Tidying up the bedroom this morning I flung some spare buttons into the pot where they usually go, only to find it was full to overflowing with at least six years worth of buttons – probably more. There was nothing for it but to sort out which I might need and which belonged to outfits long since sent to the local hospice shop. I then realised it wasn’t the buttons taking up the room so much as the wrappings they now come in. As I set to emptying the monogrammed envelopes and plastic sachets of their contents I found that the buttons they concealed became not just manageable but also much more desirable.
Not being in the slightest bit ‘crafty’ there is little chance I will ever make them into an artistic collage or sew them on some dainty piece of knitting, but I remember my Mum’s old button box and how it was always an object of fascination. We called it a box but it was an old sweetie tin, heavy in the hand and with a distinctive rattle, its lid too tight for me to prise off. When a grown-up was persuaded to open it for me, its treasures and mysteries kept boredom at bay on many a wet afternoon: the fabric button with the missing eye and the old piece of sealing wax as engrossing as the shiny brass buttons carefully kept for re-use.
So instead of throwing away my buttons I’m going to keep them for future generations. Now I just need a nice old-fashioned tin for them to rattle in.