A few years ago when I left my last permanent job and plunged full-length into self-employment, my colleagues, staff and friends bought me one of the most thoughtful, enduring and evolutionary presents I’ve ever had.
I didn’t really know what to make of the stretchy steel bracelet with Nomination stamped on each link. Jewellery isn’t high on my list of things to buy myself, so it was touching to receive something so personal. For several of your English pounds (several more after Brexit, dammit), the links can be replaced with little gold and enamel pictures that can tell your own story and display it on your wrist.
There are 19 Nominations to be replaced and they started me with the twin masks of comedy and tragedy to represent both the job I’d just left and my love of theatre, a snowflake because I actually love that cold, white stuff, and a four-leaf clover for luck, which I was going to need in a salary-free world.
Since then it has evolved, links have been replaced with little bits of stories of my life, including a mini scroll for when I got my MA, a camera as I have several and love photography, a skier because I pretend to be one, a runner because I pretend to be one of those too, the Chinese symbol for a dog, yes, I am a dog, and, to celebrate receiving dual nationality a mini Irish flag.
With my recent birthday and a generous cash gift from my dad, I added the final three links, a Bialetti stove-top coffee-maker because good coffee is one of the true pleasures in life, a treble clef because music makes the world go round and, of course, cats. I know cats aren’t for everyone, but one little stray who turned up one day and moved in with us made me happy when I was sad, he became a big part of my story and so has a rightful place on my bracelet.
It’s full now, and I can’t stop looking at it, every link has a memory and makes me smile. Maybe I’ll have to start another one – I need somewhere to put the mini allotment and Eiffel Tower and of course a representation of Noel.