One of my earliest memories is of sucking my thumb while cradling a piece of Royal blue silk to my nose, breathing its exotic mustiness. I wouldn’t sleep without it and clung on until it was a tiny shred of its former self. The former self being a large, men’s handkerchief fashioned from World War Two parachute silk. The silk was obtained by my mother, Jessie Martin, nee Chapman, who in the year this paper was made, was serving in the W.A.F. Throughout my childhood I (wrongly) believed that she had packed parachutes as part of the war effort. In fact, she supervised twenty-two men did the parachute packing. When my mother corrected my version of events, I remember being absurdly disappointed and it was only as an adult that I realised what a huge responsibility her job must have been.