Jack and I went to Big Yellow Self Storage today with the van. I have two days of van work coming up. I can’t use the thing if it’s full of bric-a-brac. I went and got a starting deal on a storage pod, giving me time pressure to get the stuff sorted, and a chance for Jack and I to touch base with what I’ve managed to get hold of, through the frame of Christmas Carol.

We have the most amazing haul of tacky Victorian plates. They’re all extremely patriotic, these plates. Pictures of Victoria and Albert and Gladstone and Nelson and other statesmen of the time. Men with muttonchops looking constipated and women with bonnets looking as if someone’s standing directly behind them. These are simultaneously wonderful and awful plates. Christmas Carol this year will probably involve the audience eating from these authentic Victorian pieces of decorative nonsense, loved by patriotic Scrooge, no doubt. Although as a precautionary measure I might ask someone if any of the plates are worth loadsamoney as they’ll likely get used hard in Carol. If there are loads with value then we have a budget for Beowulf! I suspect they’ll have very little value though. They’re just costume plates. Dressed up to look fancy but not actually fancy.

If you’re a ceramics enthusiast then this is a goldmine of interest. I’d love to learn the provenance of some of this. It’s lovely to know that this plate collection, maintained by theatre people, will find a life in theatre. I almost want to thank the lost owners for curating it for us. I think they’d be thrilled to see it go to good use. I would be. I’m going to invite their kids to see Carol and hopefully to eat off their plates.

We took our time to look at things, and to photograph them, and still got everything packed in reasonably efficiently. I took a lot of photographs. Sure there’s plenty of pure and simple junk. Also a lot of interesting looking junk – stuff that will be well used as set dressing for immersive shows. Stuff with personality but no real worth. Suitcases and ceramic Queens and candelabras and tiles. There’s a filthy rocking horse that looks more like a donkey. If anyone fancies cleaning it I’ll drive it round for fuel as I can’t imagine it’ll be much use in any of the stories I’m planning on making. It needs a damn good scrub though. How does one wash a rocking horse? Manually, and painstakingly I fear. Anyway, It’s yours if you want it. It doesn’t have smoke damage. The major issue with much of this stuff is that it’s heavily smoke damaged. Carrying it makes your hands filthy almost immediately. There was a fire in the house it came out of before it went to storage. This is what was loosely saved.

The best thing about today was working with Jack. Had I been alone I’d have had an interesting but far less fulfilling day. Sharing discoveries with Jack, dreaming possibilities for things we found, making spot decisions on random items… All of that was fun in company. I enjoy doing things so much more when I do them with someone I get on with. I said to Jack as I was driving back home over Chelsea Bridge that I honestly have no idea why I’ve let myself stay single for more than a decade now. Life in company is both cheaper and more fun. That’s why I was a serial monogamist for years. Rather than this committed bachelor I seem to have landed in.

Next week will have to be about moving this stuff quickly out of my storage and finding the right home for it. It’s free from the dump. Now it’s time to repurpose things. And yes, if there’s anything with huge value maybe I’ll sell it to make budget and repay storage. I’m not here to lose money. But I’d sooner repurpose things as that’s the service I offered. So I’m going to make sure that as much as possible goes towards theatre.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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