Our loft is a mess. We keep things ‘just in case’. We store old toys, thousands of books, a hanging rail full of coats we have forgotten about and all the boxes stuff comes in, just in case they break and we need to take them back. About nine suitcases, one with one broken wheel (brand new when it left to go to America a few years ago), sit side by side with old shop accounts (seven years old, so they can go – hooray! ) and an ancient Father Christmas outfit, never worn.
Tomorrow, we have some men coming to insulate our loft because it doesn’t have enough insulation. We don’t meet the recognised standards. It could be argued that since we have the contents of a small furniture warehouse and several wardrobes up there, our insulation is better than most, but we don’t conform. Nothing new there then. Conforming is not my strong suit. I’m not noticeably a rebel – far too vague for that.
However, my husband has decided that we will be better off if we are better insulated, so we are clearing out the loft. We have only lived here for about five years, but the accumulation of detritus has to be seen to be believed. I considered taking a photo and putting it on here, but decided against. It’s too awful to contemplate. Anybody want a prehistoric Sky box? Or a telephone that you have to screw to the wall. Yes, we really do have each of these. And about a hundred box files (empty), old photographs (Oh, look, do you remember….), an autograph book belonging to my sister, dating from school days and several of my (non)masterpieces of art. I’m sure posterity can do without those.
We moved from a three-storey Victorian money-pit where we lived for years. The whole house resembled the loft here and the attic was chock-full as well. Don’t ask me why we collect such a lot of rubbish, because I have not the slightest idea. Furniture had to be sold, dumped or given away. Anything which was not suitable for sale but was too good for the dump we left on the drive with a big notice ‘Free to good home’. Since we lived on a fairly busy road, plenty of people passed by. Peeping out of the windows, seeing them skid to a halt and emerge from their vehicles was quite funny. Their furtive looks showed disbelief. Opening up the boot of the car and stuffing in a chest of drawers was done hurriedly, as if it were a joke and a hand might be clapped on a shoulder any second.
One ancient dressing table had a huge mirror, which meant to get it down two flights of stairs the mirror had to be taken off. John unscrewed it, we carted it down to the drive, where he screwed the mirror back on again. Dumping a small desk out there a few minutes later, a man drew up and asked if the dressing table was really free. It was, but to get it into the car, the mirror had to come off again. John obliged and the guy drove off with the comment ‘I’ll be back for that desk. It’s my daughter’s birthday tomorrow and she’d love that.’
Most of the stuff we’re removing from the loft today will go straight to the local Household Recycling Centre. I do love the idea of recycling, love the fact that some of what we are throwing out as rubbish may be treasure to someone else. And John will have to be very strict or I may see something there that looks as though it might be useful for us. It’s only a couple of months since I rescued a Lloyd Loom chair from a skip….