Welcome to a dive into the Sharing things archive and a selection of 5 episodes where the objects are not just starting points, but deeply woven through the lives of our guests. What do you hold close? In the third episode of this collection we revisit the conversation between Rosie Taylor and Melanie Reid and talk about poetry, animals, empowerment and hardship.
This episode is hosted by Amalie Sortland, who joined us un the summer of 2019 and stayed until March 2020. She graduated in politics as part of the class of Covid in 2020.
Rosie Taylor is the incoming LGBT+ Officer for the 2019/2020 academic year. She was motivated to run because she wanted to remove barriers for students to feel safe and comfortable as part of the university community. She also wanted to be the representation she wished she had when she was feeling disillusioned and confused about her sexuality. Along with her activism, she is also about to start the third year of her Biological Sciences degree.
One day Melanie Reid’s life imploded. She had it all – outdoorsy, career orientated, a journalist and editor in her best years, walking the mountains of Scotland near her home and skiing in the Alps. Then, in a dramatic twist of fate, she fell off her horse in 2010 and broke her neck. The accident has left her paralysed from the neck down, although she has partial use of her arms. She is described as "outwardly bright and breezy, but with more than a hint of vulnerability". She graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1980 with a MA Hons English Language and Literature. Before the accident, Melanie was an award-winning columnist at The Herald in Glasgow before reporting and commentating for The Times from Scotland and then on the Comment pages. After the accident, she has continued to write - The Spinal Column appears in the Times Magazine every week.
Each episode of Sharing things is a conversation between two members of our university community. It could be a student, a member of staff or a graduate, the only thing they have in common at the beginning is Edinburgh. We start with an object. A special, treasured or significant item that we have asked each guest to bring to the conversation. What happens next is sometimes funny, sometimes moving and always unexpected.
Find out more at www.ed.ac.uk/sharing-things-podcast
This episode of Sharing things was recorded before the Covid thing.
Images designed by Chris Behr. They are part of his Nice Things icon set.
Amalie: You're listening to Sharing things, a new University of Edinburgh podcast from the Alumni Relations team about the University community, which we want to get to know a little better.
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: Hi, I'm Amalie, I'm a fourth-year student and I'm the host of this podcast. In Sharing things I talk to alumni, staff and students about their stories. Guests have all been asked to bring an object as a starting point for discussion and the object can be anything important or significant. It can represent an event, person, decision, experience or it can just remind them of something. Let's see where this takes us.
In this episode you will meet Melanie Reid and Rosie Taylor. Melanie is a journalist and writer and she left Edinburgh University in 1980 with a degree in English literature and she's well known for her weekly Spinal Column in The Times which is about disability and her life as a disabled person. Rosie is the LGBT officer for Edinburgh University Students' Association and she's about to enter the third year of her biology degree. She's the founder of WellComm Kings, which is a wellbeing and mental health society for students. We talk about poetry, animals, empowerment, hardship and more.
Welcome Melanie and Rosie to Sharing things. How are you?
Melanie: It's lovely to see you meet you.
Rosie: I'm good, I'm hot. It's hot today but I'm good.
Amalie: It's very hot today. I thought I would start by asking you what have you brought to the studio and why?
Melanie: Rosie, you go first.
Rosie: Ok, so I have brought a book with me, it's a book of poetry by Walter de la Mare and it's called 'Peacock Pie'. So this book has been passed down through my family on my dad's side. I'm not even sure how many generations because my dad tells so many fit that it could be five, it could be 20, it could be one. But when I grew up this book was very special to me and when I was younger my dad used to read aloud to me a lot from the book and that's probably one of the strongest and most positive memories I have from my childhood and it's just something that really grew with me and as I grew up that I really took to places and brought with me to university.
I moved about six and a half hours north from down south for university and I don't really have much contact with my family other than my dad, so this was a really particular thing to bring with me, I guess, a thing that was really important to me and it's probably the only tether that I keep to that place.
Melanie: Like bringing your childhood with you.
Rosie: Yeah, kind of symbolically I guess. Yeah and it's just, I have a very strong and very vivid sensory memories connected with the book, but also my dad is a journalist as well and he studied here too and he's a writer, so I think it's very symbolic, sort of, of me and of what I grew up around- the ways that he kind of got me to read and taught me to enjoy poetry.
And poetry is something that when I came to university I started getting into again because I spent the time before like mentally unwell and not really reading or writing and I brought this with me and I read it again when I came to university from cover to cover sort of and kind of fell back in love with it.
Melanie: And do you have it on your bedside table?
Rosie: I do actually, I had to remember to bring with me when I came today. But erm, yeah I keep it around and I do flick through it. I think poetry is something that you don't necessarily read cover to cover, piece to piece, back to back, but with this book I just do.
Melanie: I know some people who read one poem a night, they have a big book by their table.
Rosie: Like 365 a day.
Melanie: Yes precisely and they read a poem every night, which I think it's...I aspire to that. I never do but we love them to but they're organised.
Amalie: Do you have a favourite poem?
Rosie: Yeah so there's one poem that's very short and it's called 'Silver' and it's about the way the moonlight makes things look, but Walter de la Mare's poetry style is very lyrical. I wouldn't say it's very clever and that's interesting because my dad is very... he studied literature and he likes I guess what you call writerly texts- texts that are about the craft of them being created and are more clever about the way that they incorporate ideas whereas I think Walter de la Mare is very kind of just a pleasure read, it's very simple.
Melanie: It's easy, it's accessible.
Rosie: Yeah, exactly.
Melanie: When you're little, that's nice.
Rosie: But there's also a poem where erm, a sort of a long story short a robber comes and he's burgling a castle or somewhere very wealthy and he takes all of the goods, all of the apples and the cutlery and the silver and the gold and he takes the children and it's described in a strangely eerily romantic way and when I was younger it was strangely soothing. So erm I always, I always kept going back to that I think when I was growing up.
Melanie: Am I right in thinking that Walter de la Mare wrote 'The Highwayman'?
Rosie: Yes, it has 'The Highwayman' yeah.
Amalie: What is the high woman?
Melanie: Oh, the highwayman came rolling. What was it. Rolling rolling up the to the old inn door. How does it go? It's kind of, it's, that's there in my childhood.
Rosie: I wouldn't know the exact words but yeah it's very...
Melanie: The road was a sliver of moonlight across the darkened moor and the highwayman came, came rolling, rolling, rolling up to the old inn door.
Rosie: Yeah it's very like rhythmic his poetry, I think it's the way he writes is very in sync with like a lullaby in a way, that's probably why I kept returning to it as a soothing feeling.
Melanie: The reason I loved that poem was because it was about a man on a horse.
Rosie: Ok yeah.
Melanie: From my childhood because I was pony obsessed. Shall I show you my special object?
Amalie and Rosie: Yes please.
Melanie: I was pony obsessed so I what I brought with me, and you could hear the bit clanking, is a snaffle bridle [pause] for a horse to wear, obviously, and it's a very beautiful item which I should have polished before I brought it here but it's been a bit redundant since I had my accident and I haven't ridden any but when I was a little girl my granny had a pony and I, I fell passionately in love with ponies and horses.
It's the only love affair that's really lasted all my life, you know, guys have come and gone, but ponies and horses endured and this bridle is, it's a Stübben bridle, a German make, and it cost a lot of money.
It was a present for me for my 50th birthday by a friend and it was the kind of thing I would never have bought for myself but she bought it for me and I, it was my treasure and you know I could take it apart with my hands without... it was like being blind I could do everything with that bridle, I could strip it down and clean it and put it back together again and then two years later when I was 52 I am I fell off a horse and broke my neck and everything went, you know, I lost I lost my life and my body and but the love of horses endured but in a rather damaged form and I think I sort of kept the bridle because it was a lovely item, a totemic item and I keep it hanging just outside the kitchen door, on the ramp into the kitchen, and I kind of look at it most days when I go past and sometimes I'll try and smell it because it smells of horses and leather and the thing that gave me great joy all my life but also kind of ruined my life a bit I suppose. But that's a negative way of looking at it.
Amalie: So what do you think about horses now?
Melanie: I watch from afar now. I feel a great sense of regret and distance and love and I still want to get up close and smell them. The smell of a horse is the most lovely sweet beautiful smell that endures, smell of grass, grassy breath and warm, warm air being blown down grassy nostrils. There's nothing like it and I yearn for that but I was hurt so badly and destroyed so badly that I had to- I was going to say step back, I can't step- wheel back and be more dispassionate about it.
Obviously I went back to horses at the beginning after my accident but my hands are so damaged they don't go flat, they're like claws and I can't even have the satisfaction of stroking a horse's coat any more. I've sort of had my message, it doesn't work any more.
Rosie: So a level of fear there, do you think, around being around horses?
Melanie: Yeah and that's where a love affair makes you stupid, as everyone knows who's ever been in love, and after my accident I regained enough function to be able to sit on a horse again, precariously, and I went back to riding for disabled completely dependent upon the goodwill of the horse to hold me in place and not to do anything stupid.
I mean I could hold the reins just about but I had no balance and I was going great guns and I was really enjoying going and it was great rehabilitation for my core, I was developing much better recovery from my spinal injury because I have an incomplete injury and then one bad day the horse took off, heard a monster behind the door and ran away and I got thrown in the air and broke my hip, fell off broke my hip. And I kind of thought, I went through so much grief at that point so much pain and I put my family through so much and I was so embarrassed, totally embarrassed that I decided, 'You really have to be sensible now, so no more.' In truth I've never gone near them again.
It's just that little poignancy of a lost love affair but, you know, you compensate, you get on and I love being around young people and I love reading books and learning again. If I wasn't still working, I'd love to come back to university and study something.
Rosie: You can come if you like.
Melanie: Yeah, what should I study? What do you think I should... You're a scientist.
Rosie: Yeah so I study biology, I do zoology, I love animals too so it's probably a really big passion. I started off thinking I'd do genetics and then I started doing some genetics and that quickly went out the window, so maybe don't do genetics.
There's so much that you can study now, so much, and there are so many different ways of learning. We're going through some restructuring at the moment anyway so the way that we look at knowledge and how we think about what is knowledge and what's worth learning is changing a lot and I think that as that happens more and more really interesting courses kind of crop up because you can take outside courses.
Here I took some social anthropology in my first year and that was like really fun and then I found myself wishing that maybe I'd done that and this year I took some forensic anthropology which is really, really interesting.
Melanie: Oh wow.
Rosie: So I got to do labs where they bring out real - sounds really gross but like - real human bones. There's so much there, so much history in talking about different cultures and different ways that we've treated humans and stuff in the past that I find really interesting, so I think that you can study whatever you want but you'll always wonder if you've made the right choice.
Melanie: I think anthropology is actually something I would like to come to do because it's so big and so deep and it's about people. It's about where were all from, I love it.
Rosie: I think then as well that you can never stop learning with something like anthropology and with these kind of subjects where it's about history about culture and about the way that we interact with those things.
Melanie: What amuses me now is kind of about what sort of set texts there were for English literature now and all the stuff, the kind of theories of literature that I was...were my meat and drink in the late 1970s. That's like another age, it's like the Ice Age or something and now it's amazing how you know 45 years casts a completely different perspective on a cultural subject and suddenly what I thought was modern literature is now like it's ancient 20th century literature. They wouldn't be able to call it modern literature anymore. It's that rebadging and refreshing which is really exciting too because I kind of want to go back and refresh but now I think nah so fed up with words will go learn about proper things.
Rosie: It's interesting you say about the way that literature is changing because my dad - hopefully he won't mind me saying - he's in his 50s now, so he came to university a while back, who knows how long maths isn't my strong point.
Melanie: Dark ages.
Rosie: But yeah he sort of comes along and he'll visit me and he'll be like, 'Everything is so different' and I'm like, 'Well yeah, that's how it works' but there's also like a lot of sadness when he says that. A lot of like nostalgia for the way things used to be.
Melanie: Yeah because I think however modern and young you try to be as you get older, there's still a bit of you rooted in the past and I mean if he was at Edinburgh he'll be like me, you see yourself walking around corners, you glimpse yourself in the distance when you're back in your old university town and you think, 'I want to be there again'.
Rosie: That's a really lovely way of putting it, yeah.
Amalie: Do you feel rooted in the past?
Melanie: I can't be now, I can't be now, because my situation has changed so dramatically but I do have great happy nostalgia for my time here and the wonder of this amazing city. I remember places: Chalmers Street and the boyfriend then. I had the boyfriend then, the Norwegian boyfriend [to Amalie] like you, who was studying architecture, yes, so I spend a lot of time loitering in Chalmers Street hoping he'd come out of the architecture department.
[Sharing things theme music]
Rosie: Would you say you read more fiction or nonfiction?
Melanie: Fiction, it's like sort of watching junk telly, it's kind of like I don't have time, I want facts.
Rosie: Hmm, I flip between fiction and nonfiction a lot I think. When I was younger I really really fell in love with every form of fiction that I could possibly get my hands on.
I read a lot as a child and I think mainly because my home life was very far from perfect and it was very much like an escape and I really like just sunk into and just kept going and my dad was always like encouraging me reading and so when I did see him he would buy me books just whenever I wanted because he was he was like this is a good thing, she's not like, doesn't want Barbie dolls or anything which he would probably have been a bit less keen about. And I really like bit into every kind of fiction I could get and sometimes the more removed from reality the better and then as I grew up I think I preferred nonfiction quite a lot and now I kind of sit in the middle but I also read a lot into sort of queer theory and critical feminism and different factual books and stuff like that, so I think it changes as you grow I guess and as you discover new interests.
Melanie: I heard somewhere that people of your generation just love self-help books, do you do devour them at all?
Rosie: No, I can't say I like, I do. I don't get any joy or pleasure from reading them and I think that you...
Melanie: They don't give you anything.
Rosie: Especially I find that a lot of the rhetoric and a lot of the stuff that they kind of put out into the world can be very disempowering for people but can also be quite ableist and as someone that has always, since I've known, had a mental health condition, a lot of self-help is about empowering you to help yourself but sometimes people just can't make those changes and that can be quite like an alienating discourse.
I think as well like the nature of it is I grew up around my mother who read self-help books all the time but was still not a very nice person. I think that some people get a lot from reading them and some people feel really as though they know what they want but when they read in a book and it's an expert telling them that it will work, it can feel very validating and that can be really really empowering and really helpful to some people especially when they're quite lost so I understand the value of them.
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: You mentioned empowerment, what makes you guys feel empowered?
Melanie: I'll talk about after I became tetraplegic and in a wheelchair and I lost the capacity for everything. I mean my right hand allows me to drive a car and make myself a cup of coffee etc etc feed myself, so I'm fortunate in that regard but I was empowered within three weeks of my accident because I was given the opportunity to write about the situation I was in.
I was like a war correspondent reporting from the frontline of my own body and I wrote a weekly column which was published in The Times and lots of people took something out of it but I have to say the person who got the most out of it was me, probably, because it was my emotional life raft but it also kept me earning money, you know, I was the main breadwinner, my husband was semi-retired. Doug, my son, he was in second year here when it happened. And, you know, my income was really important and it was this sort of absolute trauma of thinking we'll have to move or we'll have to sell, you know, everything I have to give up and continuing to write meant I continued to earn my salary that empowerment I think gave me a massive sense of self-worth and the energy and optimism to keep working, to keep living, to keep living so I could work and still do what I had always done.
As a woman I've never for a minute not worked, you know, I'm one of these second wave feminism, you know, the kind of hard line never, never didn't work, you know, went back to work within two days of having a baby that kind of macho stuff which is crazy but that was what you did in the 1980s.
So work structures me and empowers me, and take it away from me at your peril. What about you?
Rosie: For me, coming to university was a very empowering feeling, mainly because I didn't think that I would get here. I am a very stubborn person and to me it was kind of a part of getting to university was proving people wrong, I think, and it worked, I'm here so there's that. The most empowering thing I think for me is the ability to sort of support other people and that sounds very kind of like 'Oh I'm such a good person'.
Melanie: No I absolutely understand.
Rosie: But watching people around you grow from knowing you is the single most I think gratifying feeling. Like for me, friendship is very empowering because I kind of came to university thinking well I've come from this position that I'm in at the moment and I want to come and just be honest, because I don't think that not talking openly about why I'm here, what I've gone through to get here, it's not going to work because I was still very much in a place when I arrived where I needed a lot more support than I would have done maybe five years ago or maybe two years from now.
And I just kind of thought well in university there are so many people that chances are one of them is going to like you, so I just kind of, I just kind of do what I want and then hopefully people who don't like it will go away and people who do like it will become my friends. And then that friendship actually was so empowering because I had done me and I had done myself and done all things I wanted to do and people weren't sort of saying, 'We don't like this.' People were like actually wanting to spend more time with me and that was a brilliant feeling and then that friendship branched out into all of the different communities that I spend time and whether it's thinking about spending time with other students who identify as disabled, spending time with other students who identify as LGBT or queer and spending time in different places with very different people that come from all over the world and for them to be able to build a lasting connection with you, because there's something about you that they find to be valuable, is one of the best ways of countering that inner critic I guess.
Melanie: Can I just say you have an amazing strength about you, I feel that across the table- you look amazing and...
Rosie: Oh I might cry, I won't cry...
Melanie: You do, I can understand why people would want to be your friend, you really look like you...
Rosie: I think it's definitely something that comes from difficulty and I can say that I feel the same way when you're speaking is that I'm like whoa I wish I could put things in that way and this is not just a podcast of Melanie and I complimenting each other, but erm it's true I think that when you go through something very difficult and in your case very very challenging is that now for you to sit here and speak so openly about what you've been through and speak so openly about how you felt the time, there's a real steel that comes through it if you see what I mean.
Melanie: Both you and I have had to have extraordinary strength to be able to be here to sit and talk like this, to get to where we're at and I think in our own ways, you through your work at the university and me through my writing, we offer life rafts to other people and we probably help put their lives in perspective.
You know I get so many emails, tweets, whatever, from people saying you know I used to moan at my son for leaving wet towels or odd socks in the bath or you know not locking the door and she said, now I don't care about these things because I put them in perspective, you've made me value what really matters and I think when you see someone, like you, who has you know really really risen above stuff that would crush a lot of people it makes unthinking people checks them, it's like having a little tug on your dog collar you know you think, wow, ok maybe I have got a pretty good life, so maybe we're valuable to society in that way you know.
Rosie: Do you think hearing the feedback from people about how they've been affected positively by the things that you've done or said, do you think that that's very empowering?
Melanie: It's nice, it can get a bit overwhelming, I start to feel a little bit weighted down by people being nice and kind of wanting a bit more of me.
I have to sort of shut myself away a bit and I, part of me would love to stop the column that I write but I am aware how valuable it is in terms of raising awareness of disability and empowering other people who are spinally injured and also just kind of knocking on the door of people's consciousness, able-body consciousness and it'll be the equivalent for you with people that have full mental health and good health, it's like knocking on the door and saying hey look it's not always perfect but it's not always as easy as you're having it so appreciate that things are ok for you.
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: You're both very outspoken about your identity and your experiences, what motivates this?
Melanie: In my case it was money.
I had to find somebody to write about to keep earning my salary and I didn't know anything else to write about other than write about my condition so I grabbed the opportunity.
Rosie: It's a very valid motivator.
Rosie: I can never know how to answer question I think it is more that I can't imagine not doing it.
So I had like an interview a while back with this project from Glasgow and it's looking at wellbeing among young Scottish people and young people living in Scotland and one of the questions that she asked me was, if you hadn't have moved up here to university and you were living back down south do you think you would be out? Do you think you would be outwardly queer or dating whoever you wanted? Do you think you would talk more about mental health? And I had to really think about and I was like, you know what no, like I probably wouldn't have thought any of these things.
I wouldn't have realised that actually I'm wasting all my time on people who I really don't want to be with because that's what's expected of me and I wouldn't have been very honest about what was going on with me and about how I felt about treatment within the NHS and how I thought about day-to-day life in general and it really took me aback a bit I guess in that I had to think I got that opportunity and that's great for me but there are so many other people who are probably just doing what they think they should be doing and there's a very indescribable feeling when you know you aren't bringing your whole self to the table and having people listen to you and validate you and that entire holistic sense of your being whether by omission or intentionally not telling people about who you are and having people respect and accept that, you can feel like that will never be an option and that's a really really sad feeling, like it's devastating feeling and I think that people that don't have to think about different ways in which they are facing oppression or facing difficulty or facing accessibility issues or facing on a day-to-day discrimination that might be more subtle or more overt, they don't have to think about how that might feel and it's a very hard point to name, it's a hard place you can't really point to yourself and go it's here and this is where it hurts.
It's a really difficult one to dredge up and I think that I got so much from coming to university and being surrounded by people who were like 'just do you', I'm really saddened by the fact that other people might not ever have that said to them ever because it feels now like a completely different movie from the one that I was in before, it's just strange.
Melanie: Isn't that the wonderful thing about a university community that that sort of self-expression is allowed, validated, liberated, made possible.
I mean I thought you said was very beautiful there about the wonder of bringing your whole self to the table. I think one of the reasons we're too cynical in the world today, we're so cynical about our politicians etc etc, there is this great sort of poison in public life, it's because people aren't honest and they don't bring themselves to the table, they just bring the bits that they think are going to make them wonderful or succeed, there's a lack of integrity.
Rosie: In a sense that's very different in that while I have really a kind of strange decision as to whether to bring that piece to the table, because it's not something that's visible and where the people that aren't able bodied don't really have that choice to decide today I'm going to be this person, you know, wherever you go it is part of you.
In the same way that what other people are facing is part of them that they might be able to not talk about it and it's kind of a much more unavoidable part of the identity that you hold, you see what I mean.
Melanie: We should, we should cherish each other's difficulties as well as the easy bits.
[Sharing things theme music]
Amalie: You mentioned animals way earlier, do you have any?
Rosie: Don't tell my landlord, I have a, I have a hamster now. Her name's Muffy the Hampire Slayer.
Rosie: There are a lot of studies that talk about like the release of different hormones when you're around animals and when you have that I think they call it 'caring contact' with often more vulnerable beings that really you kind of have to look after.
It's also the same with domesticated animals like horses and this bond that you form and there's a lot of study around the effects of those interactions on depression and on people with anxiety and I find it to be a really soothing thing, I think that all the research often shows the same, but having an animal and having something you have to look after, it's kind of an accountability check that you enforce upon yourself, right, so I'm like I'm having a really bad day but like I've got to feed the hamster, have to stick around, I've got to be here, got to feed the hamster.
And it's something so silly that I think is so effective is this realisation that sometimes you don't even want to take care of yourself but you have to also take care of other people and other things, whether that's emotionally, pragmatically, financially in the case of writing a column and making sure that everything stays in check, but your ability to be there for other people in varying capacities of many types is something that is very embodied in the sense of a small animal with big eyes and a cute little face that it's like it's very difficult to fail that, it's very difficult to fail one of those dependence.
Melanie: Do you stroke him, or is it a her?
Rosie: It's a her.
Melanie: It's a her, oh sorry.
Rosie: I stroke her all the time, yeah, she's very, she's very active, she's pretty scarily active actually.
Melanie: Because there's science behind it.
Rosie: Yes it's oxytocin release and actually it's the same thing that mothers get and babies get when they're held as children and when mothers hold newborns.
It's really interesting all the research into it but it's also kind of why you know you see these really weird YouTube videos where other animals will adopt baby animals of different species, it's the same principle I think, it's very interesting that we form these bonds and they're more about giving ourselves a role of responsibility of caring of almost kind of like ability- I can care for this thing and I choose to- but you can also find yourself playing out really kind of odd patterns in terms of whether you feel a need to take care of something, whether you're that like kind of overburdening figure, but I think that all universities should do more with Therapets. Have you heard of Therapets?
Melanie: But they have them, don't they?
Rosie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, they have them here and we also have llamas that we have like, alpacas actually, alpacas, sometimes but because of the studies that show the sort of positive effect on reducing stress, it's become a really big thing.
Melanie: Do they lead the alpacas into lectures and things or, I mean, how does it work?
Rosie: I wish they would do that.
You should write to them as an alumni and say, 'I suggest...' but they have them in like George Square Gardens.
Melanie: Oh really, they've been let in?
Rosie: Yeah, yeah and cause the satellite campus King's Buildings, which is where I study and there's also like Easter Bush and the medical schools and stuff so they take them out around those and people can stroke them around exam time, which is nice.
Melanie: Wow. I mean I knew dogs went visiting but llamas.
Rosie: Yeah, llamas and alpacas and stuff.
Amalie: Maybe different from a horse though.
Melanie: Well they've done, you know they've done amazing stuff with horses with guys who suffered PTSD, ex-military people who've been destroyed by what they've seen, they have rebuilt their lives through bonding with horses and riding for good mental health.
Rosie: Yeah, yeah.
Melanie: They've turned the lives of some of these guys around.
Rosie: Yeah and they have PTSD dogs as well and very interesting that kind of research because I've had PTSD since I was younger and I find that something like that, I think it's the dependability of an animal and like almost that way that they can't kind of say something nasty to you but the fact that they're always around is really reassuring for people I think.
Melanie: They don't judge you in any way, yeah, they just love you. Well, does your hamster love you?
Rosie: She does love me, she loves food more but she loves me, yeah.
Amalie: I have one last question for you guys: so if you could associate your object with one word, what would it be?
Rosie: I think I would say soothing.
Rosie: I just I think I have such positive memories connoted with sort of like being younger and this is a very like clear vision in my mind of it being kind of like a summer's day, much like today, but very late in the evening when the sun is kind of going down and the temperature is dropping a bit and you're like you spent the whole day being really hot, so you're really lazy and you're just kind of moping around and as a kid that's my memory is kind of that and a big tree outside of my house that the sun light would go through and into my room and then my dad reading a poem to me and he's got a good reading voice, he knows that, he's got very plummy accent so and then kind of falling asleep to all these visions of like gold and silver and trees and highwaymen and all these kind of fantastical figures...
Amalie: And children being robbed...
Rosie: Children being robbed from their beds, yeah. It's like a strangely soothing feeling, I think that that is the best way to describe it and the fact that it's all in words is that wherever you are, those memories are still connoted with those words.
Melanie: I remember the line in The Highwayman- it's 'The highwaymen came riding, riding' not rolling, riding.
Rosie: Yeah, it's a good it's a good poem, it's very Zorro, it reminds me of.
Melanie: My word is love because this, this lovely but of leather craft work lying here is very beautiful to look out but it's symbolic of, of a love affair with horses that started when I was tiny and stay with me through life.
And led me into great difficulties but if it hadn't been for that love I don't think I'd have been so fulfilled and it kind of taught me about loving other things too, you know, love people and I now I now keep going for my family and the love I feel for them and the bridle's kind of a link to that somehow, you know, I've given up some of the silliness of the horsey disease but the love remains and I've got a lot more to hand around to the people who help me and look after me, that's what I think.
Amalie: Thank you, thank you so much for being on Sharing things.
Melanie: It's been good.
Rosie: Yeah, you're very welcome.
Amalie: Thank you.
Rosie: Thank you so much.
[Sharing things theme music]