By Alice Twemlow | March 26, 2020
Florence Hooton

Florence Hooton (the author's maternal grandmother), 1912-1988.




In the summerhouse, in the orchard, 

dried flies and badminton racquets, 

slackening. Soft fumes of sun-warmed 

creosote and mildewed cushions. Laps 


spanned by your sewing box. You 

stitched. Pins in lips. I sorted: thimbles, 

pinked ribbon, buttons, sequins. Each in 

their correct compartment. Our chit and 


chat like a shuttlecock. Viking light came in 

long, low slices across fens cleared by 

Dutch Elm Disease. You caught it in 

your Elnette-set, ash-gold hair, and smiled it 


down to me. Your sagging elbow skin 

irresistible. Holding the shape of my molding 

pinch. For a while at least. When I was told, 

in art class, I didn’t cry. But everything is 


clinkered. It is remarked that your wild, 

whooping laugh, the line of your chin, and 

ambition do live on. Also, that I pine and paint

too rosily. But even though perspective 


broadens with knowledge like how, 

because you were touring, you never visited 

mum, only five, in hospital with ears so sore, 

she cried for bars and bars; I still karve 


my way back across the water to look 

for you, to tell you my stories, in 

the last shard of that late afternoon, 

in the orchard, in the summerhouse.


Dr. Alice Twemlow is a Research Professor at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) where she leads the Design Lectorate, “Design and the Deep Future,” and an Associate Professor at Leiden University where she supervises PhDArts students whose research explores, or is conducted through, design practice. www.alicetwemlow.com