2) The 'moose tin' - this isn't really a tin, so I'm not sure why that name has stuck, but it has. Ian and I were close friends for several years before we started dating. In 2005 he travelled one third of the way across the world, most of it on the Trans-Siberian railway. Before he left he asked if there was anything he could bring back for me. Jokingly I replied 'two moose and a bear'. Whilst in Russia he saw many little lacquered boxes in the shops and dutifully searched for one with a moose and bear on. Amazingly he found one on a side-street in Moscow and brought it back for me.
3) Wooden birds - These were carved by my grandfather Morris Edwards. I have many fond memories of looking at these on the fireplace while visiting my grandparents.
4) Mandolin - This belonged to my great grandmother (my father's mother's mother). It's a beautiful instrument in itself and especially so as I adore stringed instruments. In addition to the mandolin we also have 4 guitars, a harp and a violin in the house. I'm looking forward to having more time to learn to play them all (I even tuned the mandolin for the first time a few weeks ago).
5) The Animals of Farthing Wood - This was my favourite book when I was young. I could just as easily have chosen one of William Horwood's Duncton books, but there are six of those and I have more than one copy of several of them (so much for becoming a minimalist). If I could only keep one book this would have to be it.
As an aside, does anyone else have more than one copy of a book? I used to have several (e.g., one paperback of the wind in the willows and another big hardback with lots of illustrations), but have been quite ruthless of late and got rid of most of my duplicates. The problem with the Duncton books is that I first read and owned them as paperbacks. In general I prefer hardbacks, but the hardbacks that I have of the Duncton books are second-hand and don't have as pretty covers as the paperbacks.
6) Pastel drawing - This one was a very difficult decision. I wanted to include some art by my father, but was torn between this pastel drawing and a little ceramic pot which he painted with butterflies and flowers.
7) Similarly I wanted to include something that I had created on the list. I briefly considered my PhD thesis, but to be honest if the house was burning down it wouldn't be something that I'd go for! Instead I chose a drawing that I copied from a print on a T-shirt whilst at University. Although I'm pleased with it I'd like to replace this entry on my list in the near future. I haven't drawn or painted anything in years, but for the last couple of years have fallen for (but not bought) many different paintings of hares. I would really like to do one myself, but suspect that it will take a lot of practice and many attempts before I come up with something I'm happy with.
8) Wooden turtle - Although carved in Indonesia, this was bought from the island of Baros in the Maldives whilst we were on our honeymoon. We gazed at in the gift shop for several days before buying it on my birthday. We saw many beautiful creatures whilst snorkeling on the coral reefs off Baros and on our last day were rewarded with the sight of two turtles.
9) Glass snail - We saw this in the window of a shop right next to the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Unfortunately the shop wasn't open and we were only in Venice for one more night, but on our final morning Ian ran across Venice to buy it for me before we were due to catch our bus to the airport.
10) Pottery - Made by native American Indian artists. We bought these at Furnace Creek in the heart of Death Valley, California during what was probably my favourite holiday of all time - a road trip through California, Arizona and Nevada with Ian in 2007. From a purely aesthetic point of view they're my favourite ornaments.
I'd be very interested to know what your most treasured possessions are and why?