It's ABC Wednesday again and our thanks go to the hard-working ABC team whose members, inspired and led by Denise Nesbitt, organise this meme. You know you want to see what others have chosen for K so why not click here?
Recently I wrote about my fascination with stationery – notepaper, pens, pencils, paper clips, drawing pins – in fact, just about anything to do with putting words on paper or putting papers together or on things (so include fridge magnets!) I know my daughters share my enthusiasm – hardly surprising, since their childhood Christmas stockings were stuffed with boxes of pencils, crayons, pens, stickers, unusual post-its. My husband and son are not devotees to the same extent though they both appreciate fine fountain pens. (Ooh, the smell of ink – how wonderful that is!)
There are other things that appeal to me, too, one of which is keys and, by association, key rings. This interest may have arisen in my childhood. When I was five years old my parents bought a shop which sold newspapers, confectionery, tobacco and stationery. We lived in the flat above the shop and the only way into it was through the shop door. There was a back door out to the garden but this was not easily accessible. Anyone wishing to get in that way would have had to climb into the garden of the public house next door and clamber over a brick wall into our garden.
My parents, my father in particular, were very conscious of security and made sure the shop door was securely locked for the night after closing time. Only on one occasion did the nightly check fail and that was the occasion on which my parents woke from a deep sleep to find a beat copper standing at the end of their bed. In those days, police had regular foot patrols around the streets through the night and checked all the locks on business premises. The constable had found the door unlocked and walked through the shop and up two flights of stairs before finding my parents. Thereafter we were all very aware that doors must be checked and double-checked before we could relax.
Eventually I reached an age when I was allowed out on my own and although I wasn't permitted to stay out late there were occasions when I would reach home after the shop had shut. My parents decided I should have a key which I would have to guard very carefully. It was a key at the end of a long shaft and one day, to my horror, it broke as I unlocked the door. Expecting to find myself in trouble I didn't say anything but took it to the local hardware store to see if it could be mended. It couldn't. I had to have a replacement made and that took a few days.
I spent most of my summer holiday at the local outdoor, unheated swimming pool where I met my friends
and would return home at the end of the day when it shut by which time, of course, the shop was also shut. While I waited for the replacement key I made sure I reached home before the door was locked. This was unusual but was not commented on. I realise now that my parents must have known all along what had happened. All the traders knew each other very well and were customers in our shop so it's more than likely that my 'secret' was relayed to my parents long before the new key was safely in my hands. It was never mentioned – very wise, my parents.
In the ensuing years I found keys most interesting. There were tiny keys to safeguard the secrets in private diaries, ornate keys for winding clock mechanisms and jewellery boxes, keys to wind musical boxes or clockwork toys, briefcase and suitcase keys, Allen keys for radiators and bikes and assorted other items and huge mediaeval door keys for churches and manor houses. I liked the idea of a châtelaine as a rather superior housekeeper but I liked the thought of wearing a châtelaine more. (In fact a châtelaine would be a very good idea for Barry but he'd be weighed down by the number of things that would have to be attached to it so we'll continue the daily games of 'find the keys/wallet/pen/remote control/glasses . . . ')
I have never owned a châtelaine but I have had many key rings. Below are photographs of the one I've been using for the last few years.