This idyllic image was taken not in some sun dappled meadow but in our communal garden, in Notting Hill, rather early on Sunday morning. Sholto was picking daisies to make a necklace for Esmeralda. He's not, at two and a half, quite dextrous enough just yet - it's hard, splitting the stem just so, threading the head through - but I have no doubt that we'll get there soon, especially if the grass never gets mown, which I very much hope that it won't. And then Esmeralda will be able to wear something like this:
They're so fleeting in their beauty though; I remember the disappointment, as a child, of a daisy chain that one had concentrated so hard on, wilting and becoming quite limp after what seemed like only moments. Fortunately, there are some jewellers who have taken the daisy and made a more permanent decoration out of it:
Alex Monroe daisy stud earrings - there are also rings and pendants but I love these simple studs, they're so sweet. (Also, I can't wear necklaces for now. The children throttle me with them.)
Annoushka Granulation Daisy Ring - this is one of the 'stacking' rings, but it occurs to me that it would also make a very pretty wedding ring for anybody having a lawn wedding in the right months.
Christopher Thompson Royds pressed flower collar - this is probably my favourite, and not only because the artist is a great friend of mine and made my wedding ring and the tiara I wore to get married in; it's my favourite because it remains truest to the original idea of a daisy chain, even if, as you can see, there are buttercups and other wild flowers mixed in. The flowers were gathered in the lanes of West Sussex and carried home under Sholto's buggy (for it was when he was a baby that Christopher first started making these) pressed, and then, after the appropriate amount of time, taken out and arranged before being backed on silver.
Here's another one by Christopher. I remember trying the necklaces on as they were being made - I felt like Titania in A Midsummer's Night Dream:
Obviously the hateful fantasies and snake skin aren't so much what I was thinking of, but Oberon was rather cross when he said this; the point is where Titania was sleeping. And I know A Midsummer Night's Dream was set in Athens, but sometimes the descriptions sound so very like England in the early summer.
And finally here is an edgier version by Christopher - he's done the flower necklaces as cut-outs, in oxidised silver.
Sholto doesn't get much (any) pocket money yet, so can't buy any of these for his sister sadly; he's simply going to have to practice making the real thing. But for anybody else who wants a way to capture the spirit of the daisy, I'd recommend one of Christopher's collars and booking tickets for A Midsummer's Night Dream which is playing at the Globe over the summer. For appropriating and paraphrasing another of Shakespeare's plays, they are 'such stuff as dreams are made on.' And the prettiest way yet of eternalising the ephemeral.