My husband Alan chose this brooch for me in Persia in the 1970s. At customs, he said, ‘I have a trinket.’ Trinket is not a word you would use when describing an emerald and diamond brooch, but the customs people said, ‘Go on through, we’re not interested.’
I didn’t exactly steal this ashtray after a lunch at the Jockey Club. I said, ‘Please could I have this?’ and put it in my pocket as I said it. I love racing and I was smoking 80 cigarettes a day, so it was useful, but I was terribly embarrassed afterwards and gave it back. Later they gave it to me as a present, which I thought was sweet.
My father Arthur left me the corner cupboard in his flat – it was full of all my grandmother’s things, including these 18th-century Meissen figurines. There was a terrible fire in my flat and I lost a lot, but these survived.
I like antique furniture, but I’m proud of my granddaughter Gigi [Barker, the furniture designer] who made this delightful wooden stool. It lives with me in my bedroom.
My husband Alan was headmaster at The Leys School in Cambridge from 1958 to 1975. Picasso’s son Claude [then aged 17], who was staying with mutual friends, spent a lot of time with me and helped in the kitchen. I was fond of him and he made me this collage.
I thought, ‘What do you give your rich friends when you haven’t any money?’ I decided to make needlepoint cushions. I made this one, saying ‘Chacun à son Gout’ [meaning ‘each to their own’], for my son Adam’s late godfather Michael (who had gout).
I won this Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cigar Smoker of the Year Awards in 2014. I smoked cigarettes from the age of 12 in the pigsty because I didn’t want my mother to find out. I gave them up, but I still have the odd cigar.
When I was the Mayor of Cambridge, I turned the space in front of the town hall from a car park back into a market square. I bought this little eagle from one of the market stalls and gilded it. It always reminds me of happy country people who got their market back and a lot of very cross car drivers.
I have three ministerial boxes from the House of Lords. This one is for being a government whip. I bought them as mementos and had to pay quite a lot of money for them. I had a wonderful time working for Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
- Baroness Trumpington’s autobiography, Coming Up Trumps, is published by Pan Books, price £8.99. To order a copy for £7.19 (a 20 per cent discount) until 21 January, visit you-bookshop.co.uk or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15