A pudding basin and a suffragette’s necklace.

No. It’s OK. The old girl hasn’t lost her marbles – although there are days when she wonders. There is a connection and an historical one. And it begins with a pudding basin.

My first grand-daughter needed a pudding basin so that she could make steam puddings for her kids and, as she didn’t possess one, she asked her mother (my daughter Mary) if she could find a second hand one for her. Mary is a dab hand at finding bargains in charity shops. And Mary told me all about it, when she came to look after me the next Monday. And it occurred to me that I had plenty of pudding basins and she might like one of those. So we looked one out and as we were sitting in the conservatory having our elevenses she examined it thoroughly and turned it over. And there on the bottom of it was the maker’s name. Mason Cash. So naturally we had to check that out too. Oh we’re quizzy when we’re having our elevenses! And we discovered that the company had been going since the early eighteen hundreds and that we might be looking at an antique. It was very likely because the bowl had been given to me by my grand-mother when I got married. Roy and I had nothing at all except books and my grand-mother filled in the gaps from the equipment she’d found in the house when her husband bought it in 1914. What fun.

So what’s the link between a pudding basin and that necklace. Well it’s my grand-mother again and it has a slightly sordid history. My grand-father ran an off licence in Tooting and it was his habit to let his regulars pay for the booze they wanted with a pawn ticket, which he would redeem. He got a fair bit of jewellery that way, which he gave to my grand-mother and closed his eyes to the fact that it would probably have been stolen. My grand-mother was no fool and knew very well that it was stolen so she wouldn’t wear any of it.

But she gave this piece to me. And I found out that it was a suffragette piece when I’d been an established writer for several years and wore it round my neck when I went into the jewellers to look at something else. He was very interested in it and asked if he could take a closer look at it and did. His verdict was exciting. It was definitely a suffragette piece. The little green stones were green garnets that had only been mined for a short time so he could date it to within few years. Wow!

I often think about my suffragette and wonder who she was and what happened to her. But I never thought I would link her with a pudding basin.

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