Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I have just been through my second house move in two years and am unpacking things that have been sitting in boxes for quite a while. I remember that when I packed them up in the first place I got rid of tons of stuff, keeping only the things that really meant a lot to me. Now, as I unwrap the paper and discover the contents again, I do find myself wondering why I chose these things to keep. The tangible sense of belonging that I know I once felt has somehow rubbed off a lot of them. I look at them and the attachment has vanished. I don’t think there are many that I will actually dispose of yet, but a lot that I will wrap and box up again, ready for the mighty car boot sale to come. It’s quite a relief. No matter how hard I try I am still greatly overburdened with stuff, and at the time it all seems so redolent of importance and nostalgia that there is no way it can be disposed of. It’s nearly impossible to know which little thing has struck so deep into the psyche that its disappearance will be a cause for regret for years. So you keep them all.

Here’s a carving from Kenya, found in the back of a dusty shop. I think it’s supposed to be a hippopotamus, but it seems to have been carved by someone who usually carved elephants, and I do wonder if he had ever seen a hippo. Maybe it’s a baby hippo. Maybe it’s a child’s toy. But it is carved with such love that it cannot be for the tourist trade and I treasure it.

Here’s a silver nautilus shell. You fill it with hot water. It’s to warm your ice cream spoons. Those Victorians eh?

Here’s a big lump of flint that stops my papers from flying about. Actually it’s a Mesolithic handaxe from a little hill outside Petra in Jordan – which proves that early man enjoyed a good view and a nice breeze while he sat knapping.

And here’s a really pretty mug made by an American potter called John Glick. I love his deep dark vibrant colours.

Next time – all the kitchen stuff I can’t throw out but for which I have no room either!


Joanna said...

Oh the tyranny of stuff ... I think that's what's so appealing about a hotel room, the emptiness of it all. And yet, as you say, there's a powerful mix of nostalgia and - do you think it's fear? Whatever, we all need to do the giant car boot sale. Do you know about freecycle? The recycling group, local to you, where you offer stuff for free, and people come to get it. The great thing about freecycle is that it goes at a gentle pace, and you feel good about letting things go to nice individuals. Also you can acquire things you find you need, without going shopping. Bliss!

Good luck with it

June said...

Hi Joanna
Thank you so much for reminding me about freecycle...I had heard of them but had not yet followed up. There is indeed a group near me, although they don't seem very active at the moment. An excellent idea though!

vida said...

I don't think I could part with that beautiful shell!! Vida

helda said...

i love the piece of flint

lindy said...

All these objects are lovely. But I adore the elepontamus. You are so right that it is truly special and should never be sent away. In fact, it looks as if its heart would break if you did so. (Projecting much, I ask myself?)

I do feel you have hit on a very interesting phenomenon. It is entirely true that when you wrap things up, and put them away for awhile, it loosens the attachment. And this is a good divesting technique, I think.

However, it should be noted that it emphatically does not work, at least for me, with books. Rather, the long wrapped up boxes of books, when opened, seem to contain new gift books, more alluring then when packed.

June said...


I smiled about the elepontamus! And you are so right about books acquiring rather than losing mystique.

Apologies to everyone for bad blogging - been in Cornwall for a week and am only just getting used to the new house routine. Will try harder!

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