Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A mammoth task

A couple of months ago, we had a letter from a company who was offering to completely re-insulate any house for £99. No matter what size or age of property. £99. Something to do with government grants or whatever. So our house is 25 years old now and the insulation is about 3" deep and clearly does not meet latest environmental standards. Before throwing the letter away, I asked my resident Building Surveyor if this was a good deal. For a 4 bedroomed detached house apparently it was a very good deal, and we signed up. This was months ago and the only slight fly in the ointment was that we have to get the loft in a reasonably tidy state for them to work round. The deadline for them doing the work is approaching ...
Now, our loft is full. And I mean - full. I am a hoarder. A compulsive hoarder and an untidy one at that. Up in our loft is every project our children ever did at school, there are clothes up there, books, toys, you name it. The Building Surveyor tried hard to suppress his glee at the NEED to clear the loft. He's been moaning about it for ages. Well, years really and here was a golden opportunity handed to him on a plate to make me get up there and {gulp} throw things away. It's been a gradual process and one I can only do when in the right frame of mind but there is light at the end of the tunnel and the loft joists are no longer groaning under the weight of precious mementos/junk.
At the weekend, I ventured up there again. And found a box with things in that we'd put up there after my parents died and we had to clear their house. Here's an example of crafty things teachers got 9 years olds to do in the late 1960s.

I can so clearly remember making this picture. My most favourite part of it was making the beaded skirts and jewellery. I remember the fun of choosing coloured beads, and threading them on in a pattern and adding them to the felt figures. How many beads do you reckon our poor teacher had to pick up off the floor? I remember my mum having this picture on the telephone table in the hall and when I was on the phone in my teenage years, I used to play with the beaded threads which probably explains why some of them are a little loose and droopy now!

I also came across a bag of brass pots and plates, so I've put a couple of them in the photo too. My childhood was at a time when children were encouraged to spend as much time out of doors as possible. If it wasn't raining, then so long as you were wrapped up warm, there was no reason why you shouldn't be out riding your bike or playing in the garden. No Nintendo or Playstation games in those days! Polishing that brass was a weekly job and a messy one at that. I'm not sure where mum and dad got it all from, but it was proudly displayed in the sitting room. Oh my goodness, there's an expression from the past, the 'sitting room'! We had a room which was kept for visitors or special occasions, and that was the sitting room. All the other time we would use the dining room as our lounge for watching TV and eating etc. In the summer holidays, woe betide me if I said I was bored or didn't want to play outside. 'Oh well, you can help me clean the brass then' would be the sentence that would have me fighting to put on my sandals and running out the back door. I hated that job. But sitting and cleaning those two little pots this morning has brought back some happy memories and maybe tidying out that loft and finding more treasures won't be as bad as I thought.


humel said...

What a wonderful excuse for a trip down memory lane :-) I don't envy you the big job of clearing and sorting, but what fun to come across little finds like this! I hope you have many more such moments to lighten the task - and thank you for sharing those memories with us xx

Karen said...

Oh I just love the felt and bead picture - we could never get nine year olds to do that now. It's a priceless piece of art and I love your story. Unfortunately, I am at present in the middle of tidying the spare room - not a task I am relishing and have only stepped away from the mess to make lunch and a quick blog hop. Take care and have a lovely weekend xxx

jennifer said...

Great memories! I love the picture, I hope you're going to keep it on display somewhere!

We had our loft insulation done recently too - beware the fact you can't just chuck everything back up there again afterwards as it will have turned into a sea of yellow through which you can no longer see where the joists are! xx

scrappyjacky said...

This really brought back some memories....I remember making those sort of pictures....and having to clean a brass lamp that had been my grandfathers....then my mothers....now mine....and it doesn't often get cleaned nowadays!!!
So sad kids are stuck indoors so much now...we too spent all our time outdoors...and so long as we were back for tea no-one worried about us.

Cheri said...

Great memories Deb! While cleaning, sorting, and purging might not be the most exciting task, the joy of seeing your space cleaned up will be worth it! I love it when I can put out an extra bag of trash and take a bunch of stuff to good will - always makes me feel a little lighter! As for the kid's projects - take photos of them and create a mini-album about it. Then ditch the actual projects unless they are actually something you can use or display.

Deb said...

This might sound weird, Deb, but I'm almost envious of your task at hand. I know it must seem overwhelming, but I also know how freeing it will feel for you once you have gone through your loft (which I'm assuming is like an attic?). And to find these forgotten treasures that bring back comforting memories from the past? ~sigh~ Makes me want to hop on a plane and come over there and help you! ;o) Enjoy...and good luck!

Sian said...

What wonderful memories - you know exactly how to take us right back there with you.

I remember the threat of cleaning the brasses in our house too! There is definitely a layout in that. I hope you find some more treasure and find time for another story soon.

Maria Ontiveros said...

What an awesome, awesome post! I love storytelling posts (with pictures) and you really hit the nail on the head with this one.
Thanks for sharing,