A great big box full of dusty Irish linen. Curtains, and four pelmets. I had to look up pelmets. They’re the things that go above the window.
I’ve got four windows without any curtains. Now I’ve got four reasonably attractive curtains that are not meaningless to me. Another project, methinks. I might try and convince Lou to help me out, as her specialist subject on Mastermind right now is curtains. She made 54 of them in the few weeks over Christmas. “Don’t put them in the washing machine,” she has already advised me, knowing my propensity to successfully trust precious things to my appliances in a sort of “kill or cure” arrangement. I’ll be careful…
Three big boxes full of old books. They just don’t have value at the moment, old books. Amazon has mostly killed it by offering postage discounts to paying vendors who can then sell their books for a penny and see about forty pence profit per book. To justify the monthly fee and to stand still they have to sell hundreds of books a month. So the internet is flooded with amateur second hand book dealers wedded to Bezos, buying and selling books from one another frantically as more and more of the world’s energy floods to this implacable man who seems to generally dislike other humans. You can get virtually any book in 48 hours if you don’t particularly mind about condition, and you’re happy to murder the bookshops.
Nevertheless the boxes have to be sorted and emptied somehow. Maybe we’ll donate them. We’re getting closer and closer to the bottom of the storage now, but time’s a ticking.
Suddenly, at the bottom of a book box: “For Alexander,” in my grandmother’s distinct hand. Her poems. Patriotic eulogies, nostalgic callbacks, jaunty doggerel. She was proud of her poems. She had reason to be. Her epitaph for Churchill got a response from his widow – (framed now of course), and she wrote a poem about Rotten Row that won her name on a bollard in Hyde Park – for as long as it lasts before erosion. She’s buried in Jersey so the bollard is the best way I have of directly communicating with her when I’m in London. Peggy MacDonald. Sometimes in September I’ll go pour some sherry on it and have a catch up.
Tonight I just put the poems back in the box. I might share some of them here in time. Her ghost would be pleased with me if I did. She was very proud of her poems.
I’m still searching for treasure. Scanning for things that mean something. Seeking out things that are lovely. It passes the time very effectively in these dead days. And the more I process the more efficient I get. Everything seems hard if you’ve never done it before. The first time you make a journey is often the longest. Sure I’d love to find the lost Rembrandt, but I’d still have to deal with the rest if I did.
If I’m clear of this lot by the end of January and my flat is rentable, then I’m ready for Chelsea Flower Show in May – ready to spring into a roaring Spring with a sexy flat with decent curtains and the right number of interesting antique items and working pipes. There’s a lot to do first but I’m really starting to enjoy myself doing this now. Onwards!