I have been talking about decluttering the house for years. Every so often, I've filled bags and boxes to take to the charity shop but you would hardly notice; clutter just seems to multiply overnight. Well, this time I really, really mean it - it all has to go!
The trouble is that I keep on finding really interesting things: boxes of letters from my husband's days in the Merchant Navy, pictures my children painted and their first attempts at storywriting, my wedding dress and veil ..... each discovery takes an age to unpack and ponder over.
This was yesterday's find:
The recorder case to match my new school uniform as I prepared for the first term at the convent high school in 1957. And inside, still with its original waxed thread in place, my Schott's descant recorder.
It has a beautifully mellow sound, much more pleasant than the plastic recorders that schools use now. Of course I'll never play it again but it has a story of its own and it is so hard to throw out memories and it doesn't take up that much room .........
When I was 11 years old, going into the nearest town was quite an adventure and we never went to the city which seemed very far away. In fact it is less than 20 miles from our childhood home but that was a whole day out by bus or train then. My father was to take me to Liverpool by bus to buy my recorder from Crane's music store. We took a bus into town and waited in the town hall square for the Liverpool bus to arrive. Dad said we should sit upstairs to get a good view of the places we passed through.
As we entered the city, I was fascinated by the enormous buildings and I can remember turning to my father to ask him about one of them when he suddenly put his arms round me and told me to hold on tight. Then the world seemed to spin out of control as the bus toppled over onto its side. Fortunately, we didn't hit the ground or we might have suffered more than scratches and bruises. The bus had come to rest on top of a car and we were left at a strange angle. The passengers in the offside seats fared worse because they were thrown out of their seats, some of them through the windows.
I remember seeing people running out of their houses with jugs and bowls to collect the petrol that was pouring from the fuel tank of the bus. I was shocked to think they were stealing fuel while people were screaming but Dad said they were actually trying to prevent the tank from catching fire.
Then there was the excitement of fire engines, police cars and ambulances. My father assured everyone that he and I were all right so we were helped down the stairs and, after a quick check by the ambulance crew, we set off to walk to Hanover Street to the magnificent music store.
Crane's was an awesome place to a girl who had only seen a grand piano on the cinema screen. I imagine that I must have walked among the instruments there with my mouth and eyes open wide. I do remember that our request for a descant recorder was handled with as much courtesy and seriousness as if it had been for a baby grand or a double bass. Dad must have told the shop assistant about the accident we had been involved in, probably to explain our bloodied appearance, because we were treated to a tour of the premises, including the beautiful Neptune Theatre above the store.
I have forgotten what else we did that day, except that my father insisted that we should sit upstairs on the bus on the homeward journey. I didn't become an inspired recorder player but I have always had a great affection for my Schott's descant recorder, the cause of one of the most exciting days in my childhood.
Does it deserve a place in my decluttered house or shall I consign it to the dustbin? And does anyone believe that I really will have a decluttered house?