This is the doll

costume doll

that my father bought me when I was very small. He was a teacher accompanying Surrey schoolchildren on a cruise around the mediterranean and visited “the Holy Land”. He made the trip twice, each time he bought me a doll – this one is from the first trip. He also brought back an Ali Baba linen basket – I can still remember the smell of the rushes – and a leather pouffe.

She is battered and moth-eaten and her skirts are no longer stiff enough for her to stand up, but she still has beautiful hands. I keep her in a box to keep the moths at bay, and she leans against it, looking towards the window.