To being home in my own junk strewn home I am actually sitting in it. Won’t last but it’s a nice thought. I am so institutionalised I answer my own phone with my mother’s number.
House clearances. Emptying someone else’s house. Preparing a house for sale.
Doesn’t sound much does it? When it’s your own junk it’s not good but at least it’s your junk and you’re moving it. Other people keep piles of stuff that no one else on the planet can fathom, what’s that matter with them? Hmm?
Then there’s been the added complication of the lists. The lists have dogged my life for at least thirty years. At the previous house, when I visited when the S&H was an infant, at some point came the bit of the visit I dreaded. My mother would say to leave the baby/child/boy and come upstairs with her to see her latest clothes. It was to see no such thing but to follow her round as she pointed to furniture, ornaments and pictures on the wall and tell me who they had to go to in the event of her death. Then I had to recite the list back to her. I wasn’t allowed to write it down and the recipients changed every visit. It was to be ‘our secret’ and if I got it wrong she would come back and haunt me and only I would know.
It wasn’t until my father died that I found his lists. Dozens and dozens all written on accounting paper. I have been through them mostly and it does look as if he took inventory of everything he owned monthly. As the house has been cleared the lists have had some use in identifying which items should go to the charity shop and which to the auction room. As to who should receive all the things, there is a difficulty, initially because the recipients have changed monthly. One or two items are marked as having been given to people, for which I am grateful, it saved me the job.
Now when I have come to clear the house, for the purpose of selling it and the contents to keep my mother in the home which costs a very standard £850 a week, I have discovered labels.
Yes he had actually started sticking labels on the back of things to say who they were for. I have only found three labels, thank goodness. One was on the bishop’s chair. This huge chair has been part of our lives since my paternal grandmother died. It had belonged to her father and goodness knows who before him. There are vicars in the family, or as the label made clear not my family but my cousin’s family. The chair, which depicts the flight into Egypt, is composed of black wood, possibly bog oak. The back which is a huge slab of wood, is carved with the picture and, bizarrely, grapes. Then it was joined by joining to the arms and seat, neither of which are substantial enough to prevent the chair falling over backwards unless there is a wall nearby, very nearby……….. all right exactly behind the chair. So if you were wanting to sit in the middle of the room on the chair, the sitting could probably only occur if the verger were standing behind you facing away. And he would have to be fairly substantial and not inclined to wander off at all. Nevertheless I had become used to this chair and regarded it quite fondly. Then I moved it and found the label that said it was for Richard as it had belonged to his great grandfather. We emailed Richard a photo of the chair and after many days he had got round to accommodating it and said he would give it house room, largely I suspect to please my father who has been dead for four years.
Possessions are such a trap aren’t they?
Fortunately the only other directly labelled things I found were a pair of embroideries labelled for my cousin Rosemary.
She too might hate the bequest.
And I myself have earmarked things for others not included in the will. All of which ignores the day nearly a year ago when my mother’s great grand daughter was born and she asked for the will and put a line through each one mentioned saying ‘Hanger-on’, ‘Got enough already’ ‘Sponger of the first water’ and so on but left the amount designated for the S&H and me and the OH. Then she signed each one. Will the grabby relatives contest the will supposing there is anything left?
Solicitors have a saying: Where there’s a will there’s a relative.
I now propose a new law of inheritance. Everything should go to whoever can be bothered to clear out the house, right down to the underlay and leave it clean as a whistle. To do that you have to live away from your own home for at least seven weeks and be prepared to grind all your fingernails away to nothing. Yesterday I found the source of the smell in the kitchen. It was not the drains, we had pressure washed them. It was not the freezer I had emptied every week to food recycling for six weeks and then cleaned. It was not the dead mouse on top of the kitchen cupboard. It was a packet of raw meat that had missed the convenient slide out bin and inconveniently slid behind it, possibly years ago. It was so bad you could seed a couple of barren planets with it and have rich and varied life forms within a couple of years.
There you are, that’s the law. Clear a house – win a packet of dead meat. Fabulous.
So I am at home but not for long. I now have to do the thimble trick.
Last week the OH and the S&H boarded the rafters in the garage of the S&H which now has a loft. I have to get the stuff belonging to the S&H out of my loft down to his loft. I will then get the stuff in my mother’s garage out of it and transported to here where I will put it in my loft. Then the lorry will continue two towns away with the Bishop’s chair, this, which will have been on the lorry first will, of course, fall over as soon as everything else is taken out of the lorry. Then I have to get the stone lions, currently cemented in place, apart from the bits we removed with a chisel and lump hammer yesterday on to the crane lorry ready to go…………
Haven’t I told you about the lions?
Next time, if I have managed to swap the peas round all the thimbles and got back home again, I’ll tell you about the lions, about which every neighbour my parents ever had, has an opinion, including what should happen to them.
Don’t leave things to people, just don’t. Either leave them a pile of cash or your begging bowl and broom.
and more stuff
and some more stuff
Look what I found..
What is it?