Russell’s parents bought this house in 1928 and we moved here in 1986. The house had been emptied, but not the outbuildings and we’ve done nothing but add to the stuff in there. It was all manageable for a while, but I’ve realised recently that Russell had a bit of a problem. He’d always been a collector and something of a hoarder, but it went way out of hand some years ago and he went to great lengths to hide the extent from me. Three and a half years ago, I realised how much stuff he’d stacked in one room and I spent a good three months sorting the house out, much against his endeavours – I cleared each room systematically, putting things that didn’t yet have a home into one room, with the aim that it would end up being the final room to be cleared and cleaned, but he sneaked boxes of Stuff behind my back, first to my distress and then to my fury. I was working so hard and he did nothing but undermine me. “This room has been CLEARED AND CLEANED,” I’d say – “nothing is to be put in here unless it’s going to furnish it” – and yet, within days there would be a box of tat or a pile of pictures stacked against a wall. But I did it in the end and he agreed that it was much better, and we moved the dining table into the big room (that had been so full of boxes and other stuff that you could hardly get into the door) and we have loved having that room back in use, as those of you who have come to any of the last three blog parties will know.
So now, we have to do the same in the outbuildings. It’s not a job I’m landed with myself, because of my lovely family. Weeza and Phil have spent the last two Saturdays helping – well, I wasn’t here last weekend, so it was them with our dear friend J – and huge amounts of stuff have been sorted out and looked through. One pile is for the skip, another for the scrap metal man, a lot of things have been burnt (papers were not necessarily rubbish in the first place, but haven’t ever been sorted through, so were way out of date) and the rest has been put back, ready to be dealt with in due course.
I also looked in the big barn, for the first time in many years, and discovered that there was a whole extra car that Russell had never told me he’d bought. I’d not have minded, I’ve no idea why he didn’t tell me. I’m just not the controlling type, I have respect for other people’s point of view and don’t expect to impose mine.
I did find a few old corkscrews, which I like very much and will keep. We also found three bottles of brandy and several of champagne (though they may be ruined by now, I hold out little hope for them), which was cheering. There were two prints of an adorable photo of Russell on his first birthday, looking remarkably like our youngest grandson, Gus. I gave one to Weeza and sent the other with her for Ro. I hope we’ll find a third print for Al, but I can always get a copy.