Back to the storage today. Still trying to get it empty. Hard work but will be worth every minute. My home is gradually filling with junk. Some will stay. Some will go to charity. Some will go for cash. Some will just go in the bin.
There are companies that help you pack up the things from your deceased relatives. They can store them for you as well. There’s one in Jersey like that. It’s a terrible scam. We found a huge cardboard box today, packed to the gills with paper, containing nothing but a lampshade and a shit one too. But the bigger they pack it, the more space it takes up in their unit, the more money they get to store it until everybody dies including you, so your nephew has it shipped over from Jersey and stuck into another unit and then during a pandemic he gradually deals with it decades after the deaths that put it in there in the first place. Thousands and thousands of pounds on nothing but forgetting. It’s all coming out by the end of next month one way or t’other. Thank Christ for that.
Meanwhile I’ve got a union jack pennant hanging on the back of my bedroom door. To my right there’s an old mirror and a cummerbund and a 1970’s Bang and Olufsen transistor radio. I just took the batteries out. Not as leaky as you’d imagine. There’s a box of books and a breadbin, four pairs of glasses and a little oil painting of London. A great big plastic tray for eating in bed, with Saxton’s map of Dorchester on it for some reason. There’s a brass disk that can tell you what day your birthday will fall on as far ahead as 2081. Cotton hankies. Driving gloves. A photo of some yachts. A portrait of a lady.
The internet can be incredible sometimes. I took a photo of the portrait and posted it on Identify my Vintage and Antique Items, which can be a scrum but frequently yields fruit. Within five minutes I knew it was Sarah Leighton painted by Arrigoni, and I even had a link to some preliminary sketches posted by her daughter on a message board. It can’t be original then… Grandpa clearly either knew her, or was a fan. It’s likely worthless, so I’m going to stick it up on my wall as it’s striking and why not have a few pictures of beautiful women on the wall. I never did that at school. Plus having it on the wall means IT’S OUT OF THE WAY! Hooray!
It’s kind of good that I’ve got time for this. I’d love to turn up a lost Picasso but I’m more likely to turn up a pickaxe. But I have to keep turning up, and turning out the locker. Max and I are getting through it. But still, after all these years – still it’s not easy to let go of these things. It’s archaeology. I’m learning about my grandparents through their books and their correspondence and their treasured items. Even the pincushions have history in the family – this could’ve been made by my great grandfather for my great great grandmother during WW1. Or it could’ve been bought in an antique shop. And I’ll never know.
Storage is an expensive means of deferring decisions about such things. The smaller things are easier to keep, but the huge tables? Wardrobes? Beds? Why were they even kept for so long? Deconstructed wicker headboarded beds, maybe worth a bob or two but not worth keeping unused for decades. My bed has no tall head but if it did it would block the window. It’s sadly time to see them off somehow. But in a way that’s not even sad. Bits of their story is coming back into ours. Grandpa’s crush is going up on my wall. Grandma’s owls are all looking at me from my bedroom shelves as I write. Some things will integrate with my things. Others will go back into the stuffpool for another human to hold onto for a bit. Until they die and off we go again.