<div style="text-align:left;"My morning started with me going downstairs to the kitchen and finishing off the tart I made last night. I picked up some good priced figs in Sainsbury's (where the cashierboy was amazed that someone could calculate the total price of their shopping without the aid of a calculator) and thought I would make a simple lemon and fig tart. Just slice the figs, arrange them on to the lemon cream mixture and then brush on a sweet glaze made with lemon juice and sugar. I remember making the first time I made this tart – it was my sister-in-law's 50th birthday party and I had naively agreed to cater for a party of 60 people. From my tiny, matchbox kitchen. It was frantic. I still talk about it today (she turned 60 last week), in that I-think-I-ought-to-have-therapy-for-that-experience way.
Then it was off to the house we are about to move into. Slaveboy needed help emptying what will be our bedroom and we have a friend coming over later today to pick up the cabinet unit from that room. The thing is, the cabinet unit is filled, to the brim (if it had one) with STUFF. That would have been quite ok to tackle if it weren’t for the fact that the room is filled with stuff too. And also the landing. And for that matter, the WHOLE house. There must be at least 4 generations’ worth of belongings packed away in dusty boxes and dreaded carrier bags. A chair was stacked upside down on top of the pile of linen and crushed boxes. I went through 5 black bin liners’ worth of old, dusty, smelly, mouldy curtains, obviously stored not with the intention of being left untouched for over 40 odd years.
Slaveboy was beginning to get quite wobbly with me as I was being quite ruthless and ploughing through the stuff without a moment’s hesitation. That I can understand. Afterall, there is a lot of emotional attachment to the stuff we were going through – letters written by his Nan to her husband after he died. Old, dusty photo albums containing his grandparents’ baby photos. We found Clarice Cliff’s plates and jugs in amongst complete utter tat, a couple of very valuable figurines which would have fetched good money if auctioned off, had it not been for the fact that they had been badly packed, completely forgotten about and then damaged when the boxes were moved from pillar to post. No one remembered the existence of these items, let alone remembered where they had been packed away to. So, I can’t help but wonder about the nation’s obsession of collecting things, as I sifted through boxes and boxes of stamps (some of which would have fetched good money), coins, postcards, and, wait for it, 21 nylon(!!!!) bed sheets (oh yes, even my fetishism hasn’t sunk that low to appreciate nylon). I come from a family that didn’t collect things. No family China, although my Mum was fond of Pyrex’s Autumn Blossom or something like that. We certainly didn’t squander collectibles away to be reserved for a rainy day or for future generations. And I’m not saying that one is better than the other as I am very pleased with the fine bone china jugs and plates I have received from my late mother-in-law’s collection but here is a family who are having to go through items that have been stored away for some reason or another – maybe for best, or for a grandchild or with the blind faith that one day, it would be worth a lot of money, and the sad reality is, as an outsider looking inside, the biggest thing that is hitting the remaining family members is that their elders just didn’t sort their shit out at all, for some reason or another.
So a carload to the tip later, Slaveboy has some floor space to work with. The wood glue has arrived for our kitchen worktops. The sash window is about to be reinstalled. We’ll just have to figure out how to deal with the rotting window sill. Oh, and the dog has yet to pee in the Belfast sink that is waiting to be plumbed in. It could be a lot worse, like bypassing breakfast and lunch completely and eating what Sainsbury’s labels as their Taste The Difference Chocolate Gateau.
Which I just did. Why I insist on eating packaged supermarket cack when there is a homemade fig & lemon tart in the fridge is beyond me.