Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Yesterday I did some more clutter clearing. I was working on the back porch, which is too small to fit any kind of table in (whether or not it is lovely and made from reclaimed wood). Even so, the place is a key battleground at Hepworth Towers in the fight between order and minimalism and the ever threatening tsunami of grubby items of mysterious usefulness (never mind beauty.)

If I went away for a year, I would not be able to get into the porch for stuff that should live in the shed.

In my view, the presence of the following items is acceptable:

  • the cat tray

  • a tidy rack of hiking boots, working boots and wellies

  • a hook with spare coats

  • the central heating boiler

  • an airing rack suspended from the ceiling

  • a compost bucket

  • a hat and glove basket

  • the cat’s bed on top of the boiler, which she has currently disdained in favour of the basket chair in the kitchen

  • the vegetable box

The following will be tolerated (with gritted teeth):

  • one bike which is apparently too important to live in the shed with mine, even though this bike leans up against the shoe rack obstructing access.

What I do not want to tolerate is a list of DIY stuff that is so long I am not going to bore you with it.

However, yesterday I found this item nestled on the windowsill between a spare inner tube and a bicycle pump:


My Gran’s toaster. This toaster is imbued with intensely happy memories of holidays at her house in Morecambe. After she died, my mother adopted it, which means that the grandchildren remember it on their Gran’s breakfast table.

Unfortunately, as well as a good clean up, the toaster needs a new element, which I don’t think is available. You can buy very similar toasters on eBay, but they would not be Gran’s.

Yesterday I sent out a family email asking if any of my four siblings or their children or associates would like the toaster, saying if I didn’t hear by Friday, I would throw it away. I held my breath, desperately hoping someone would want it, because I didn’t think I could actually throw it away when Friday came.

A trickle of emails arrived throughout the day, renouncing the toaster. (Oh ye of hard hearts – I have your number now.) Then late on, Isaac (my son who lives in San Francisco) said he would give it a home. Last thing at night, my younger brother said he would have it if no-one else stepped up.

I now have a new measure of family sentimentality (and I love you guys for it.) Also, there is a bit more space in the porch.

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