Sunday, 20 February 2011

Thank You

Thank you to all of you for your lovely and supportive comments on my last post - I'm so sorry I haven't been able to get to say thank you individually to any of you, but I'm truly grateful.

Life is all a bit overwhelming still at the moment with so much to sort out, but I know one day I'll get there. We had a skip come yesterday at my mum's house and with the help of some very good friends we began to clear some rubbish outside, so many pairs of hands made so much progress and even though I'm an only child I am incredibly thankful for my mum's cousin, who goes to her house every day, and for all my friends who are there for me, when people are traipsing around ankle deep in mud getting soaked to help you you know they really care.

I'm trying to clear the inside of the house. It's very hard, most of the rooms look like this:

You can see some of the beams of the house - when I've cleared out I'll try and show you the rooms properly. Everything's all mixed up in each box, in each one could be a couple of old books, perhaps the odd piece of costume jewellery, or even the odd bit of silver, some family letters giving information about relatives, some pages of my mum's own notes about her life, usually a couple of financial documents, some pens, elastic bands, some junk mail, some mouse droppings, almost always an odd sock or two and a pair of old tights and lots of dust.

I am not joking. Especially, sadly, about the mouse droppings. A couple of dead pigeons had fallen down my old chimney a few years ago too and were lying there extremely dead, but I'll spare you any photos. It's not all that bad - some boxes are just junk mail and it's really satisfying to just recycle the whole lot! I felt quite ill at the end of yesterday though and must make myself wear a dust and mould mask I think, however hard they are to breathe in.

I've chosen to go through each one because I just don't want to take the risk of throwing away something precious - I'm particularly interested in finding out more about one of my great-grandmothers, I've found four postcards she wrote in 1906 at the bottom of a draw but don't want to miss anything else. I also found yesterday the letter from the BBC in 1957 offering my mum the job of reading the news, as well as my silver Blue Peter badge! So it's a bit painstaking, but I'm very efficient and can clear quite a few boxes each day.

I'm finding all my dad's clothes as well as all mine and my mum's - some of hers are from the 40s, 50s and 60s but sadly most seem wrecked, but I'll salvage anything I can, there are a few lovely dresses. So it's emotionally and physically draining, but I'm sure we're making slow progress and it's always really nice to find a family letter - I was never really that interested in family before but now with everyone gone it seems very important. Thankfully my grandmother was very good at writing people's names on the back of old photos so I've got good clues.

I may have to give up being thorough and just chuck stuff away quickly if it all gets too much, but there's such a lot of history in that house it seems a shame, documents and letters from the first world war time too which I'm sure someone will find very interesting even if I can't keep them all. One day I'll try and show you some of the nice discoveries, there are a few - I'm now wearing my grandmother's engagement ring - not valuable but really nice to have. So I'll take photos of prettier things next time now I've showed you the dust and mess!
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