that art. Before the advent of emails I was a prolific paper and pen letter writer and still enjoy penning the occasional missive. Surely this box has been witness to numerous letters expressing love, excitement or sadness?
The box is a handsome piece of craftsmanship, solid and somehow reassuring and yet possessing a beauty and elegance of form.
It is home to my smaller notebooks, which, in turn, secrete words I occasionally revisit when seeking inspiration from my initial thoughts, storylines or general jottings if a particular work seems to have lost its way.
The maiden aunt who bequeathed this box was an interesting person and perhaps a difficult one in her dotage, which is understandable for she had a troubled childhood and youth. It is believed the box was given to her by her foreign lodger during wartime and suspected that he was also her ‘gentleman friend’. It is good to think that she found special love and comfort in her life, if only for the duration.
I am not sure that this rather prosaic account adequately describes why the writing box is special to me and why it remains in a prominent place in our home after so very many years, but I do know that I have experienced warm feelings as I have attempted to share its essence.
I sincerely hope that this objet d’art will give pleasure in a similar way to whoever becomes its owner after I shuffle off this mortal coil.
375 wordsApril 1, 2020 at 8:07 am #8081
Thank you, John for setting this competition and for your kind comments. Raine is, indeed, a worthy winner – we all need ‘all that energy and power’ especially now to keep us going! Loved the other two entries too. When I joined I said I probably would not be entering competitions as I needed to concentrate on my own writing at the moment, but I could not resist this one …March 27, 2020 at 9:07 am #8063
Spring’s Beautiful Bounty
‘No-one ever said that Life would be a bed of roses.’ Spring 2020 is proving that old saw to be true in no uncertain terms worldwide.
But Mother Nature continues her cycle for the eye’s appreciation and the lifting of spirits; for inspiration too.
Unseasonal buds have appeared on climbing roses which reach up to the warm Spring sunshine. Earlier battered by fierce March winds and torrential rainfall, they have fought back with a determination to survive and flourish.
At ground level in the loam the Spring flora is predominately exhibiting shades of yellow. There is the pale lemon of fragrant hyacinths, the delicacy of miniature narcissi, daffodils such as Wordsworth extolled, primroses and cowslips. All as beautiful when contained within a walled garden as they are freely growing in the wilds of nature.
A shrub stands tall in bloom with blousy pink blooms giving way gradually to pale green leaves. A stately camellia is showing its red flowers amongst its dark green glossy leaves.
In my fanciful thoughts, I turn to the olive tree planted many years ago in remembrance of a dear, olive skinned friend and appreciate its seeming wisdom and its symbolism of peace as it watches over the garden in a protective manner. It, too, has given us a bounty this Spring in the form of a tiny crop of black olives, yet to be tasted.
In a sheltered corner of the garden an unassuming aubrietia with its spiritual purple flowers takes me back to childhood. In those far off days another such, planted under an apple tree in the small plot that was mine to tend, was home to fairies.
In these worrying and uncertain times, I feel it is even more important to count the blessings of simple pleasures and voice appreciation and gratitude for the beautiful bounty of Spring.
(306 words)March 22, 2020 at 8:12 am #8025
More congratulations due for another Denizen. So pleased for you, Elle. – JillMarch 22, 2020 at 8:10 am #8024
Congratulations, Janette – may the following journey prove equally successful. JillMarch 22, 2020 at 4:52 am #8023
Thank you Jane and Raine. My immediate intention is to revisit/re edit a book for younger children and my Lucy Rainbow ‘opus’ with a view to submitting them again. Also to continue working on something which combines new prose and my past poetry. May never be a market for that but it will give me great satisfaction and may be of interest to family as it is a type of memoir.March 9, 2020 at 5:14 pm #7875
Love your railway blogs, Richard. Not only excellent writing and interesting to me subjects, but because my father and grandfather were railwaymen – rising all through the ranks. Your stories offer me nostalgia and many mixed emotions which, to me, is a mark of rich writing. Thank you. 😊. Write on as our friend Tony would council. Jill.March 4, 2020 at 5:19 pm #7864
Very late to this, Hilary and sorry to hear of your disappointment. I have always loved your writing and it does sound as though you are within a whisper of novel publishing success with all those requests for a full manuscript. Others have already said much that I agree with. Best wishes. Jill