At home we didn't have any really old things, family heirlooms of any kind. Except for this one thing. A rush light holder. I used to play with it, it would feature in games alongside my stuffed animals as a kind of little old man. This little rush light holder isn't the one I know. It's exactly the same though, knocked up by some village smith, three legs, the flat pincers to hold the rush.
The actual light was made from the centre of those rushes, the ones that grow on moors or boggy ground with a little fuzz of brown near the top. I looked it up and apparently it's called the soft rush. I'd never heard it's name before. If you cut or split them you'll notice the inside is white and spongy, like polystyrene. People would cut the rushes , leave them to dry out a little then remove the skin and dip it into mutton or pig fat. Instant candle. I can remember my grandmother showing me how it was done. She had a special knife, it had a name. Sometimes I can't imagine that this is true. That my Mum lived in a house with no running water let alone electricity. On Wikipedia it states, this candles were still in use in parts of Wales into the middle of the twentieth century so it must be true.
These little cards have helped me out with a story more than once. And I get the same feeling looking at them as I do walking round the Tower of London. It's an instant and vibrant connection that makes me feel part of something bigger.