Monogram X with roses – a sweatshirt for a 5 year old


Embroidered X monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Missing my country bus journeys with spring greenery and floral awakening, I was overjoyed to  find a wonderful green grocer in Cirencester selling trays of early bulbs  – especially those little Tête á Tête daffodils and tiny narcissi, both of which are ideal for a small garden like ours. Two days running I bought as many as I could carry and now I have 2 tubs planted up waiting for a bit of spring sun to speed them on their way upwards. Then yesterday, our local florist had some little pink tulips, so what could be nicer? Now, please, no snow! (which is a temptation for the weather as Cheltenham Racing Festival is now only a week away).

Sweatshirt with embroidered X monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Perusing the map of my journey to Cirencester and doing a bit of googling, I discovered the family home of an old, dear and now dead friend, Nick Robinson, who was the Robinson bit of Robinson Constable Books. Gorgeous in lots of senses of the word, Nick was tall and handsome with masses of thick, dark wavy hair, pale skin and blue eyes and was ever ready to financially support friends who he knew were interesting enough to write books  – even if in at least one case no book was ever forthcoming.  He was a rare creature, an aesthete with not only a canny business sense but also a beating heart. I first met him in the 1970s on the boat train to Paris one new year’s eve and then, though a Cambridge man himself, he would appear at our house on the Thames near Folly Bridge in Oxford from time to time  – it being about half way from Cambridge to Cirencester. He published my daughter’s first book Muhajababes which told the story of her travels and described social life and customs she encountered in the Near East in the early years of the century (including in Syria when Syria was moderately accessible, very beautiful and undamaged by subsequent civil war). Nick’s death in 2013 came far too soon. As the second son of three, Nick knew he would have to make his own way in life and chose a career in publishing, starting with Apollo Magazine, then moving to Chatto and Windus before starting his own imprint which he later merged with Constable, Britain’s oldest independent publisher. His elder brother Henry inherited the family house and land, Moor Wood  Farm, near North Cerney through which my bus has been passing every day, and now I discover Henry and his wife Susie have made Moor Wood home to The National Collection of Rambling Roses, which brings me nicely round to connecting pictures and text! Talking of which, this sweatshirt is one of the last of the 2021 Christmas presents – a decorated X for my granddaughter in the style of an ornamented manuscript.

(Apparently there is a difference between rambling and climbing roses, though it’s not easy for the lay man to tell, especially in purely visual terms. Flowering time is the thing to note – if it repeat flowers through most of the summer, it’s a climbing rose, if it just flowers once, usually in June, its rambling.)

Detail: Sweatshirt with embroidered X monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Sadly our local independent coffee serving bookshop, Suffolk Anthology, closed down at the beginning of the year. Helene Hewett started the business up in 2015 having retired from her previous job as a GP and her shop was a terrific focus for those of us with literary inclinations, including putting on its very own literary festival in the year before lockdown.  Then, the other day on our walk into town we saw something that brought joy to our hearts – a shop refit that promised to be neither coffee shop, nor estate agent nor beauty parlour, but a bookshop! And, though in the opposite direction to where the  Suffolk Anthology was  it’s still only 10 minutes from our house. Joy!

Sketch for sweatshirt with embroidered X monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

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  1. Posted March 7, 2022 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    That’s a lovely monogram – and I’m fairly sure the difference between rambling and climbing roses will be immaterial to the wearer!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted March 7, 2022 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Rachel. You’re right about no one – possibly apart from horticultural specialists – caring about the difference between rambling and climbing roses. I was just surprised there was any difference at all.

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