Wednesday, 17 March 2010


I arrived at Durham, many years ago with most of the things I needed. I was the first of my family to go to university and it was all a bit of a mystery to us. For me it was about 6 hours of travelling, on my own for the first time, it seemed worlds away from home. Why didn't I think of taking mugs with me? I think mainly because, despite receiving a full grant, Mum was worried about the expense and had dug some horrible old cup-things out of the back of a cupboard, and they were supposed to 'do'.

My first grant check took a few weeks to arrive. The bursar was quite sniffy about it. Most people at my college did not receive a full grant. Naturally he stood over me while I wrote a cheque for my hall fees before he parted with my grant. Then off down to the town mug shopping!

I still have my first purchase, and use it almost daily. Brown with the outline of an owl - more than 20 years   before I even thought of being a Brownie leader. It came from a little shop with a narrow frontage and a semi-basement - the faint damp smell nearly hidden by the incense sticks and smelly candles. I took my children to Durham some years ago to see where mum went to college - we bought some postcards from the shop.

My next mug purchases were a set of four, which were not as well designed, or as well made - all have since lost their handles. They were really quite twee - not what I would choose now perhaps. They represented the seasons. Each had the name of a season painted from 'tree-trunk'- letters. In and around the trees, and in glimpses in the backgound, were very detailed representations of the seasons. I still have these at the back of a cupboard. Each one instantly evoked the real feeling of the season and I was impressed with the imagination of the designs and the large number of seasonal images which each mug displayed.

Primroses have always been a favourite wild flower of mine, and much loved by 'the Snowdrop Lady' ( see earlier post). Naturally, they featured prominently in the 'spring' mug.


With memories of Durham, and spring walks with my grandmother, I have designed my latest embroidered landscape brooch.


1 comment:

  1. Durham is such a gorgeous place; I live just up the road in Gateshead so we visit Durham quite often. I love the new brooch, it's so full of detail - very special!