My mum and her sister, my auntie Gilla, are staying with us in our cottage this weekend. Gilla has bought me a really special gift. It is a tablecloth, embroidered by my grandmother in the 1930s, and made from flax grown on my grandmother’s farm.
We spent the evening listening to their stories of growing up in Germany during and after the Second World War. Where they lived was occupied by the Canadians after the war. They said their first English words were ‘Have you chocolate?’, asked frequently to the Canadian soldiers. They also discovered tonight that, unbeknownst to each other, they would both ‘accidentally’ miss their train to school so that they ‘had to’ hitch lifts from said Canadian soldiers!
My grandmother made this cloth for her ‘bottom drawer’, the trousseau traditionally made by girls in preparation for their married lives. Embroidered linens tended to form the basis of these collections. I also have some beautiful embroidered homespun linen sheets that she made, but as they are on my boys’ beds and rather crumply I’ll photograph them another day!