Ro and Dora came over this afternoon and stayed for dinner, which was a pleasure as we haven’t seen them for a few weeks – Dora’s car was out of action and they’ve been pretty busy at weekends. Ro stroked my Wire DVDs lovingly and with an air of longing. I finally got around to watching the first episode tonight (I’ve been busy too) – I’ve a feeling this is how I’m going to spend an hour of most evenings for the next couple of months. Splendid to see it again.
I was going to tell you about the swan. It belonged to a man who had a collection of Lowestoft china – he was a retired antiques dealer. His daughter loved the china and he told her he had left it to her in his will. Of course, he’d left his possessions fairly distributed between his family members. However, towards the end of his life he needed nursing care and, to raise money, his family decided to sell off some items – the sons, having no interest in the china but knowing it was valuable, decided to sell some of it. His daughter knew it was left to her, but could hardly say so; her brothers were unaware of that.
Years later, the cygnet that had belonged to the old man came up for auction again. His son-on-law bought it back for his wife, so it could be returned where it belonged. He died too, only a year later, so she particularly treasured it for the rest of her life – what it was worth to her had little to do with money. She died in her turn a few years ago, and now her sons have decided to sell it – they like it, but are nervous of it being damaged, and so it’s been kept packed away.
As for its value – well, what’s anything worth? Is the work of a footballer worth more than the prime minister or the postman? If you buy anything that’s purely ornamental, you acknowledge that it has a value. And it’s worth what someone is willing to pay for it – which may take into account how much it cost to make. But the swan is a modest little item from a provincial factory – it’s not on a par with Chelsea or Meissen.
The most valuable item in this room, as far as I’m concerned, is the little box, a 1/8 scale model of an antique oak coffer that my husband made for me. It took him many hours and was done with love and considerable care and skill. Its monetary value is negligible, but that doesn’t matter, as it’ll never be for sale, not in my lifetime. It didn’t cost a lot to make unless you include his time. Which he gave.