What do you take with you when you leave your bachelor life in the city and move, pregnant and fairly clueless, to a minuscule island in the Caribbean?
The answer is; not a lot.
My circumstances were fairly unusual, I would guess. Not the pregnant and clueless bit, thats pretty standard but the small island bit.
In the tiny amount of luggage I packed to leave New York, and land in Harbour Island, came a small Wedgwood pin plate.
My grandfather, a romantic historical figure, was invited by Wedgewood to make an official visit to their factory in 1978. Scooping up an armful of grandchildren he spent the day there, being shown how the famous ceramics were brought to life, through an painstaking process.
Each grandchild was given a plate, a gift from Wedgwood. We were allowed to carefully sponge on the portrait medallion of our grandfather, whilst he signed the drying reverse.
India from Grandpapa. M of B. (Mountbatten of Burma)
I can remember the intense smell of the drying pottery in the factory and the agony of being on best behavior. All day long.
Miraculously unbroken, that pin plate has travelled with me, through the different chapters of my life. Finally coming to rest on my chest of drawers here in Harbour Island.
When thinking about a series of stories I wanted to write about gift giving, as Christmas inches onto our horizon, I thought about that plate. I went upstairs to look at it again, picking it up and turning it over, to run my fingers across the engraving and just as I was laying it back down the plate slipped from my hand and smashed on the floor.
Oh lordy….If only we had been given a cashmere scarf or something…