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.