I loved my Aunt Polly dearly. She was always so eccentric living out in the country, her little cottage always festooned inside and out with bright colours. I loved that she always had the most interesting sweets and jams, the oddest collection of nick-nacks. It seemed a shame now that she had to had to move into a home. My mother told me that she’d had a fall and broke her hip and so she wasn’t spry enough to bound up and down her stairs, or to even walk the small hill to Whitchurch to collect the daily paper.
So here we stood, in her little room at the home. They told me that the cottage was going to be sold to a wealthy Londoner, who would do it up ‘properly’. All the nick-nacks would be gone, sold for a few bob at auction to people we’d never meet. And now here was my Aunt Polly, seeming small and shrunken and sapped of life in this tiny room with it’s white walls, and pale brown bed-stead and white covers, and the pale, pine brown dresser. In fact it seemed the whole room was furnished in sterile white, except for Polly herself. My little Aunt, with her gammy hip, sat in the corner of the room [on a white arm chair] dressed in the most fabulous purple dress, with a bright red hat and orange boa. She flashed me a wicked grin.
“When I am old,” she said, quoting from a famous poem, “I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go.”