Am I the only one who has geological drawers?
I don’t mean weighed down with rocks, maybe a chunk of gneiss, a spiky bit of rose quartz or a flaky slice of slate complete with fossil fern.
What I mean is the sort of drawer which has probably been full for several years, nay, decades and only the surface has been occasionally disturbed or perhaps not at all.
I haven’t compared notes with people about drawer maintenance so I have no idea whether this is something common to everyone or not.
It would be unthinkable for an upwardly mobile sort of cove who moves to a new continent, new country, new job every so often. Stuff really wouldn’t stand a chance of accumulating in a meaningful way.
Such people have got their school photos at home, their teenage photos stored with a friend in another country, their favourite books donated to friends in another part of the world completely.
You can probably guess that my mobility hasn’t been so much upward as upward for a bit, then went into “having a family” stasis before taking a leap sideways and then bunny-hopping into a rewarding but poory remunerated, dead-end job.
So, while having my Big Fat Sort-out of 2015, it was revealed that stuff has accumulated. Drawers which have been untouched for, yes, nearly a decade or (cough) more, have been explored.
Accumulations are one of the downsides of not moving house. It gathers until it might be described by some as a hoard – rather a harsh term, I feel, unless it describes a collection of bronze, silver or gold, in which case it’s quite exciting.
The astonishing thing is that these archives, as I like to call them, are laid down with perfect chronology.
One such drawer had leaflets and memorabilia from a holiday in Skiathos on top of it. That was nine years ago and they rendered it officially Full, so nothing further was stored there.
My bedside table drawer was similar, apart from being regularly disturbed around the edges with ephemera such as 14 pens, 2 Vick sniffers and escaped Olbas pastilles.
Delving beneath the surface was like peeling back layers of time. There were a few programmes from notable plays, performances, places…a leaflet from the Forest of Dean cycle trail when it was first opened (20 yrs ago at least) then a cycle race number or two from son #2’s racing days but even deeper was the good stuff I would never have remembered if I hadn’t squirrelled it away.
An embroidered bookmark made when son #1 was at primary school, some hand-drawn drinks mats, a local panto programme featuring son #2, a newspaper cutting when son #2 and a pal had their own late evening programme on community radio.
There were also some rather lovely greetings cards, complete with drawings. The earliest items were the junior school diaries the boys were made to write. The Glawster/Forest-a-Dean twang was revealed with the spellings “breakfarst” and “arfter” but it was the creative spelling of ‘Neighbours’ that really made me laugh.
So, after a bit of a tip-toe down memory lane, I was ready to start a moderate, carefully considered amount of chucking out.
Out went the magazine and newspaper cuttings featuring wonderful exercises never tried, make-up tips never performed, recommendations for perfume and miracle unguents never bought. The Duffer’s Guide to Racing went too. My betting days are over. I will never need to know how much a Monkey is compared to a String of Ponies but, naturally, I kept the irreplaceable charming, sentimental memory-inducing treasure.
I’ve caused massive disturbance to the geological strata of me drawers but I’ve retained the best bits. I had to. The Janh hoard is way more precious than the Staffordshire hoard – to me anyway.
A further diary entry plus illustration.