For a long time, I couldn’t find this piece of remarkable jewellery. So I was very pleased when last week it turned up well hidden and well protected in my chest of drawers. It was a great surprise many years ago, when my mother came round for our customary Sunday lunch and handed me a present. It was wrapped in quantities of tissue paper and just stuffed into a very ordinary paper bag.
My mother said, “Be very careful, it’s very special.” Then she said, “I’ll tell you the story of how I got it: I was on a bus going to work when there was a big traffic jam and the woman next to me started chatting to me. As we were talking I noticed that she was wearing some very pretty beads, and I remarked on them because I like jewellery. The woman said that her daughter had made them in the Philippines and had sent them to her. I admired them and then she suddenly said, ‘she’ll make some for you if you like.’
“Yes, I would love some, but you must make sure that they are very big because my daughter likes enormous jewellery (so true) and then the bus moved on. We didn’t see each other on the bus for another six months!”
Then my mother said, “Last week the same lady sat next to me and said, ‘I’ve been looking out for you. Here you are,’ and handed me this gorgeous necklace.”
Naturally, my mother wanted to pay, but the woman would not take anything and wouldn’t give her address or even her name. I don’t think my mother ever saw her again, but I absolutely love this necklace. Unfortunately I only have one jumper that I can wear it with, which is now over 20 years old. Time to buy a new one, possibly, because I certainly don’t want to stop wearing these beads, made specially for me by a total stranger.