For the fourth year running, I am documenting the year with monthly photographs of my kitchen table. Capturing the jumble that accumulates here, at the heart of the kitchen, is also a way to record some of the domestic stories of our family life. You can read previous tales from the table here.
There are bulbs on the January table. Narcissus bulbs planted by my husband in a vintage terracotta flower pot. He bought a couple of trays of old flower pots from the auction in the Christmas holidays. The hand thrown ones are my favourites- I love their imperfect elegance. A Woods Ware Beryl saucer stands beneath the pot, picked up for pennies from the mis-matched crockery box at the market.
There is tea: liquorice and mint, which is my current evening drink. Warming and soothing, and strangely sweet. Two small fossilised shells, which we found in the field when out walking not long ago. An unexpected fossil is always a pleasing find, and we are gathering a small collection. The notebook, by Field Notes, was a Christmas gift from my brother. I have a slight obsession with Field Notes notebooks, they’re so very aesthetically pleasing, this one being no exception. I have some interviewing to do next week for 91 Magazine, and this is my notebook of choice.
I keep a stack of poetry books on my desk and turn their pages in quiet moments. The Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry found itself at the top of the pile last week, which seemed appropriate in an emotional week when women across the world marched to make their voices heard. Last week, when I sent out my first Small Stories newsletter (you can sign up to receive it over in the sidebar, if you haven’t already), I received a moving and humbling email in reply from an American reader, who wrote: ‘know that your photos and thoughts are reaching many American women who need the calm respite that you provide.” It was a moving, but also a sobering response.
It is deeply saddening to me that we live in times so turbulent that calm respite is needed, but knowing that we have the ability to reach out to one another across the world is some small comfort. I find that poetry too can be a source of both power and succour. I recently came across this poem by Sheenagh Pugh being shared on Twitter and for me, it felt like a tiny ray of hope.