Sheffield's iconic Castle Market is to be demolished to make way for a park. It shouldn't bother me, I live in New Zealand now, not South Yorkshire, England, and yet I feel a pang of nostalgia for the old familiar things. I bought my satchel there, on a shopping trip with my great aunt May.
I've always felt my satchel to be something of a lucky charm, despite the frequency with which the stitching has come undone, and last year I was proved right when a story it featured in won Short Fiction's Seventh Annual Competition, having been illustrated beautifully by Jo Davies.
Jo Davies' illustration of my satchel for Short Fiction #7.
Jo had not seen a picture of my satchel but drew her interpretation from the description in my story, "While Women Rage in Winter", and generously gave me the resulting art work, for which I'm more grateful than she could possibly know.
The Satchel of Castle Lovetot
What made you outlast all others, baby?
The tapestry and canvas were just fad.
But you I used and often pushed aside
because you had a broken buckle,
you snagged a hole in my cardigan,
and you had a habit,
when I ran, of flapping like a cancan,
losing things, yet still I clung to you.
Five pounds you cost in ’86.
The stall in Castle Market was hung
like a camel in a caravan
with dozens like you, but my heart
was set on you because I loved
the way your skin felt against my knuckles.
Old enough to appreciate you now,
I caress you. Daily, let you ride my hips.
There's a great history of Sheffield, including the lovely named origins of Castle Market, in Carl Lee's Home; A Personal Geography.