5/20/10

I've got soul, but...

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One of my all-time favourite books is Pat Cavendish's A Lion in the Bedroom. The daughter of an exquisite duchess, this London "It Girl" grew up among the rich and famous in the wildest extravagance imaginable and then led an even wilder adult life in Kenya with her pet lioness.

Cavendish's book is a jewel, filled with dazzling descriptions of her life. I remember one in particular, in which she describes the decor of her holiday home in the south of France: the walls and cushions were the colour of "the under-side of an olive leaf." I have always tried to imagine what colour this would be...a dusty olive-green perhaps? Slightly silver. Delicate yet potent at the same time? A colour that inspires inquisitiveness and an adventuresome spirit.

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A mission in military: day one of our Bluestockings (ad)venture! Kitted out in khaki and ready for action. Bleu-marine (navy) also evokes ideas of wartime at sea.

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But the "military look" is not totally unsentimental: just as soldiers kept pictures of their loved ones to their breasts, so I keep my memories round my wrist: these bracelets were given to me by my mother on my 18th birthday, and I've received a bracelet every birthday since.

It's become a tradition in my family and now each daughter receives a set when she turns 18. The familiar jingle of silver will now keep us four bound forever. Each bracelet is unique and has a personal message etched on it to remind us of certain life lessons, or qualities that we should focus on to lead the fullest life possible. I've had this comment from a number of people: "So if I count the bracelets, can I figure out how old you are?" Very funny. I'm not a bloody oak tree!

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Religious amulets have also been a source of strength and encouragement throughout times of war. I wear a Saint Christopher (the patron saint of travel), who protects me wherever I go.

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The buttons kept on falling off my military jacket, so I got fed up and found some originals to sew on. Don't despair if this happens to a piece of your clothing. Work with it and make it a creation of your own. Clothing that bears the battle scars of age shows that it has lived, that it has fought, and that it has history.

3 comments:

Sherry said...

love the bracelets. you must share where to get them. i'd love to start this tradition for my daughter.

Michelle said...

Hi Sherry - Emma's mum is a talented artist and made them for her herself (along with many other beautiful pieces of jewelry which we'll be photographing later...). Unfortunately for the rest of us, she doesn't sell any of it! Perhaps you could track down some plain bangles and ask a jeweler to engrave them with your own special sayings.

Relyn said...

I am completely in love with this tradition and wishing desperately that Emma's mum would change her mind. WOW!