It’s a handbag dangly and was designed by Livia Firth (yes, Colin’s wife) for the Helping Handbags charity founded to support vulnerable children in Bulgarian care homes. The two lovely handbags on the website were designed by Lucinda’s sister, Emma.
The whole point of this blog though, is that enclosed with the gift was a note from Lucinda written on a postcard reproduction of Sir Stanley Spencer’s painting of Cookham Moor.
I know Cookham Moor well, have walked across it many times as a child and teen, wheeled the first born across it in his buggy (and my Dad used to see Stanley Spencer working in the village in his own youth).
Cookham provided the inspiration for my imaginary village of Longbourne, setting for Tempted By Trouble, where Elle Amery lives with her sisters and grandmother. This painting is the site of the annual fair, where Elle, every year, hopes to see someone who might be her father.
She blinked. ‘June?’ For a moment her brain freewheeled, before she managed to get grip, engage the cogs, start thinking. ‘The first week is the highlight of the Longbourne calendar. The only highlight,’ she added, wryly.
‘I never go myself. I just stand on the sidelines looking at the men putting up the rides, erecting the stalls.’
‘Searching for a likeness?’
No doubt about it, he was good at mental arithmetic. Give him two and two and he came up with a neat four, no problem.
‘I know it’s stupid. I mean what would I say? You don’t know me but I think you might have met my mother twenty-four years ago?’
‘Actually,’ he replied, ‘I think it’s far more likely that some man would look up, see you with the sun shining on your hair and remember a long ago summer. Wish he was still young.’
Just love coincidences like that.