A weekend in Stockport with my family. Coincidentally, Alice was also in Stockport for a university friend's party, but this isn't her jug. Alice is named after my grandmother Alice whose story is straight out of Family Secrets. She died when I was just eight, and this jug has always been on a shelf in my Mum's house. But in all those years, it's never held any flowers. As Alice was the person who taught me a great deal about gardens and flowers (she had lupins and forget-me-nots and a little winding path), I thought it was the ideal container for the tulips I brought, and even Mum agreed once I'd put it down in a safe place.
A weekend in Stockport with my family is also a powerful reminder of northern humour. I cried with laughter at the stories my brother and sister (twins who were born when I was just eight) told about their teenage years, the stuff I never knew about because I'd already left home. Seeing the jug, hearing the stories, driving up the dour A6 pointing out childhood landmarks to my Alice, made me realise I'll never be a fully paid-up southerner. Unlike Tony Bennett and San Francisco, I didn't leave my heart in Stockport but there's definitely some part of me that's still up there.