Thursday, 4 February 2010

Beware: deep excavations in progress

Cupboard-clearing today. Just one cupboard, mind; it's such a soul-withering ordeal. I realised yesterday that I hadn't actually looked inside that cupboard for many months, and this made me think there would either be long-lost treasures inside, or horrors to unearth. The latter being most likely.

  • 2 spare duvets, double and single, despite no single bed in this house for years.
  • 1 ancient feather bolster (double-length pillow), waiting for a new cover to be made. As if.
  • 3 bags of Christmas tree lights. 
  • 2 strands of hideous artificial greenery with pine cones.
  • 1 box of old, pretty silver and pink glass baubles. 
  • 1 beautiful silk cloth to cover base of Christmas tree.  
  • 1 Kaffe Fassett tapestry square made by me about 30 years ago. Awaiting stretching and making up into cushion cover.
  • 2 fat feather cushion pads, waiting for covers to be made, as planned several years ago.
  • 1 small greenhouse heater. Greenhouse miles from any source of electricity.
  • 1 fan heater. Works, but makes blown air smell strange.
  • 2 pairs of short, dark red velvet curtains, beautifully lined, from my mother's house. Don't fit any window I know of.
  • 1 old white-on-white embroidered tea cosy cover; no padding.
  • Many, many coat hangers.
  • 1 hanging shoe store with sandals and flip-flops not worn in years.
  • 1 bamboo and split cane roll-up blind dating from the flat I lived in from 1977, with genuine 1970s dust still clinging to it.
This is not the complete list....I am ashamed but not surprised. There is now a freecycle pile, a charity shop pile, and a chuck-in-the-bin pile (viz. ancient bolster; those old feathers don't bear thinking about). Later edit: just realised that I could compost feathers....

But the roll-up blind has been successfully freecycled already, to someone who sounded so excited to have it that I felt moved to take its picture and send it to her, in case she thought it was something rather special. She still wanted it. Odd. Perhaps I should have told her about the vintage dust.

And most alarming of all, there was 1 purple beret.

A beret. I hate berets. Purple. Not a shade that suits everyone, including me. What was I doing with it? Think of a person you know who would be the least likely human in the world to wear a purple beret, and I would be that person's equivalent. I have no idea what possessed me, all those years ago, to buy such a thing - berets were almost the most hated item of school uniform, and had to be worn in chapel (except on Sundays when we wore bizarre veils) or outdoors (except on Sundays when we wore panama hats in summer, velour in winter, elastic straps cutting into our chins). 

I tried it on. I looked like a lumpy middle-aged woman pretending to be a lumpy schoolgirl, and one whose beret looked just as dreadful on her then as it did today. I almost warbled the first line of the school song "Sursum corda! Lift up your hearts!" but my heart failed within me, and sank instead. 

Like school berets, this one appears to be indestructible. It doesn't look like it was worn much, if ever, although I see a bit of cat hair on it - that cupboard did occasionally harbour a hiding cat. If either Scooter or Hamish had found it, that little tail thing on the top would have been bitten off at once, just as they do to their toy mice.

But in a box of oddments, there was this: a relic from the days when the Lovely Son, then very small, loved all things cartoonish. I'm keeping these two.



valct4joy said...

You are so brave revealing the contents of your cupboard. Mine hold layers of belongings dating, amongst others, back to the oldest daughter's Australian pre-emigration days and my husband is opposed on any grounds to throwing out and decluttering. Consequently it all has to be done whenever he's away on business.

Von said...

My Daughter adores berets and was most upset when her black one went missing.Hope you've kept the Kaffe Fassett it's the most valuable thing in there!!Brave person for tackling it, even braver for revealing all! Well done!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to my world...The Great Loft Flood [now sorted] means I have to clear the entire room, so I totally identify with what you're describing. Your title says it all.

Jan x

Kate on Clinton said...

When old projects are uncovered, do they get put on a to-do list, tossed, or put back in the closet? After looking at them for a day or so, mine always end up back in the closet, blanket chest or storage unit (this being a NYC apt).
My favorite pile of "out" stuff is the old sheets, towels, and blankets I'll bring to the local dog/cat shelter.

Rattling On said...

I recognise that cupboard...especially the curtains that don't fit, and a similar embroidered/unpadded/therefore useless tea cosy, oh and a beret, only lime green (my ears are not designed for beret-wearing).
Rejoice in the stuffed cupboards-nature abhors a vacuum.

rachel said...

The really tragic part is that there more cupboards/boxes/rooms just like that cupboard. Thank goodness for charity shops and freecycle. I'm still left with ancient projects to finish, though. Anyone want a purple beret, hardly used?

Fran Hill @ Being Miss said...

Our school had a blue beret like that with, wait for it, a gold tassle on the top. It was the sixth formers' lifetime goal to pull the tassels off our hats. I hated that beret with a vengeance.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Sorry , I'll decline the beret . Too redolent of Chapel and endless rosaries .
Clothes hangers , especially wire dry cleaners ones , clone themselves in cupboards . All we can do is cull them occasionally .
But the flipflops will come in handy in Devon ? And you're not tempted to make cushion covers out of the red velvet ?
See , I don't do throwing away very successfully .

Isabelle said...

Fortunately our house isn't that well provided with cupboards. We do have one very big one with lots of spare bedding in it, though. We used to need lots of spare bedding when we had three children with friends who frequently came for sleepovers. Now... sigh.

Linda said...

I would just love to have a cupboard big enough to keep all that stuff in the first place!

Dartford Warbler said...

I think I recognise that cupboard! My beret is in the bottom of one of mine. A bottle green thing which I loathed. Our berets came off as soon as we were on the top of the bus home, unless a prefect was around.....

Charlotte said...

I like the beret I think its cool x x

Karen said...

I think we all have that cupboard...and i hesitate to admit this, but...i'm someone who would wear a purple beret...

mountainear said...

School hats - yuck and double yuck. Ours was black velour and was thrown in the River Leam on the last day of term. I was aged 18 and can hardly believe I was still compliant enough to wear it. Youth of today don't know they're born etc.

You're very brave disclosing the contents of your cupboard - we'd call it a 'rammle-hoil'. Ours are builing up again after a major house move 6 years ago. That turned up some 'treasures' I can tell you.

BumbleVee said...

I'm betting somebody will snap up the red velvets too... for making Santa sounds like a crafters paradise.... I'm trying to think who I know in the U.K. that might be interested... hmm....

I'm thinking my own craft room has become piled so high and also has enough dust on things that I should clear out in there...I use it for a catch all instead of crafting ...which is a sin. In the winter there is not as much light in it as I like...even with all of them on and curtains wide open... and also... it is cooler in there than anywhere else. I prefer the kitchen table for puttering ... with muffins or bread baking right beside me...

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