Annie’s jug

Annie's Jug 1994 Copyright Paula Carnell

This was painted in 1994.
Annie was my first or second employer and a friend of my mothers. Annie still owns & runs a residential home for the elderly in a small Dorset village, near to where I grew up. When I was around 14 I started help as a ‘care assistant’ for the then seven residents. Annie was often away or busy, so I mainly worked with two local sisters in their fifties. One of them was particularly scary and it was through her that I learnt to cook.

It may have been one of my first mornings there. Annie had to pop out & so I was being shown the ropes by the sisters. We would visit each resident, empty commodes, clean the wash hand basin, make beds dust & Hoover. At morning coffee time whilst making up snack trays for the residents it became apparent that neither of the sisters ‘did lunch’ and they presumed I was brought in particularly to help cook. I remember being told to ‘put the broccoli on’, which is exactly what I did. I put enough broccoli for the residents and us in a pan, and turned the electric ring on. Needless to say fifteen minutes later all the alarms were going off around the house! I had not put any water in the pan!!
Despite this shaky start, I continued to work at weekends and holidays at Annie’s and fell in love with the whole team, residents, staff and particularly the beautiful Victorian rectory and gardens. Annie was a great boss, expecting and achieving the best from her staff and filling the house with happy residents. I learnt many recipes from her and learnt much about people and families, and about growing old!
As my art career developed Annie was a great supporter, she bought some of my ‘O level’ pieces at my first exhibition aged nearly 17. As the residential home expanded, walking the corridors became a tour of my work over the years. I left when I went away to college in 1987, but continued to keep in touch.
When I started my business ‘Possi’, Annie became a much valued shareholder. One day during a visit she mentioned that she was looking to re decorate her office and would like a painting to go above her desk. I spotted this jug and asked if I could use it for the painting.
‘Annie’s jug’ was born. It became a very popular Possi greeting card, and was also licenced to the New York Graphics company who published it as a print.
Not long after painting this, and after returning the jug, I saw a similar jug in a charity shop. I bought it and used it for the painting ‘Finnian’s flowers’ .

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