Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Great Day In.

Greatly inspired by these suggestions for an eccentric day out, I turn my attentions to having a great day in, especially as it's wet and windy out there.
My house can offer a variety of attractions for all the family, or even just for me on my own.

The World of Marbles: marbles featured heavily in my younger son's collecting habits. There are two large and heavy tins full of them sitting upstairs. They have been used as decorative items, but before his daughter's next visit they must be hidden away. She's very mobile and will have a go at eating most things.
As I put them into the tins I realise how attractive they are, and how many different sizes they come in. There are technical names, such as steelies for the heavy metal ones (so well able to break a window), and other special names once known to me, but now lost in the mists of time. The sizes range from small to whopping, or even ginormous.
Some are in clear glass in lovely colours, some have coloured glass spirals inside. There are some that are irridescent, and others with bubbles and clouded patterns.
I think maybe it would be nice to classify them, by colour or size, which would involve making separate bags for them, which, in turn would involve a trip to The Lost World of the Attic. I could play all day.....
Then I realise that there is already a specialist marble outlet and it's here.

Lost is a great start to a title. If Heligan was just Heligan instead of The Lost Gardens of Heligan it would be considerably less romantic.
The Lost World of the Attic: is a potentially risky place, approached by means of a ladder. I once was stuck up there when the ladder fell down behind me, and my husband was out for the day. The ladder is now chained to the wall, but there is still a frisson of anxiety as I head up into the heights..
Up there is a world of memories and muddle, a great collection of the sort of toys they don't make any more ( or if they do they cost a fortune). Things made from wood like the rocking horse that belonged to my grandfather, and the sturdy Brio railway ( happily still in production). Things that don't need batteries, and that don't bleep and jingle and flash.
There are some unique clothes from Saudi Arabia, from the time I lived and worked there. There are slave-girls' anklets and bracelets and beads that were made in the middle of the desert. Grand-daughter may need them for dressing-up in years to come.
There is bedding. Oh, so many duvets and pillows which have been to university and back again, but may still be needed if and when there is a great gathering here.
There are computers and boxes and boxes of things to go with them. I am banned from disposing of these. 
They are not mine to dispose of.
There are also keyboards.
The Pareto principle still operates here.
Believe it or not I have been sorting up here for several years now, and never fail to find something else of interest, something that evokes strong memories. Moreover, I have a great view into the neighbourhood gardens.

The Magic Wardrobe: is in my bedroom. I have three wardrobes in there and two of them are fairly well-organised. The third is full of things to be sorted, not the important paper-work, but the letters and cards and things the children made, and things my husband and I gave each other. Things that are still important although it sometimes seems a life-time ago and sometimes feels like only yesterday.How can I discard things like that?
It is possible to be quite lost in here, and to lose track of time, and I fully understand why C.S.Lewis chose a wardrobe as the starting point for one of his most magical books.
C.S. Lewis was a close friend of my elder son's Godfather, who is the author of Jack - the biography of C.S.Lewis. See what memories are triggered?

The kitchen is not without its possibilities for adventure and exploration. There is The Drawer, something every kitchen should have.
The Drawer: is the place where you put things that have no other appropriate place. Occasionally, on a wet and windy day like today, I empty it out in a determined effort to establish some sort of order. There are lots and lots of special tools, all of which will be really useful one day.
There is a pair of wide-pronged forks for lifting cooked poultry out of the roasting tin (why didn't I remember when I was trying to lift the Christmas turnkey with a plastic spatula?), and a special brush for cleaning mushrooms before peeling them. Somewhere there is bound to be a special gadget for peeling mushrooms. There is a little tool for pulling the green bit out of strawberries, and there's a truly impressively engineered fork for getting pickled onions out of the jar. I don't have, have never had any pickled onions, but it's a really nice fork. 
I find a very useful thing for loosening the lids of jars. In fact I find three of them, all for the same purpose, all different, and so I keep them because I don't know which is the best. There are several tin-openers all different, which again I need to keep for the same reason. There is a really antique tin opener, with a cast-iron head of a bull and a sharp and rusty blade.
It is a collectors' piece.
I am a collector.


Zhoen said...

Rummaging through an interesting attic on a wet and windy day sounds absolutely wonderful.

Relatively Retiring said...

Zhoen: I'm working on the admission charges!

marigold jam said...

Loved it! You write so well and it triggered so many memories for me. Having moved house so often I don't have 80% of stuff or even 20% to decide which is mine and which somebody else's but there is another Principle at work here which is: as fast as a space is cleared Husband will find something with which to fill it - he lived in the same house for all his young life so I am guessing it is something to do with that! There is another Law too I think which states that "starting to clear out the loft or any other space is an endless task as something will take your interest and bang goes the job in hand"!!

Relatively Retiring said...

Marigold: thank you for the kind comment, and yes, if you have space you will fill it. I saw a Romany caravan for sale on the roadside the other day (plus horse?) and was almost tempted!

Jee said...

We haven't had an attic in the last three places we've lived but we've cupboards that collect 'things' at an alarming rate. I'm about due to start my annual sort out but a lot of it isn't mine to dispose of so is likely to remain . When we did have attic space I used to lie in bed and try not to think about how much stuff was above my head! The only benefit to a fair amount of house moves is the clear out it instigates - though I have often wished back things that gone when circumstances change.

Jenny Woolf said...

Made me think about clearing out, which I have been doing this weekend - what fun it is to throw things away when you really don't want them. And marbles... oh, I have always loved them. Although I sure don't need more stuff, I did buy some particularly beautiful vintage ones recently and have been gloating over them ever since.

Elephant's Child said...

The UK has made an artform out of eccentricity - but your day in would have warmed the cockles of my heart. Thank you.

mm said...

I do like marbles. :-)

Relatively Retiring said...

Jee: I'm glad we had a suspended floor installed when we made the attic room.
Jenny and mm: have a look at the designer marbles in the Marble Shop via the link. And, Jenny, they also supply stands for display.
E.C.: I try to remember to take a phone when I go into the attic, after the time I was stuck up there for several hours. Eccentricity can go too far!

pohanginapete said...

C.S. Lewis said we read to know we're not alone. I think it's also true to say we write to know we're not alone, but whichever version you prefer, I'm glad (and grateful) you wrote this.

I'm torn between delighting in the possibility of places like The Lost World of the Attic and my aversion to owning stuff. The obvious solution, of course, is to enjoy other people's Lost World's ;^)

Relatively Retiring said...

P.Pete: thank you for your thoughtful comment.
It's sad that you missed meeting H's Godfather. I know there could have been some great conversations.
There is another dimension to the problem of The Lost World of the Attic, and it involves getting other people to come and remove their Stuff!

Joy said...

Wonderful. Just wonderful. It's a joy to read your thoughts. I too find so much to do inside, in fact, there are not enough hours in a day for me to do all the things I want/should/can do. Never bored at home. I also have things the children made, letters, cards, but I'd better be careful going through them or I'll be needing a lot of tissues...