My haven: The former Blue Peter presenter, Valerie Singleton, relaxes in the study at her home near Sherborne in Dorset
Valerie Singleton at home in her study surrounded by some of her favourite possessions
1 MUG SHOT
In early 1963, when I moved into my first flat, my mother and I went to London’s Bermondsey market where I bought this teapot. It’s nothing special, but it started me collecting teapots and mugs. I’ve got a wonderful collection of about 40 mugs from all over the world, including Cuba, the Caribbean, Moscow, Amsterdam and Miami. I had 50-100 teapots too, but before I moved here from London in 2005, I got rid of all of them except this one.
2 TOP DRAW
I was a presenter on BBC2’s The Money Programme in the late 80s, and when I left I was presented with this cartoon of myself – it must have been done by a BBC cartoonist. I’m depicted sitting at the desk with big hair, chunky jewellery and bright white teeth. Working on that show and hearing how many people had fallen into debt using credit cards horrified me and I decided to cut up all my cards, which was a liberating feeling.
3 I AM THE WALRUS
Of all the places I’ve been to, Alaska is one of my favourites. It’s wild and beautiful and I’ve been three times, once in autumn and twice in winter. People tend not to go there in wintertime so the place is empty, but it’s quite dangerous as there are moose on the roads. These tiny owl, walrus and crane figures were made from walrus ivory by Inuit craftsmen. Whalebone is lovely too but you’re not allowed to bring it into this country.
4 SNAP-HAPPY DAD
My father, Dennis, took this beautiful photo of my mother, Catherine, just before the war. Mum is sitting on the famous 199 Steps in Whitby, North Yorkshire. Dad was a Wing Commander in the RAF and we moved a lot when I was a child. He was stationed at nearby Driffield when this picture was taken. Dad was a very good photographer and when I was in my teens he set up his own photographic company. In 2000, I went and visited this very spot.
5 BLUE PETER BADGE
This board holds my collection of badges – everything from Greenpeace to The Boat Show to, of course, Blue Peter badges. Even though I’ve fronted plenty of high-profile shows since I spent almost ten years making things out of old loo rolls and sticky-back plastic on the show, I’m still remembered best as a Blue Peter presenter. This board is full of lovely mementoes – one day I think I’ll auction them for charity.
6 DEAR DIARIES
I’ve kept a diary everywhere I’ve travelled, from my first skiing holiday at 20. One of my favourite trips was in the mid- 60s when a friend and I drove through Europe in my little Morris Minor. We saw Venice and drove down through Yugoslavia. My dad was in a nursing home near here for the last few years of his life and sometimes I’d read my travel articles to the elderly residents. Even now I still enjoy reading my diaries back.
Valerie is the face of simplicITy – PCs and laptops designed for the over-60s. Visit www.simplicitycomputers.co.uk