It’s amazing when you get down to it, what a lot of possessions most people in the developed world can lay claim to and chuck out. When you think of Dick Whittington setting out on his great adventure with his entire estate in a knotted hanky on a stick, which for the fourteenth century was a fairly average amount of worldly goods and six centuries later here we are avidly watching television programmes in which skip-bearing busybodies rescue perfectly ordinary folk from entombment by their chattels. What happened in the meantime? Was there a year in which most of us had exactly the right amount of lovely stuff? Was it in the seventies when I had a tank top and several pairs of trousers I didn’t really like at all? Was it the fifties when I loved the Dansette record player I was given but wasn’t keen on the job lot of records my father bought for me from Exchange and Mart so I had something to play on the record player. (You cannot dance to The battle Hymn of The Republic, no matter how large the choir singing it.)
Was it in the Eighties? Have you kept your shoulder pads? Did you perhaps use them to pad out your bra in the Noughties? If SuperMac was telling us we never had it so good in the Fifties, did we have it better in the Nineties and, if we could feed the world then, in theory, why haven’t we managed it properly yet?
I understand there is a permanently floating island of rubbish in the South Pacific that you can see from space. This is one great heap of rubbish. Do they watch out for it going past on the International Space Station, and what do they do with their rubbish? I hear from a reader that the rats on the rubbish pile on a European island are as big as dogs, and from astronauts that our planet is the one with the ring of space junk floating round it.
No wonder that there are religions which seek to dispossess us of everything except the clothes we stand up in and the begging bowl. Could I do that? Is it acceptable to hold out the bowl whilst moaning quietly ‘Gluten free and vegetarian, please, thankyousomuch.’ I have always wondered about such religions in the clothing department, where the garmentry is shared so that the general rule is first up best dressed. What if I at five foot two, get the robes of a much taller monk? Will tripping up all day help my soul as much as the draughty knees will assist him to Nirvana?
From all of this you can tell that I am continuing with the clearing out. I have chucked another three huge trugfulls of moulds since last we spoke. Yesterday I spent the day shredding all my accounts from 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. For a weedy little business that has never managed to make enough to pay tax, the paperwork generated has been impressive. I kept every last little receipt even the petty cash paperclips ones, all the empty postage stamp books and the bills for the paper bags I used at fairs. Every roll of sticky tape and every pin accounted for. In the garage the files occupied a whole small bookshelf, shredded, I have fitted it all into a huge bag that card sheets came in, for which I have the receipts, naturally. As the card sheets were only bought last year I will keep the receipts another nine years before I shred them. I am drowning in conscientiousness.
But I do have the garage floor to show for it. And I do now know what moulds I have. There’s an entire series, of British Comedy heroes 12th scale that I made the moulds for but never poured, and I couldn’t find Gwynneth Paltrow’s head, so I had to throw her body away, poor soul, though I kept her feet to use on someone else. I think I may be ready to offer my mould dolls as kits. I was able to chuck most of the first lot of twelfth scale ornament moulds too that I was so proud of when I first made them. Like everything else that got hurled they were evidence of moving on, hopefully to better things.
And that’s the great thing about chucking out the junk. It’s evidence of growth and for once not in the hips. For it you get space the station and floor the garage. So far I have done one side of the garage. I plan to rest a bit and then do side two which has now accumulated the shelves and furniture from the room of the S&H. Of course we still have the entire boarded out loft full to the rafters and the S&H and his OT have just signed the agreement to rent for a year a smaller house with two bedrooms. Could Generation Rent cure in one go the requirement to accumulate? And if so, would they mind clearing out the stuff in my loft first?
It is, however wondrous throwing stuff away. I know you will need it the minute it hits the skip. At the weekend I waited at the dump with another chucker while the dump lorry removed one skip full of hardcore and then with an articulated arm delivered and positioned an empty one in a manoeuvre so manly I’m amazed George Clooney wasn’t behind the wheel. I wonder if Amal has managed to get rid of all the black bedding yet? Has she removed the dimmer switches and installed proper lighting? Has she sent the girly mags to the charity shop? Anway, I and the other chucker waited and had first chuck into an empty skip. I did have a moment as the moulds hit bottom, they looked so lonely. And small.
But I shall make better ones. Just as soon as I’ve cleared the other side of the garage, the second bedroom wardrobe, the hall cupboard, the entire dining room (otherwise known as the factory floor) and the book overflow.
So that’s making moulds at Christmas, probably. New ones. I am moving on. If George wants to go to the shop and buy his old friends back, that’s up to him.