I was doing some housework today (yes, amazing, isn’t it?!) and was just dusting the mantelpiece when I knocked over a little figure on which was balanced a fragile gift a friend had given me… the inevitable happened… Did it fall gently onto the lovely soft carpet? No it flew in a graceful arc onto a small table and smashed itself into smithereens.

I try to remain stoic in such situations… no-one was hurt, it was only precious for sentimental reasons, and it actually is replaceable… It’s still annoying and upsetting though, but I try to remain calm.

My Dad was very fond of glassware. as a scientist he had to make a lot of his own instruments for his experiments. He loved anything to do with glass, and often used to go round house auctions with my mum, looking at glass objects although he never bought anything, he wasn’t an acquisitive man. He had a glass, a cut-glass whisky tumbler which he had inherited from his dad; it was made and inscribed by Thomas Webb. He didn’t often drink at home, but when he had a little whisky he would really enjoy using his special glass.

One day he was in the kitchen making his breakfast; the glass was on the side where it had been carefully washed and dried. He took the tomato ketchup to put on his bacon and… and he put the bottle down on his whisky glass. He was cross, of course he was, and upset because it was a connection to his dad and also a beautiful thing… but he said nothing… just a stony silence as he cleared up the pieces.

Years later I bought him another Webb glass, although it wasn’t signed; it was as near as I could get to how I remembered the original, which had been taller than a normal whisky glass, and very fine thin glass with only a small amount of cut glass bit at the bottom. The glass I bought was nowhere near as elegant… maybe every time he used it he remembered the smashed glass, so in a way it was still there unbroken, in his memory.

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