Full circle

My mother lived in Argentina until she was 18 when she came over to England by boat to go to art college in London. At a ball in Yorkshire, just days after she arrived, she met my dad and married him. Every couple of years they would go back to visit my grandmother in Buenos Aires, epic journeys that often lasted several weeks. More than once, my brothers and I were packed up and sent to stay with Beanie, an old friend of the family who lived in our village.  Beanie's cottage was a magical place - a two up two down with a range in the kitchen, a little coal fire in the sitting room, a garden full of snap-dragons, huge red overblown poppies, wild flowers, dahlias, and a profusion of earwigs. We loved those times, and then we grew up. Over the years I lost touch with Beanie until one day, many years later, my husband and I drove to West Sussex to see her, and when she opened the door the years fell away. We had tea together in her garden as the red poppies she had always loved swung their heads in the breeze. She had made us tiny eggs sandwiches, fairy cakes with little sponge wings and buttercream icing  and a childhood pudding she called 'Frizzy Lizzy' - a heady combination of evaporated milk and raspberry jelly - all served up on the very same china I remembered from my visits to her cottage thirty years before - the patterns and shapes of the bowls and jugs and cups and saucers, all so familiar and comforting to hold again in my hands. She was very elderly by then but we were so pleased to see one another and she knew I was expecting my daughter although she didn't live long enough to meet her. That sunny June afternoon she presented me with this little jug, a Susie Cooper piece that my mother, who adored her, had given her many years before. I use it every day.