I bought my first bag from Scaramanga a few years ago. We’ve travelled a long way together since then. For years I had searched for that elusive thing, ‘just the right bag’.
It needed to be just the right size, and shape to carry inside a book for writing, and maybe the book I am reading. The strap needed to be just the right length so that it was comfortable to carry.
I paint, I write. I paint in my studio, but when I write I wander the pathways on the land, and those inside my head, and I need something in which to carry pen and paper. So, my first Scaramanga bag, the 12 inch leather saddlebag, and though I have now and again been unfaithful, distracted by bright colours, or glitter, my Scaramanga bag is still my one true love when it comes to bags.
And we have worked together before, Scaramanga and I, to promote my books and their bags, side by side. It makes sense to me because the books are all written in books carried in their bags and somehow, well, bags and books just fit together.
So, I have drawn in and wrapped a couple of books, East of the Sun, West of the Moon and The Wild Swans, both written and illustrated by me. Scaramanga are putting them into a leather saddlebag and both will be given away. I’ve added some cards too, for good measure. Jackie’s books can be bought at Solva Mills.
And then I thought, well, what exactly do I carry in my bags? So I thought I would show you.
First the leather saddlebag:
Today there is my notebook for writing, posh, leather bound, with marbled endpapers, and a Waterman’s fountain pen.
There’s cartridges, for a Lamy pen and a Watermans, both black ink.
My phone, and earphones, not because I listen to music, but because I read on the train and was saying to my daughter how irritating it is that people talk to you when you are reading. “They don’t talk to people when they are listening to music,” I said. “ So,” said daughter, “put some earphones in. They will think you are listening to music.” Wise child.
There is the key to a friend’s house in Abergavenny.
A jigsaw, which usually gets given away to someone. 40 pieces, made from wood with one of my pictures on.
A small tin of business cards.
Some conte pastels ( even though I seldom use them)
Needlefelting tool, incase of emergency needlefelting (?!)
And last but not least, the bone of a seal ( flipperbone, smooth. Why, because you never know when you might need a seal’s bone).
( There are dog poo bags too, but I took them out of the photo)
And in the backpack?
At the moment it has;
Labels with string attached for leaving in places with strange notes or drawings on.
A bag, beautifully made for me by my friend June, that at the moment has badges in, but sometimes contains bears.
A Swiss Army knife.
A tag from Edinburgh Book Festival that states I am an author, incase I forget.
Some business cards.
An emergency needlefelting tool ( see above)
A small tag from Edinburgh, The Golden Hare Bookshop.
Scaramanga’s business card.
My knitting ( a scarf for my mum for Christmas)
A copy of Sometimes a Wild God, signed by Tom Hirons and Rima Stains, because you never know when you might need some poetry.
A gold pencil.
And soon it will have a pad of watercolour paper, a Winsor and Newton series 7 no 4 brush, a small tin with The Cat and the Fiddle on that belonged once to my partner’s mum, in which there are just enough paints to paint a bear or a dragon, or a hare, and my pencil case, for I have to go to London, then Richmond, to paint in the Alligator’s MouthBookshop on Monday 14th Dec.
I am hoping by then I will have finished the book I am reading, because although it will fit in my bag, it’s a bit heavy.
So, what’s in your bag?