Some people are really good at making birthday and Xmas wishlists. I suck at it, simply because I’m pretty happy with my lot. I know it’s cheesy, but the experience of spending time with friends and family really is better than gifts.

However, there are a few possessions I would rescue from a Cape Town fire. They’re reminders of life experiences, special days and people I love.

  • My jewellery. I house it all in an art supplies box. None of it is really valuable, but certain pieces are talismans of memory. The flower necklace my friend Leanne gave me. The Geraldine Fenn lion pendant my husband gave me for our first anniversary. The Fossil watch my parents gave me on my 21st birthday.
  • My degree. A BA in Politics and Journalism from Rhodes, it reminds me that I once perfectly understood Marx’s theory of historical materialism.
  • My surfboard. My friend Chris gave me my mini-mal and it’s the board I learnt to surf with. It really is the ideal board for a 5ft 6in woman who lacks co-ordination. Every time I look at it, I think of early morning coffee, chats, and laughter as I wiped out (again).
  • My MacBook. Okay, so it’s a very material possession, but the reason I treasure it is because I saved for two years to buy it – cash. I did not charge it to the credit card or deduct it as a business expense. It’s wholly mine and I adore the aesthetic functionality of it.
  • My wedding album. I’m an incurable romantic and it honestly was the best day of my life. It’s probably also the best I’ll ever look.
  • My shells and pebbles. It drives my husband crazy but I always collect them when I’m on the beach. My pockets bulge. Eventually I have to choose just one to take home. I have many smooth pebbles from West Coast weekends, a few perfectly formed conical shells from Wilderness, and a pitch-black stone from Ag. Ioannis beach on Ithaca.
  • My favourite recipe book. Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros. My friend Robyn and a few other smart, beautiful, wonderful women gave me this before my wedding. Everything I’ve ever made from it has turned out perfectly.
  • My moleskin. Every poem, story, thought and idea starts here.
  • My copy of Dune. One of my favourite books of all time, my friend Kelly gave this to me when we studied together. She truly believes she can change the world. I’ve never met anyone like her.
  • My iPod. Because life needs a soundtrack.