It’s St Andrew’s day, so it seemed appropriate to share the most authentically Scottish decoration in my possession. (Plus, this one is robust enough to be floating around the Christmas boxes without wrapping, and it’s a long time until we actually put a tree up.)
This bauble depicts the paddle steamer Waverley under way in a body of water that I can’t identify. It came in a hamper of Waverley goodies which was a present from my father a couple of years back. There was a tin of shortbread. I now use the tin for storing herbal teabags. There was a tube of biscuits. I now use the tube for storing pencils. There were probably other things with less durable packaging. And there was this bauble.
As a family, we’re very fond of the Waverley. (My great-grandparents were shipwrecked on their honeymoon when the paddle steamer Empress struck a pier at Calais. They survived the experience, as perhaps may be inferred from my existence. It hasn’t bothered later generations.) We’ve gone round the Isle of Wight and along the Dorset coast on her. You can go down and watch the engines pumping and pumping, and the smell is just glorious. I’ve dashed across London to see her steaming up the Thames under Tower Bridge. There’s something immensely moving (pun not intended) about this grand old ship still doing the thing she was built to do, seventy years on. Something that was built to serve, still serving.