“At the top of the garden, the camelia is covered in pink flowers, bright enough for me to see. Purple wild crocuses have spread into the lawn and snowdrops brighten the ground under the hedge. Catkins hang from the hazel tree and the greedy squirrel is stealing the blackbird’s seeds.
All this hyperbole means that there is no stopping the arrival of Spring and and an uncharacteristic surge of domesticity. My spring cleaning is haphazard and mercifully doesn’t last long. Mostly it involves some mild de-cluttering.
At the bottom of my wardrobe there is a shelf housing a collapsing carton containing pins and needles, scissors and other sewing accessories. Inexplicably there is also a tin of black shoe polish (who uses shoe polish these days?) and several aerosol cans of shoe protector. Oh, and I forgot … a set of pinking shears. Best of all is my button box.
My Irish grandmother was a tailor and her buttons were kept in a black lacquered box with a lid covered in a Japanese willow design. Inside were dozens of buttons. These could have been recycled from old garments or the belt and braces of her trade. I loved playing with them, but for me they were simply pretty things.
My button box is different. Each button has a memory. Green rose buttons discovered in a charity shop, kittens bought for a baby’s cardigan I never knitted, tiny pearl buttons taken off a favourite blouse and very basic buttons that ‘might come in handy’. When they were small, my grandchildren played with them. Now they have graduated to football and makeup. So why do I keep this button box?
It has recently come into its own again. I can no longer distinguish between navy and black clothes, so a kind friend has sewn buttons inside all my navy clothes. What I relief that I will no longer commit the fashion crime of wearing black with navy!
Back in the 18th century buttons were in the vanguard of the new technologies of the Industrial Revolution. What would we do without them? Accessible technology comes in all shapes and sizes.
Do you have a button box? What memories does it evoke? Do you think buttons will survive the 21st century?
Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay with David Oyelowo giving the performance that should have won him an Oscar but didn’t even give him a nomination.
The Second Best Exotic Great Marigold Hotel with lots of elderly actors having fun in India. Very colourful and good to see some men acting with the grand Dames of British Theatre.
Listened to on Audible and also available in book or Kindle form from Amazon or most good bookshops and libraries.
“To Let” by John Galsworthy
Read by David Crace. I am reading this along with Ali, Liz and Karen and will be posting a review later.
“Blue Highways” by William Least Heat Moon
Read by Joe Barrett (but not too sure of his grasp of the English accent. I don’t know any better so hope this doesn’t apply to his American versions). Lovely book … erudite and unpretentious account of the writer’s travels on the B roads of the USA. My favourite travel book yet.
“A Spool of Blue Thread” by Anne Tyler
Beautifully read by Kimberley Farr. One of my favourite authors doesn’t disappoint.
A question: would you like me to add links to these book titles – and Amazon, Audible, or both? Do let me know!