Ramblings, daft and humourous, dark and sad, but hopefully mostly happy
If someone gave you forty eight hours notice to leave your home with only two large cases of possessions, where would you start?
Would you be filled with panic at the realisation that up in the attic were those boxes of trinkets from your own university days which you’ve simply never had time to go through but which you dare not leave behind because in one of them is a gift from your first love and your heart will break if it doesn’t accompany you to your own grave because that’s what you’d always pictured you’d do with it? (In which case why has it spent the last twenty three years in a dark box? Oh yeah, coz you married someone else and have a life.)
Would you anguish over which set of crockery you might carefully place amongst the jumpers, because it belonged to great Aunt Lucy and you’d hate to think of it falling into just anybody’s hands, such as those of a house-clearer who might, if he was having a bad day, chuck it all higgledy piggledy in a cardboard box, then cart it off in a van like refugees being torn from their family homes?
And what exactly is in that cupboard at the bottom of the stairs, behind the vacuum cleaner, and all the out-of-season coats? That’s a job you’ve been wanting to attack for months, no years, but always found a reason not to start; need to peel those spuds, ought really to wash the windows – do people actually do that – sit amongst the tat and type that novel you’ve been thinking about for fifteen years.
The fact of the matter is this. There will come a time when we need to take a big deep breath, go armed with some bags (one for the charity shop, one for the bin-men or whatever they are called these days) and bite the bullet. The pleasure gained from Aunt Lucy when you took on her 58-piece dining service (which may in turn have been her own grandmother’s) just before she moved out of her bungalow to go into the home was evident on the day. She was delighted and so were you.
Even as you swooned over the rose leaf patterned gold-edged sauces that you knew you’d never use, there was an element of mutual appreciation, respect, love. (Or was it that she was just relieved that you’d relieved her of a mental guilt she’d been burdened with fifty years earlier when her grandmother handed down the family heirloom? No, no, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she genuinely wanted you to have and enjoy it.)
You served Christmas Day tea on it once fourteen years ago, and swore because it couldn’t go in the dishwasher, and cursed your six year old when he flew the supposedly indoor remote-control helicopter around the living room and it landed on a side plate which your father had balanced on the arm of the sofa. When it tinkled to the floor, landing in three pieces because it made contact the £2.99 Asda mug you’d left there, everyone went into over-drive. “Oh, God! So sorry! I’ve got some araldite somewhere, it’ll fix that. Here, let me get it ….” and as you scrabble to find the tiny triangle which competes the jigsaw, you realise Aunt Lucy’s gift no longer brings you pleasure.
For me, this is the key. If something no longer brings me pleasure, it has no place in my home. Or life. Simples. Matsu (I’ve never forgotten him). We don’t need to be surrounded by our past to be happy. In fact, I went one stage further than that. A few years ago I created a guide by which I was going to maintain my home and I named it the WULE RULE, which basically translates into the following:
If you don’t WEAR it, USE it, LIKE it or EAT it, then it goes. Before you panic again, think about that. All the clothes you never wear at the bottom of the drawer? Why keep them under some false sense of ‘I’m sure I’ll fit into that again one day,’ or ‘I might need a red T-shirt for a fancy dress party and I can make it into a Wonder Woman outfit.’ Tip all your drawers on your bed, treat them to new liners and spend an hour (one measly hour) picking up each item and be really ruthless. I bet you only put back 70%. The rest go into the charity bag.
Everything in the home should have a use. The whisk in the utensils pot you use quite regularly yes? Ok, that can stay. How about that bucket behind the vacuum cleaner – why are there two? Because one has a hole so won’t hold water and you keep it for dry matter? BIN IT!
If you don’t actively like Aunt Lucy’s dinner service and she passed away eight years ago, please don’t feel guilty about moving it on to someone else who may actually adore it. Or the antiques shop in that town you drove through last week. This is your life, a time for your stamp on the things around you. Don’t live through the items of people past. The photo above shows one tiny area in my otherwise cluttered home. It is a sideboard I bought about two years ago and I adore the clean wooden top and the soft green painted drawer fronts. Matsu, my Bonsai, sits there proud – and my longterm followers will recall why I bought him. On this sideboard I only allow my two candles, Matsu (who’s name was initially Gail, but quite right when Ortensia – very entertaining blog – suggested it be called the star of the novel), the heart my daughter bought me for Mothers Day and, oh, look there’s space for these flowers she thoughtfully sent us from London this week to mark Man of the Woods and my 24th wedding anniversary!
Oh, this wasn’t us – this was my dream after Daniel Craig swept me off my feet! (You can make jokes like that when you’ve been married as long as I have.)
All the food in the cupboards can stay. Pardon? There’s a tin of what in the back of the cupboard? Refried beans because you thought you were going to do fajitas, but never did? BIN IT!
I took two old heaters to the recycling centre yesterday amongst other things, a carful let’s be honest, and do I feel remorse or guilt? No, I feel lighter. Excited even, about the space it left behind.
So, be my guest and borrow the rule, shall we make a hashtag? You saw it here first, OK?! #wulerule
For some really sensible suggestions about Fengsui and how it can help the flow of energy through our homes, check out an expert, Mabel Kwong, here. I discovered her recently and enjoy reading about her knowledge on the subject.
Have a great Friday folks xx
This photo of me still takes my breath away.
Not because of me, but where I’m stood.
My heart still goes out to all those families affected.
God Bless America.
When you’re stood on top of the World Trade Centre, with no knowledge that in three years time it won’t be there…..
Thirteen years later, your daughter visits Ground Zero and listens to an emotive and powerful lecture during a geography school trip….
Loved this x
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This Indian summer, as some expert decided to call them at one time, is about to come to an end. I know, sad isn’t it? Dig out your beanie, your gloves and even your snow boots if you’re north of England or higher, from Friday!
At the weekend Man of the Woods, our son and I drove to where are daughter was staying with her BF. We had a delicious lunch in the cutest of cute English pubs which I failed to photograph (you just can’t get the bloggers these days 🙈).
However, opposite the pub was this old mill (check the roof), in which there is a multi-level antiques centre 👌🏼 with all sorts of goodies to explore.
This Tiffany lamp, for one. How I wish I’d bought that for my writing desk (you don’t have a writing desk) or what I hope will become my writing desk when the detris of six months of not-being-tidy is tidied.
How’s about this for a fairly sexist print from Imperial War Museum 😂 although as I stared at it, I decided she was a spy posing as a good time girl, fleecing those interested men out of more than the energy required to entertain her (how on earth is your mind wired?) 🤪.
On the very top of the mill, the apex space has been converted into a cafe and the views are incredible!
We only had space for an ice cream soda following the lunch but we simply had to experience sitting up there!
Our son, working out which way London was from his google maps. Only a few more days before he travels to Queenstown in New Zealand for five months 😱. I know!!!!
I’m preparing myself, worrying about whether we’ve got all the small stuff he’ll need for his hand luggage and what footwear he should pack and which pair to wear, as when you have size 13 feet, packing a pair of farm work boots is simply ridiculous. They’d need a case to themselves.
I stole an hour from my working day today on the beanbag in the living room, reading my kindle and enjoying the sun through the glass like a cat might. I’ve been so tired and the last two mornings, I’ve woken from disturbing dreams about his trip. MoW thinks it’s because I’m anxious about him going, yet I’m really excited for him and proud of him. I admit his absence from the house will result in a gaping hole and five months might stretch away from me appearing to be five years, but we all know how quickly time passes.
Look what happened yesterday.. a huge spike in visitors to my blog. Three posts including that fun Writers Tag one! Just goes to prove we need to be engaging with others to keep up the momentum 👌🏼
Hey guys, I’ve missed you!
I just woke up from a nightmare – seriously – in which I found myself on an Airbus A380 (that’s not the nightmare bit as sitting on one of those is a dream come true!) in the place of my son. It should have been him flying to Singapore, en route to New Zealand yet somehow I was taxi-ing away from the airport.
Luckily they listened to reason and let me off at the end of the runway. What a relief!
But that wasn’t what woke me – it was the panic that I’d missed saying goodbye to my son somehow. That ripping out your stomach lining panic that a moment has passed which you’ll never get back. It’s too late. That’s what meant I chose to get out of bed, come down and make tea and read my kindle.
But first I thought I’d see what y’all doin??
This is heart breaking.
This is the truth of how and why grief can come.
God bless you my friend
and thank you for your brave post
Grief is a funny thing, it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. You might think it is the big days – the anniversaries, Christmas, birthdays – that are the worst. That is not the case for me. I am expecting those, I can prepare myself, brace myself, the sadness comes, but I’m prepared and its manageable.
It’s the other days that are worse. The ones where it takes me by surprise and, because I’m unprepared, my defences are down and it takes me over completely. It can be an innocuous thing that starts it; something on the TV, a throwaway comment, a magazine article. A song on the radio. Sometimes there is no discernible reason. On those days, the grief can engulf me and render me completely immobile.
Today is one of those days. I feel completely bereft today. Worse than last Wednesday, when it was his…
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