American author Jim Ainsworth has written a charming piece on his blog, entitled Granny's Buttons.
He records how his wife retained his mother's old spare button bags after she died:
My wife Jan spent a great deal of time caring for Mother in her final years. She cherishes the small things Mother left, things valuable only to those who loved her. Jan is a quilter, and she especially loved Mother’s collection of buttons.
For Christmas this year, she decided others needed to share this legacy. This is the note she wrote to the women and girls in our immediate family. The button bags were given to Mother’s granddaughters and great-granddaughters.
His wife's note to the next generation in the family begins:
Granny was very frugal, as were most women of her era. As garments would wear out, Granny would cut off the buttons before disposing of the garment, saving them for future use.
The buttons on your bag are some that she saved. She would have thought it very special that they were placed on a bag made just for you, her granddaughter, with special keepsakes inside.
Not a lot to do with canals, but I found it most charming, and - as you can see - it has a lot to do with buttons. This counts as relevant to the subject of my blog, I think.
My own Mother wasn't a clothes button collector, although being brought up in WW2 she was frugal in her own way. Granny Buttons acquired her soubriquet from her routine of always bringing packets of chocolate buttons to her grandchildren.
If you want a canal connection, here's another heartwarming story:
Over five years ago I reported on how NB Emerald was burned by vandals at its moorings near Wolverhampton - and it only had the necessary 3rd-party insurance - owners Dave and Julie never imagined they'd be the target of arsonists.
The distraught owners were homeless, until fellow narrowboater Dave Pokhan stepped in to organise not just a collection to help rebuild it, but to arrange sponsorship from local businesses.
Yesterday I passed Emerald, now beautifully restored. Apparently it's now going to be called M2, or is it Em II? It was hard to tell with our brief and shouted conversation as I passed.
It took 18 months of restoration, but they got their home back, and more beautiful than before. It seemed churlish to ask them about insurance, but I'd love to know that side of the story.
Anyway, here's how it looks now - lovely, although rather more mauve or taupe than emerald.