I am nearly three years old. My father is carrying me on his shoulders down to the river to feed the swans. I walk part of the way and fill my pockets with banded snails, Cepaea Hortensis. Feathers. Small treasures. My father was for a time a shepherd. We learn the names of the trees, of the flowers and birds. My mother collected the broken glass from church windows, my grandfather a glassblower in the Netherlands.
I am half Dutch. Stories of war and of loss. I am half English, trout swimming, birds singing, summer green and endless, leaves falling in autumn.
In my pocket, a leaf, the brilliant iridescent blue banded feather of a jay.
These are the stories that make up my life.
In my hands a memory. On the table an accumulation of small treasures. Poetry stones of clay, creatures of the forest, antlers, a wren. Windows of brilliant cast glass – colour, diamonds of light. By my side a granddaughter, small stones, a leaf, a feather.