The hearty sea air, steep walk to the top of the hill her house is on (and a LOT of brandy) are all what kept her going until 101 years old. So she had a good, long stretch. This weekend, I went to chip in with the vast task of sorting through all her things. Needless to say, there were many mementoes of her that I wanted to keep...
I also went through her wardrobes, and could picture her in most of thing things hanging in them. Things she hadn't touched for years as she'd become less and less mobile – and unable to find the occasion to wear a tailored Jaegar suit or Burberry raincoat. I'm gutted we're not the same size – or my wardrobe would now be vastly more sophisticated. I took a few things though; some lovely cashmere jumpers and elegant costume jewellery, and hope to re-home the rest somewhere sympathetic.
Among her stuff, I found little love-notes her (third) husband had written her ("You make my eyes boggle" read one). Even into her 80s she had gentlemen callers writing her desperate love poetry dedicated to her curves (still in the right places, even then). On, I think, her 97th birthday, we took her down to the wonderful Porthminster Beach Cafe right underneath the cliff that her house is perched upon. I remember that she used her walking stick more as a flirting aid than a walking aid – and by the time we left, all the eyes of the old chaps in the restaurant were boggling too.
There were many (excellently indiscreet) tales about the men who loved her, including three husbands; two of whom she found very disappointing, and a third she adored, though not as much as the handsome Air Force officer she broke off with in the 1950s because he was 10 years her junior, even though he was, she always said, "the love of my life".
But I digress. I keep many memories, but on top of those here are some of the bits of furniture and household things I brought home to incorporate just a few of those memories physically into my own home...
Hmm, it was getting on at this point. This classic piece of Hornsea Pottery doesn't even have its cork lid anymore. But it'd make a good vase, no?
Yes. Ahem. And later still... But this is a collectors' item!