Secondly, I would rescue the wall hanging picture I spent hours creating when I first moved to Adlington. It was created from three pieces of embroidery fabric that my mum gave me as a gift when the children were very young – 12 years ago, or thereabouts. She gave me embroidery threads too, in the hope that I might find the energy to pick up sewing in the evenings, this being one hobby that had meant a lot to me before I had the children, and that my mum and I shared. She hoped the hobby would be a stress free way of unwinding and rediscovering the real me after stress-filled days with young children. I made something very unusual out of the three pieces of fabric. Me, Morrigan and Cormac were each assigned our own piece. I hand- sewed bright felt strips onto their backgrounds, then embellished with found items, beads I’d had left over from other projects, motifs from the children’s clothing, items of jewellery I’d worn during big events of my life, such as a pendant I’d worn while giving birth to Morrigan, my confirmation cross, and a Greek coin necklace given to me by an ex-boyfriend. All these items were tied in with stitching, beadwork (each individual bead representing an individual memory), border areas and craft motifs I’d found which represented each of the three of us at that time. For myself, a miniature sewing basket, for Morrigan an artist’s palette, and for Cormac a little chocolate cake. One strip on each of the sections was taken up with our names and dates of birth. It was a kind of collage sampler, and I fondly remember going to the framing shop in Blackrod (now closed down) with my mum to put it in for framing. When we picked it up, I don’t think my mum could have been more proud of me as she said ‘I wish I was younger than you. Then I could inherit it’. In addition to all the work that went into this intensely personal wall hanging, it is also a totally unique item that says so much about me and which also represents our freedom in our new home.
The final item was a tricky one to decide. Do I select the weeping fig plant I bought 30 years ago as an inch-high terrarium plant, and which now would have taken over the entire house if I didn’t trim it yearly? Do I select the teddy bears on a wooden chair that Morrigan and I chose for my dad’s birthday present – with the sign on that reads ‘God couldn’t be everywhere so he created granddads’? Do I choose my mum’s jewellery, my semi-acoustic guitar or my parent’s ultra-expensive Mouseman furniture? I probably should just for cost reasons, but I don’t think I would. I think I would select two hefty books – my dad’s MA and doctoral theses. I can sense the man who he was, before I ever knew him. I can also get future glimpses of the dad, the friend and the scholar he would become.