Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Boxes and blues

Ever since we moved up from London, we have had "stuff" in cardboard boxes hanging about us. First, we kept the boxes in our own house; then, desperate for space, we stored them in the empty cottage next door; when our builders started, we asked the farmer whether we could keep them in a large metal container in the barn behind us. The barn is due to be demolished and this weekend we opened up the container and emptied it. Straight into the bin for the most part - or the brazier, tip, or for recycling. I cannot believe we wrapped it, moved it and kept it all for so long.

One box though was worth the waiting. As I unwrapped the newspaper from the cut glass candlesticks, I thought: "Ah, home." A wooden bowl from a hot and dusty place and a blood red vase with a golden glass stag, fragile and at bay, once my grandmother's. A doll from my childhood, all smile and shiny blue trouser suit, the double of a songbird cousin. Photographs too: my husband, absurdly young, holding a glass of champagne and looking out into his future; my mother in hyacinth blue, more radiant than the bride I think, on my wedding day. Two small and rose strewn hearts capturing the exchange of rings, though not the congregation's laughter when the wedding band would not slide onto my finger. A picture of my eldest the day after he was born and in folding pine, my wrapped up boys fishing and laughing hard. Memories then and my precious and most sparkling things; no hallmarked value, no antiqued glory, important just to me. But I grew sad as I unwrapped my loot which had once sat on the mantelpiece of a black stone hearth against sunshine yellow walls in London. " I do not have a mantelpiece," I thought, "and now my walls are cream." Still, I polished them and scattered them about, sat back and thought: "My memories about me where they belong. Now, am I at home?"

10 comments:

wife in the north said...

I am away for half term. In London. Back next week. Will send postcard.
best

Kaycie said...

Those special things do make my house feel more like home. I hope yours do the same for you.

debio said...

I am still opening stored boxes, way down the line here...

Usually do it with daughter, rather than alone; every item telling some sort of story - mixed emotions, usually ending with a sigh and onwards and upwards.

Hope the new 'homes' for your items help to settle you too.

Enjoy London by the way - give a fond salute from me, if you would.

dollshouselin said...

let me know where home is after this week.....I'll cry with you.....You off to see Terracotta Warriors also.......

Frog in the Field said...

It's funny how we all do it, I think it's always lovely rummaging through forgotten stuff.
I recently paked away a box of special things and put them into my warehouse underneath some of my stock.
I decided I would savour it for when our new house is ready.

occasional northerner said...

We are also about to empty post builder boxes, straight into a skip - we've missed none of what is still in our garage.

Have a good time in London. We did half of half term there - Sound of Music (!); terracotta warriors etc etc. Proper tourists.

Potty Mummy said...

If you check this whilst you're away Wifey, don't forget to make the trip to Kew Gardens to visit the Henry Moore exhibition in the open air. Amazing.

Enjoy!

@themill said...

I think only you can answer that question....

Tina said...

Home is where your heart is, I think.

Winchester whisperer said...

I have carted boxes of memories behind me for the past 7 years. Whenever I move I manage to throw the contents of one or two out but I still have 15 boxes in the attic.