The elegant pot, the one on the mantel, need not have been involved in the plot at all – same for the slate I mentioned earlier that I fished from the Lym one summer because it caught my eye as unusual, or rather as useful in the way that small edges of slate with a nail hole in can sometimes seem useful. But, there they were, alongside your letter, which arrived Tuesday, the three of them, like life long friends.
It is glazed clay; off-white, ochre; belly the size of a pear. A long, thin, pinched neck ending in a pair of pursed lips – tiny, like a shell, perhaps. The flat-bottom is unglazed and scratched with an h (or b?). The numbers 1947 being the date -I assume – that it was turned by some never-known potter, an amateur, I hope, one evening beneath a bare bulb in a cellar or back shed. I found it on a worn doorstep on Crellestrasse when I was last over that way (which would be two Octobers ago). Whether it was discard or had just been forgotten, I couldn’t say, but the mid-afternoon light was spangling in the trees and the quietude of the pavement and the sight of the leaves, orange and green, and the heavily-penned blue front door, fixed everything in place, attracting the magpie in me.
I perched beside it, making some pretence of tying my lace, before picking it up, quite nonchalant, sensing that it would be just-so on a mantel, should I ever have one.