Bag in Hand
" His Indian mother would have applauded his choice to visit such a "smart" district, just as she would have fawned over the splendidly attired "go for it" Russian brunettes he had met on his journey here. She had spent her life inching her way to the summit of the rich and fashionable, without ever quite managing to get there. her favourite store was Harrods of Knightsbridge. She would peruse the papers for notice of its annual sale. Then, she would charge down to London and jostle her way to the marble-floored food emporium in its basement. once there, she would disgorge all her saved shillings and ha'pennies to invest in their most affordable product - invariably a salt shaker (also on sale). she would then insist on half a dozen free Harrods bags -forest green and bearing the name of Harrods in tasteful gold lettering with, of course, the Queen's insignia and the motto " Purveyors to the Royal Household since 1910."
These bags, which were the real investment, would grace her arm all year round. She carried them proudly, like an expensive haute couture accessory she could covet in her dreams."
- Extract from Chasing Aphrodite.
To me, as a child, she was the very incarnation of Catherine the Great and Genghis Khan rolled into one. You did not argue with her. You bore it all without a murmur and licked your wounds in lonely silence.
As I grew up, there were two choices open to me. Either I rebel or I become a subservient puppet to her every whim. I chose being the rebel. It resulted in my failing high school and missing university. It took me over 300 lessons before I passed my driver's test. She would buy me the most expensive of clothes, well above what was appropriate for my age. From family photos taken from when I was five, I was never without a tie around my neck and wearing bespoke suits. Today you will only see me in jogging pants or shorts.
Two of her habits - being a news junkie and toting haute couture bags - never left me.
Wherever I travel , I pick up "Harrods" bags and always ask for extras,. These I carry round with me daily. They store my bills to pay, a diary and some cash. Today, I am sporting a forest green bag with gold lettering from Hatchards of Piccadilly , booksellers since 1797 , bearing the royal crests of The Queen, Prince Philip and the Prince of Wales.
A year ago, my lifetime independent mother was struck down with dementia. Applying to her lawyer for a copy of her will, they sent a note of instructions from my mother. " You will find the original copy of your mother's will in a green Harrods bag on a hook behind her bathroom door covered over by her dressing gown."
Despite the horrendous shortfalls in basic needs of its citizenry, there was no sign of self pity but an inspirational energy if a visitor like me could put away the past and a longing for a bygone age where all power and privilege had been torn out of the black African’s hands .
Tyrion Lannister suggested people were not bound together by banners, castles or mighty kings but by stories of their heritage held by “The Keeper of Stories”.
He had met Laura in Calgary. At first he had found her reserved and introverted. Gradually, she opened up as she gained more and more trust in him. But she kept her conversation with others to the barest minimum. Eventually, the penny dropped. He began to understand her reticence towards speaking to others.