EVERY framed print or painting on display in our house depicts a time in our lives that brings back fond memories.
None of the pictures are of high monetary value, but from an emotional point of view, each and every one is a treasure.
One or two represent gifts from close friends here in Spain, whilst there are depictions from our individual past lives and many more since our time together.
In particular we have a number that were painted by a Bermudian artist friend and are representations of scenes from those beautiful islands, where the Princess and I first met.
At this time of year, I take a nostalgic look at the collection of pantomime posters that decorate one side of the stair well – eighteen in all – each with its own mini catalogue of stories to tell.
On the other side a collection of prints and sketches of a particular area in Cornwall where I spent two happy years of my life, that include a framed facsimile of a Great Western Railway poster for the town of Looe where I lived.
A portrait in pastels of my wife executed by my best friend, and a very special painting by my late Dad of Dunster village in Somerset, are just two of the other reminders of our past lives.
But in one of our guest bedrooms, there hangs a tiny unprepossessing pencil drawing of a thatched cottage that has a special significance. Unsigned by the artist, but bearing the legend ‘Wickhambrook 27/6/53’ in one corner.
It was spotted in a junk shop by a friend some years ago, and he immediately recognised it as the house where we had lived since 1976, and he purchased the drawing for a pound.
The 27th June 1953 was a Saturday, I checked, and was the day an unknown artist decided to sketch a pretty little cottage known then as ‘Grimwoods’.
The fascination for me is not so much what the drawing portrays, but what it does not, because as the artist applied pencil to paper, a skinny seven year boy was probably playing in the back garden on a council estate in Berkshire; artist and boy totally oblivious of the others’ existence.
And yet many years later the boy and his wife would be the owners of that same house and spend three happy decades of their lives there.
So as I look at the picture, I also think of myself and the invisible silver cord that even then linked me and that unknown Suffolk artist.
If walls could only speak, people sometimes say. Ours do. In volumes.