Friday, 20 March 2015


This book, which is a compilation of photos by Edwin Smith and his wife, Olive Cook, is one of my favourites when I have a few minutes to spare and I dip into it, remembering some of my own finds which were similar to their big collection of treasures, great and small, rare and some as common as pebbles on the beach.  In fact they loved the seaside from Norfolk to Weymouth and there are lots of fishy things, shells and sailors'  tokens and many are shown in their cottage setting on mantlepieces and crowded shelves.   They elevated these charming objects to a 'collection' level when they were two-a-penny in junk shops and markets and many of them are now highly collectable for their charm and sometimes their rarity ..
The Circles of your Mind?
Whetting your appetite!
   I met Olive who lived near Dunmow in Essex when my Uncle Clough, aged 90, visited me for a week, while his wife Amabel was visiting a granddaughter in India who was under the influence of Hare Krishna.  Clough Williams-Ellis was a very memorable and lovable character and the architect of the Welsh Hotel Village Portmerion.  Olive  and Edwin had been great friends of his and we drank her very strong coffee with all the grounds in the bottom of the cup and he told me I should make coffee like that for his breakfast!  He also had a mission to visit Bishops Stortford College because they had removed 4 urns on the front and top of the first modern building to be listed (for Health and S. reasons) which made him very cross.  Luckily they were later found  in a nearby garden and restored to complete the facade and Clough felt that honour had also been restored.  He went on to Caius College Cambridge from my house, as guest of honour for a Dinner, although he had been rusticated there when he was a first year undergraduate, and that delighted him!

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