For Stories Yet To Be Written

In early September, my family whisked me away to a delightful cottage (a one time Calvinist chapel) in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside. This was my ‘big’ birthday getaway, plotted and planned with great secrecy.

With stunning views all around, we ate breakfast on the roof patio, took walks in the surrounding woods and fields and visited the quaint and historic towns of Battle (site of the 1066 Battle of Hastings) and Rye.

Room With A View – from the upstairs living area (c) Sherri Matthews

I didn’t do a thing: the kids cooked, cleaned up, arranged some meals out and eldest son’s girlfriend made a divine birthday sponge cake of lemon and blueberry with lemon-curd butter icing. They also kept me topped up with bubbly. They know their mum well, obviously.

Blackberries ripening, a sure sign of autumn…

With cards, gifts and a video slideshow of family pics put to a few of my favourite songs, I struggled to keep a dry eye.

Sussex Forest on our doorstep (c) Sherri Matthews

But best of all, my adult children gave me their gift of time in days filled with love, laughter, silliness and joy.

And this: a hand engraved ink bottle with ‘Stories Yet to be Written’ inscribed on the front, their personal message on the back…

(c) Sherri Matthews

They knew of my euphoria when I finished my memoir before this milestone birthday, but not of the strange lull that followed. They couldn’t have known how a few simple words so lovingly considered and etched on an ink bottle would lift me.

The power of the written word…

‘Get it out there, be like Nike Girl’, a friend recently urged me. ‘Just Do It!’  Not so out of reach, but the beginning of a new chapter.

The message behind the message my family commissioned for me, like the gift itself, is priceless. Not only because of their love, but for the philosophy of the person who crafted it…

Andy Poplar, founder of ‘Vinegar & Brown Paper‘,  tells it like this on his website:

‘Advertising creative gets burnt out by the industry.
Becomes stay at home dad.
Has an idea about etching words onto glass.Sets out to mend his head with [vinegar & brown paper].
As [vinegar & brown paper], I’ve spent the last 7 years taking vintage or iconic items of glassware and bringing them to life with the tools of typography, wit, wordplay and a slightly askew way of looking at the world.
From the humble British milk bottle to beautiful laboratory glass, nostalgic filled sweet jars to vintage mirrors, each item is individually etched in my studio in the North of England and it never fails to amaze me, that you can now find pieces of [vinegar & brown paper] on bookshelves everywhere, from York to New York.
Andy Poplar
Ideas etched in glass’


Holly Tucker MBE (Founder of Holly & Co , champion of small businesses,) interviews Andy on her ‘Conversations of Inspiration’ podcast: ‘The Healing Power of Becoming an Artisan ‘. Andy talks about leaving his city job, his struggles with mental health and his recovery through the fulfillment of his creative dreams.

My heart is full of love and gratitude for my family.

And I would like to tell Andy that my treasured ink bottle sits in pride of place on my desk in Somerset, inspiring the flow of words for Stories Yet To Be Written.


About Sherri Matthews

Sherri is a writer with work published in print magazines, anthologies and online. As a young British mum of three, she emigrated to California and stayed for twenty years. Today she lives in England's West Country, a full-time carer within her family. Her current WIP after completing her memoir is a psychological thriller.
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46 Responses to For Stories Yet To Be Written

  1. Happy belated birthday Sherri! Glad you were able to spend it with some of the people close to you. May the bottle of ink made and filled with love heal your spirit as you step forth into another chapter of life. On a side note, I was intrigued by your location to discover that the Battle of Hastings actually took place in Battle rather than Hastings! There’s a pun in there somewhere but I can’t trick it out…. 🙃

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello again, my friend, thank you so much for your lovely comment, great to ‘see’ you. Haha…yes, I was always sure it was fought in Hastings. Somewhere along the line, the name ‘Battle’ as the actual place must have got lost in the classroom 😉 Perhaps the pun lies in paying better attention and doing ‘battle’ to better my history 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. MikeM says:

    Wonderful stories yet to be written I am sure. Here is to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful Birthday treat, Sherri. It all sounds absolutely delightful. Love the ink bottle inscription. So thoughtful of them. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dgkaye says:

    Happy birthday again Sher. Omg, what a most perfect birthday. I could feel your joy through the pages. You are soooooooo blessed to have such a tight and loving family Sher. I know what a great mother you are, so it’s so nice to read that you are so loved and appreciated back. Hugs my Lovely ❤ xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Liz H says:

    Inspiring, both in the completion of your memoir, and in the loving support of your family. They totally get, and honor you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, what a joy, Sherri, to have a surprised, secretly planned birthday party for you. Happy birthday!! ❤ ❤ I can see the cottage is so very cozy. The wood where you went for a walk is breathtaking. And the ink bottle… what a great idea to have the message engraved on the front and back of the bottle. It's just lovely. I could feel your overwhelming joy.

    The bottle of ink is for you to continue writing, yes, your memoir is just your beginning. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Belated birthday greetings. What a special surprise. You are blessed to have such a thoughtful family. I love the view.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lynn says:

    Oh my goodness, what a beautiful gift and a lovely way to celebrate with your family. To be treasured, that’s for sure! Happy Belated!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Mary Smith says:

    What a fabulous birthday gift. Love the ink for stories yet to be written 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy Belated Birthday! What a wonderful celebration! I love how your family knows you so well to give you such a gift of love and promise.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Norah says:

    Happy (belated) birthday, Sherri. It sounds like a wonderful celebration with the best gift of all – time and presence. The so-cleverly-etched ink pot is the cream to be savoured. I look forward to those stories that have been written and are yet to be written. Best wishes! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy belated birthday Sherri! It sounds as though you had a fabulous time, with lots of loving attention. I love the ink bottle – what at thoughtful gift 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dearest Sherri, I’m so remiss in not wishing you a happy birthday until now! What a wonderful surprise your family had in store for you. It sounds magical from beginning to end. They obviously put a lot of thought and love into it. I’m so pleased you had such a joyous time of celebration. You have now officially entered the same decade as me, although I think that whenever we meet up we do enough talking and laughter for a couple of 20 year-olds. Long may our friendship last, even if we end up cackling together like old crones in our bathchairs 😉 Here’s to many creative years ahead, and to a long friendship! Lots of love, hugs and kisses, Sarah xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a wonderful message, thank you so much, dearest Sarah, and hearty cheers indeed to those years ahead, long and prosperous, of creativity and friendship ahead…and to the next time we meet filled with fun and laughter. Have a lovely weekend, my friend 🙂 Lots of love, hugs and kisses to you… xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. purpleslob says:

    I love their physical gift! Couldn’t be any more apropos! But the gift of their love, and time, and memories is indescribably precious. You are one blessed mum!! ❤
    Happy Birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Leif Price says:

    For stories yet to be written. Beautiful line right there. And memories will continue to be written too.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Leif, thank you so much for your lovely comment. Welcome to The Summerhouse, it’s good to meet you! Sherri 🙂


  17. Leanne says:

    Thanks for sharing your birthday with us! Your family is so sweet and thoughtful!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: For Stories Yet To Be Written — A View From My Summerhouse – Inspirational Leader

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