Monday, 11 February 2019

The Gifts That Keep On Giving

In the 1880's, the Scottish author J M Barrie moved to London. He lodged in Great Ormond Street, right behind Great Ormond Street Hospital. In 1904, he wrote the stage play Peter Pan, and in 1911 the story appeared in book form. For many years Barrie had supported GOSH - and in 1929, he gifted all the royalties from the book to the Hospital. 

Amazingly, with a sprinkling of fairy dust, in 1988 the House Of Lords amended the Copyrights Act so that GOSH could receive royalties in perpetuity. 
What generosity!
Fifty years later, than Barrie's gift, a similar gesture was made by Abba. 1979 was declared by the UN to be the International Year of the Child, and in January of that year, the group released Chiquitita [it's a term of endearment, meaning 'Little One'] as the first single from their album Voulez-Vous.
Already each member of the Swedish quartet was as rich as Croesus, so they donated half the proceeds from this song to UNICEF. To this day, that raises over £4million per annum for the charity! 
[Thank you Liz, for sharing this lovely story as we sat for hours in a traffic jam on the M11 recently, singing Abba songs to amuse Rosie!]
Gifts that go on 'sparking joy' long after the day you first receive them are great. An elderly friend here is moving, and clearing her flat. She gave me a simple pale wood  chair. My SIL in Surrey gave me two books of upholstery fabric samples at Christmas. The designs are in sets - 4 or five in each colourway - around 100 samples in all. They have a lovely 1950's Lucienne Day feel about them. I offered the chair to the girls, and Steph said she'd like it for her bedroom. 

"Do you want me to make a tie-on cushion pad? If so, what colour?"
"A shade of grey?" 
"Any particular shade? I have around 50 in my remnant bag"
"A middle grey - not charcoal dark but darker than Manchester clouds"
I made a thin cushion pad from some spare wadding, and covered it. I chose two fabrics from the same palette [each sample is slightly larger than the chair seat - so Steph could choose which print she'd have on show]
Steph prefers the grey circle pattern to be on top [I tied that on properly] I can give it to her when we meet up in Norfolk on 22nd Feb.
Thank you Joyce, than you Denise. The chair and fabric will go on giving pleasure for a long time!
Below - Abba, Chiquita, Unicef Concert 1979
[If anyone gives you one of these fabric sample books, be careful when you dismantle it! The long staples are really vicious]


  1. Gifts that keep on giving are the best gifts of all, I think! The chair looks lovely with its new cushion.

  2. I knew about J M Barrie, not about Abba's gift though. How generous of them both.


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