The Exchange: More Than A Thing

This is a call out for connection. A call to share a tale and receive one in return.

Our community is an amazing array of people. We connected them to each other. The Exchange is as simple as it sounds. Participants created something – a poem, a story, a picture. They popped it in an envelope along and sent it to us. We then swapped contributions and sent participants else’s creation.

The subject of this exchange was More than a Thing, a love story about favourite treasures. People talked about toys, games, shells. Special trinkets that mean the world to them. 24 folk of all ages took part from 4-84.


A special object to me is my duck Schlappy. He was my dads and he has one I (eye). Schlappy means floppy in German. My Dad speaks German.
Ada, age 7


These are pink trousers that I loved
Until into some gloop they were shoved
Now they are stained forever more
The yellow trousers two small boys wore
One is responsible for the gloppy stain
Leaving some slime next to their train
Now I opt for a darker shade
So I show less dirt while I’m being their maid.
I now mind less what clothes I wear
Neither of them seem to care
Now they just want me there.


I’d like you to meet my bear
He fits snuggly into the palm of you hand
Made of jade
polished, carved, cold
A treasured gift from Grandad
To gobble up my worries
To brave my fears
Ber hug tears
How did he know of all those questions
The doubt, the need for a secret friend?
I never told him those worries
Or even how much I loved him
We just never shared that
But he knew I needed a bear
He probably knew it all.


The thing I like best is the bible because….
The bible is a friend
Its guiding me to the end
Its shining light on the page
Always melt my rage
But then I realise its God’s hand
Pulling me towards the promised land
The bible is Grace
The Bible is true
Its for all of us
And it helps me through.
Its sewing the Seed
Helps me feed
Off God’s Holy Word.


The First Time I saw a peacock feather was when I was asked to send a painting of one with my application to art college. It was daunting. The colours changes every time I looked, responding to constant variation of lighting,cloud movement,every draft. I mixed so many greens, blues, browns, trying to find a convincing match. Nothing seemed right.


Sparks flew when steel struck cobbles in the streets of Lancashire where I was born. It was the fifties and industry in those days was coal mining and cotton weaving. The men worked down the pits and the women in the cotton mills.
Adults and children wore clogs. They were handmade from leather and a steel rim was nailed onto a wooden sole. They must have lasted a good few years. My mother gave me a miniature pair of clogs in a little tin box as a momento which reminded me of my history and where I came from.


If I say there are thousand Gleamy pieces on a table, I guess that you will automatically think it is a jigsaw. And you’d be right!
Actually it is an ordinary jigsaw except its shiny pieces. There is an ancient world map on it. It shows the world in two circles and around the circles there are mythic figures.
In 2006, when I looked for a book with my fiance, and we didn’t think to buy a jigsaw, we saw it. We like it and decided to buy for our wall as a decoration.
We shared half worlds, whole circles, as we share our lives. We spent lots of fun times such a competitive environment. We finished it in a week, then framed.
Whenever we look at it now, we are travelling back to our youth.


She sits quietly in the corner of my bedroom, her eyes still twinkling and her rosebud mouth open as if ready for gossip. Open because it once held a dummy which disappeared long ago. Once she wore a tiny bead bracelet. She has also lost her voice. The one that spoke when you tipped her over. She has belonged to me since I was a baby. She is perhaps much older than me for I know nothing of her life before then. Her head is made of china but her body was filled with straw.


My favourite things in the world are books. Both the kind you write in and the kind you read. My favourite places to be with a book is in a cosy armchair and soft golden light spilling onto each page or just at a desk scribbling down all my thoughts about our strange world.

Both make me happy and feel calm. I find it comforting to have my house filled with books and there is alway sone that someone is reading somewhere left temptingly to one side or other


My favourite thing is a racing car. I like it because it goes really fast and doesn’t stop racing. Until the race is finished. It is green because green is my favourite colour. One day it met a big racing car and the little one thought it was a monster truck. The little racing car left and he looked right for a racing car but he couldn’t find one. He felt lonely. Then he met a racing car called “Jersey” They had a race to see who was the fastest and the little green racing car won. The he left the city and took a boat to the beach.


Her dress is chipped
Her lacy dress cracked
She still serenely smiles
Like she did on my Granny’s shelf
My child’s eyes drawn to her
Can I hold her?
Can I keep her?
Granny long gone
and now she dances on my shelf
and memories live on.

The Kissing Couple
Handed down carved by Great Uncle Wilfred
way back in time
as a little piece of the alps
loved by children
handy for the wine
always asked for by my grandson Emyr
Show me the kissing people Nain!


She was 4 months old when she came to England to her forever home.
I remember pocking her up from a van with other dogs in cages – she looked so sad.
She was so scared she was trembling.
As soon as she was in my arms I loved her.
We have been pals ever since.


(take from inside the book) In the swinging sixties, however everything changed and people could wear what they wanted, in their free time, like long flowing dresses and bare feet and wear flowers in their hair and go to wild parties and MUSIC FESTIVALS. It was the age of the hippy.

But I came from very strict family and I was at boarding school, so I wasn’t allowed to go to wild parties or music festivals,  although they didn’t much mind about the long flowing dresses and bare feet.


My family started moving between Scotland and New Zealand at the turn of the previous century. Since then many of us have gone to and fro. Some making permanent homes there and some spending years there but not staying forever. I was one of those. In the 1970s, I, my husband and our two very young sons lived on the North Island on a disused ostrich farm 5 miles away from the nearest sealed road. That sounds a bit mad but fun – and thats just the way it was.


This is a Roman coin I inherited. It’s worth €3! That’s right: 3 whole Euro. It’s hard to make out but I think on this side you can see Minerva the letters S & C. I always thought Minerva was holding an own but am no longer sure.


I left school devoid of all musical knowledge and skills. My grammar school thrust classical music down our throats at a time when I had just discovered rhythm and blues/rock in the early 60s I hated those lessons.

A few years later, as I walked through Soho after a business (boozy) lunch I passed a music shop and in the front window sat a cool looking solid bodied electric guitar, six strings, three switches and two knobs all for £12.50. Aware of the enormity of the transaction, I purchased the guitar and I’d like to say the rest is history. Well, it was but not as you might expect or hope.


Having young children there is a sense that the days pan by so quickly and those little golden nuggets of moments will get lost. I think/ hope my diary will help me remember these days – the good and bad.

Since they started talking I’ve used the back of my diary to note down many funny or significant things that kids say. I thought I’d finish with a few of these.

Nancy, on struggling to squeeze a piece of lemon on her pancakes. ” I don’t think the lemon understands my hands.” age 3 1/2

‘I know this park like the back of my hand…though I don’t think I know my hand that well.’ Ada, age 7


Black Rabbit is all black and a rabbit teddy. She is my kid. I stole it from her (big sister). I am sorry I stole it from you. I Iove black rabbit. She is special to me. She is a lovely kid but poos on my face. Black Rabbit has a white cousin. That’s the cousin…


I looked at the box on Christmas day. It was large for the piece of jewellery I thought I might get and not the right shape for a piece of clothing! When I opened it, to say I was not impressed was an understatement. This was our first married Christmas. Where was the great romantic gesture I had expected after so many months of marriage?How ungrateful you might say!

Now you may say that but I did not voice or show my disappointment. I gratefully accepted and uttered the platitudes expected of me and yes, if I am honest, I was pleased…as it was USEFUL.


This is my teddy bear I got when I was born. His name is toffee and he is 68 years old. I got him just after I was born in 1952. As you can see he is well loved and is rather worn out. My mum made him a sailor suit to try and keep him warm because he had lost his fur as he was hugged so much.


One big, three small.
Four there are one big, three small.
There the usual size, one the size of a ball.
All perfectly perfect in their own special way.
Two from work, one adopted and the other a stray.


I love my jumper
It’s yellow with a giraffe
It’s warm and cosy


I have a notebook
stuffed with things I want to write
and one day I might


Books by Violet