“You can start with those boxes. None of them are heavy. Apart from the one with HEAVY written on it.”
I’m out of town. It’s late morning. In the driveway of this beautiful home is my rented Luton van, still cooling down from a long journey, loaded up already with dead insects from Braintree.
I go to pick up a box. In front of my nose, easy to shift, is a shelf full of ceramics. Small pieces, mostly. My eye goes immediately to a saucer in a similar handdrawn design as some very early Chinese porcelain that passed through my hands a while back. “That’s old,” I observe and I track down the line with my eyes and yep there’s some really really old stuff there. Is that Ming? Yep I think it is. I think I can spot a replica. Oh fuck. I shiver a little and handle the box I’m picking up more carefully. “No banging THIS shelving unit,” I think to myself, and turn round. My eyes are switched on now. Idols. Gorgeous statuaries. A collection of weapons and head dresses that would make the Wellcome Trust replace their whole website with an apology for at least a week and cause all their tour guides to become shivering nervous wrecks. Beautiful ancient things cross culturally collected from hither and yon and all likely to be going to various museums now, or shortly, to sadly sit in furious basements for a generation or two. Such beauty and history in private hands. The only true horror would be if someone got the builders in and all that heritage ended up in a skip, as has happened over and over and over again the world around, taking chunk after chunk from preserved histories and understanding of ancient religions and cultures. Better for it to be apologetically mothballed until we are all a bit more evolved at making sense of the damage of history regarding culture, and enough generations have passed that we don’t strongly identify as having been on any particular side of the cultural disgraces of history.
There art there too! Surely that can’t be an original Dali sketch? Is that Degas? STOP LOOKING AT THE SIGNATURES. Be respectful. This is a home.
I love old things. You know that. If I could I would live in my own stately home where everything was beautifully laid out, the heating was always on full and the doors wide open and people were trusted to come and go as they please, making parts of it their home and parts of it their workshop or performance space or whatever and life and possibility and artistry and hopefully plant and animal husbandry and response to nature and headspace and sanity. I loved that old couple for the fact I was part of a team collecting things to go to a public sector museum. They are trying, where so few try. This incredible stuff won’t be wasted.
We load the van. It’s hard work and there’ll be another trip. I drive it all back to London and we haul it all into quarantine. “Where shall I put his box?” “Anywhere but on top of the legs.” The only other thing in quarantine at the moment is a collection of Victorian race horse legs just … bagged up and awaiting sorting. Like you do. Granddad’s horseleg collection? Oh yeah we donated it.
Flooded with weird I drop the van off and go home. I put the heating on. Tom is on the sofa, Lou is in my bed. Too many people to be freezing our asses off. So far about £25 and I’m ok with it. Warmth.
I’ve just tried to absorb my day jobbery for tomorrow. It looks like a headfuck, but it’s well paid. Oh the schizophrenia. It’s ten past eleven. I had steak pie. Lou put it in the oven when I dropped off the van so it was READY when I got home. In my stately home there would always be food ready in the aga for all the residents.
I’m going to bed in my stately flat so Tom can get his head down and I don’t feel muzzy tomorrow teaching this ill-thought through adjustment to something that was working perfectly well without being adjusted. Yep it’s those people in offices again!!
Night night. Fuck I have to remember to take photos from time to time when I’m not with Lou. I either thought it was an imposition or I was too tired.