Light of my life

lampDo you have a possession that has been with you a long time and that you’d never part with? Mine is, surprisingly perhaps, this replica French art deco lamp.

I bought it when I moved to Australia as a young journalist in the late-1980s and, for me, it symbolised an exciting new life. I think it was one of the first things I bought in Australia, and it was expensive. But I had to have it, and it’s been with me ever since, to Thailand twice and to many different addresses and styles of house.

I loved art deco style (and still do), but in my 20s, I thought it THE most beautiful style. I’ve since broadened by ideas of what good style is, but art deco is still up there.  It is the reason I love the style of Napier in New Zealand, which is the best preserved art deco-style city in the world. Sadly, this is because there was a major earthquake there in 1931 and virtually the whole town had to be rebuilt.

But back to the lamp. It has been on the mantlepiece of the formal sitting room in an Edwardian house I owned in Kew, Melbourne. It has been on a side table in two marble-floored apartments in Muang Thong Thani and in Bangkok, Thailand. It has been in a flat above a fish and chip shop in the coastal town of Sorrento, Victoria (Australia).

The frosted glass backing has been broken and replaced twice. It wasn’t broken in transit, as you’d expect: you can undo the glass and pack it separately, and when reassembling it, if you do it back up too tightly, the glass breaks. But I haven’t done that for some 15 years now.

For the last 10 years or so, it has been my bedside lamp. Every night when I turn on my lamp, I find a source of comfort, like a dear old friend. If I wake in the night with a bad dream or a worry, I turn on my lamp. It’s bright enough to read by, but low enough to go to sleep by if you want.

Chances are, I will have this lamp forever.