I was going through a website recently of 10 possessions people can’t live without. It was set up by some designers who photographed their most treasured things – and for the life of me, I can’t find the website, but I thought it was a lovely idea.
It reminded me of something I cut out and kept from an ancient Just Seventeen magazine when I was just thirteen. I don’t believe in horoscopes and how huge swathes of the population can be just like me, but I do believe that gravity from the moon causes the tides, and we are 70% water, so whether we too are influenced by the moon, the sun, the stars – who knows? More, I believe in genetics and environment making us what we are, and then if we’re lucky and we aren’t bound by poverty or disease, we get to choose a path that’s kind of determined by the things we hold dear.
Anyway… I kept that bit of paper, and I’ve still got it. Even here.
And this resonates with me. I’ve not looked at it for years, but it’s just about everything that’s important to me. I don’t think I’m ever going to have a sense of time – for my days pass more quickly than I’d like. Now I have the walking boots, the dog, the tumbledown cottage, the driver’s licence, the internet instead of encyclopaedias. I never iron. I was too torn between degrees, and philosophy at Birmingham was one I considered, but then a girl has to be practical, and what’s a girl to do with a philosophy degree? My memory is rubbish, except for facts, and that is why I’d add a good camera to the list.
As for the round-the-world air ticket, well, that’s only fun if you get off. But anyone who knows me knows travelling is my one love. Even reading is a voyage, to me.
I am used to travelling light. If I have a pen and paper, I am set. I arrive back for three weeks in the UK with a 7kg rucksack. A pen and some paper are more than enough to keep me happy. In fact, as long as I have a pen, I can make do with whatever scraps of paper I find. I once illustrated my entire copy of On the Road – and you can tell what kind of girl I am. A book is a bonus. If it’s a good book, so much the better.
A better memory for events and emotions is not at my command, so my photo albums – my glorious, purple Paperchase albums – are the one thing I’d save if my house was on fire.
I used to think that a bank card and passport were all I needed in life. Now, I can do without the bank card. I think I could turn up in many places and talk someone into giving me a job.
My Chanel sunglasses and my Carvela boots are my final possessions that I’d really, really want in my rucksack if I had to hightail it out of here. They remind me of a great weekend in Paris with my brother – the sunglasses. They will always be cool and they’ve been many, many places with me. I have two pairs of Carvela boots. Both brown. I love them equally. These are my favourites, because if the truth be told, they’re just a little bit piratey and horse-ridery, whereas the others are a bit motorbikey.
And two things I can’t get on my photo because they won’t sit still. My curly-haired scruffpot doggie, Tilly, and my purrball Fox. That and my family. Cat, dog, family. I guess those three things – the three that aren’t on the photo – are the things I couldn’t get by without at all. And only one of those makes it onto the Just Seventeen list from twenty-odd years ago.