My grandmother was a seamstress. She made a dress for the Queen Mother, which she wore. It was one of the turquoise numbers. To be fair, there were quite a few of them. I couldn’t pick it out of a line-up, but one of them was made by my Gran.


As a young man, my Granddad trained as a joiner and cabinet maker. Once he was qualified, he made a cabinet for my Gran, with dowelling separaters inside so she could keep her cotton reels in order and stop them from getting tangled up. There was even a space for her dressmaker’s magnet.

At some point, as everyone did in those days, my Gran put off-cuts of wallpaper into the bottom of the drawers. I’m not quite sure why people used to do that. Whether it was to keep the contents or their own fingertips from getting scratched on the wooded base, or simply for aesthetic purposes, I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that my Gran must have sprayed the wallpaper drawer liners with Chanel No. 5 because every time I open the cotton drawer, I can smell her perfume.