When I was sprung from RAF national serice ("Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!") I swore I would never again drink stewed tea, share a dormitory with 23 adolescents, leave a stupid order unquestioned or acquire anything made of brass.
Brass polishing was part of a process intended to convert me from a barely sentient version of homo sapiens (ie, your average teenager) into a Yahoo jelly-fish. Can't complain; it worked. To this day the smell of Brasso evokes a sixty-year-old memory of sitting down to watch a colour movie about the perils of VD. Come to think of it, that film worked too.
Thus in the division of labour chez Robinson the task of rendering metal bright and shiny falls to VR. As it happens we have no brass but we do have silver and, to her credit, VR accepts the task uncomplainingly.
It's a mixed bag, some predictable (sugar tongs, fish knife, cream jug, tankard, button hook) some almost exotic. The decorated item (bottom right) is the belt buckle VR wore as she nursed the damaged and poorly in several London hospitals. Less visible is a spoon and - I like this as a concept - "pusher" with which someone long forgotten marked the issue of my given name. There's more of my christening paraphernalia with that handled and initialled mug next to the tiny flower vase, top right.
The slender stemmed goblet ("Only silver plate," said my insensitive brother-law.) celebrated the ruby wedding of VR's parents. To the left is the only thing of monetary value, an oldish bon-bon dish on a tripod.
The circular object, top left, symbolises my 44-year career: a coaster once twinned with a glass decanter, now smashed - a freebie from someone aiming to corrupt my journalistic purity.