A decade ago I ran an online shop. In hindsight, it was a little ahead of its time, selling handmade, locally sourced gifts, the kind you find these days on notonthehighstreet.com. It was a part time endeavour, which I dedicated my evenings to while working full time during the day. It was also a labour of love, something I felt quite passionate about, aspiring as I was to be self employed and in time the orders started to come in, including one Christmas a £300 order from a customer in Notting Hill.
One product I sold was a cute and rather kitsch sampler, in a shabby chic frame, with the words ‘What would Delia do ‘ neatly handstitched in red and blue across the front. For those of you who may not know, the Delia in question was Delia Smith, a well known English cook and TV presenter. When the days of my online shop came to an end, I kept one of these samplers for myself and popped it onto the kitchen shelf, as a reminder, a keepsake of my little shop.
Fast forward to the present day, and during dinner one night my husband mentioned that a colleague at work was due to get married soon and that his fiancé’s grandmother had insisted they marry in church – her name was Delia.
I suspect that, in the very same moment, we both thought of the sampler on our kitchen shelf. Sure enough, my husband asked, pleaded even, if he could have the sampler for his colleague. Without hesitating, I shook my head – no – that object meant something, it was a reminder of my hard work, of my shop, of a shop that I’d had to give up because I couldn’t dedicate enough time to it, of a shop that maybe could have been more if I had stuck with it for longer. He respected my decision, no more was said about it, although secretly I felt a bit disappointed at my own reaction ( or was that over reaction ?).
The following evening I glanced up again at the kitchen shelf – it looked cluttered. I realised I didn’t need the sampler, that these days cleaner lines and empty space are my aesthetic. I wondered too – had I attached too much meaning to this object ? Had I subconsciously associated it with the aspirations of my younger self? Ultimately, it would end up in a charity shop. Why not give it to an actual, real life Delia who might appreciate it?
And that’s what I did. Now ‘Delia’ is with Delia, I have an empty space where ‘Delia’ used to be – space on the shelf and a little more headspace too.
Have a lovely Sunday x