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I have a bit of a thing for jewellery. Actually, a big thing. Like the view you just can’t have too much of it. Little bit obsessed, let’s be honest, much to my hubbie’s concern. Whenever I travel, I usually pick up a piece or two of the local flavour. Not expensive things but usually colourful pieces that are typical of the place I’ve been. Nice for travel memories, and surely good for the local economies.

But I seem to have discovered a new way of adding pieces of jewellery to my overloaded collection, and Mr T is quite horrified. In my own defence, it’s been quite accidental.

It started on a small group cruise in Croatia. On the first day, I noticed one of the other passengers wearing a lovely pale blue/grey multi strand necklace. This woman dressed well and always looked lovely. But it wasn’t until the last night when she was wearing the same necklace that I commented on it.

‘I love your necklace.’

‘Have it,’ she said immediately, taking it from her neck.

Shock, horror. No, no, no. Don’t be silly – I was just commenting.

Of course, I kept desisting, but she kept insisting. It was very typical of her home country (South Africa) and was not expensive, she told me, and I’d love you to have it. No, no. Go on, etc. Spurred on by a couple of glasses of bubbles, eventually I took it, with some guilt but a tiny bit of glee.

Mr T looked at me askance in the morning when it saw it next to our cabin bed.

Are you kidding? You can’t take that. Give it back! he said.

I tried to at breakfast but she was lovely and still insisted I keep it. So I brought it back to Oz with me and I love it and wear it a lot and it reminds me of a friendly traveller with a kind heart.

Fast forward a few months and I’m with the ladies all dolled up in outlandish outfits for a screening of Absolutely Fabulous. As you do. One lady was donning six or seven necklaces, gaily clashing, which we discussed over coffee after.

I love that red one, I said. So unusual.

Have it, she said, passing it over.

No!!!!! I can’t do this again. But she insisted she never wears it (Ab Fab dress ups notwithstanding) and wants to divest ‘stuff’ and clear cupboards. Well, I couldn’t let it go to the bin, could I? So I accepted (with that guilt/glee thing happening again).

Oh, I’m clearing out my jewellery drawer, said another friend, prompted by this exchange. Have a look before I get rid of it.

So I did! When Mr T wasn’t looking, I came home with another three gorgeous necklaces, all – up to that point – destined for expulsion from their previous abode. To the bin or to a charity shop who knows, but surely it’s better to send them to a loving and appreciative home straight away? Right? Even though it’s getting fairly crowded in my drawer now. Spilling over really.

It was weeks before Mr T saw the latest acquisition, and again horror crossed his face.

Stop it. Seriously. You’ll get a reputation as a scab!

He’s really concerned that this is becoming a habit, or a deliberate ploy at least.

Is it?

Am I bad? Or just an appreciative receiver?? They’re so pretty!!! Not sure I will keep commenting on other women’s jewellery for a while though.

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