I mean, really. That teacher knew nothing.
If you’re part of a family of hoarders, like me, then when your parents move house after twenty years in the same place you suddenly find yourself surrounded by your past. Everything full of memories. The noise a toy makes. A phrase in a school book. Even the texture of a folder. You have to make instant decisions — chuck, jumble, storage, keep, take — on thousands of items, small and large. It’s hard work.
My brother and I have spent the last two weekends helping to clear out the loft. It’s family archaeology: layers, layers, layers, deeper into the past. What was fresh when you last saw it is now faded, dusty, the last resting place of flies and spiders.
Things I have learned:
- A Tardis is just a loft with a makeover. Emptying half the loft filled the entire ground floor with boxes.
- “I didn’t think we still had that,” a hundred times over.
- Sellotape is evil. Double-sided sellotape, which we used to kill for at Junior School, is the very devil incarnate. It stains, it degrades, it ruins that bad tracing of Charles I you did in 1979 to please Mrs L Rayner (“don’t forget the L!”).
- There was once a time when I misspelled words. It was a very long time ago.
- At college, I once wrote wearily at the start of a lecture: “And now we return to the land of make believe, and the man with the white hair and the tranquilisers”. I remember that lecturer, but nothing of the course.
- Some of the things I kept in case they might one day be worth something are still worth keeping. Honest!
- It’s time to throw away most of your computer magazine collection when:
- Your parents move to a smaller house.
- There is no conceivable way you could fit any more magazines in the cupboard.
- The only things holding up shelves of magazines are the magazines on the shelves below.
- Magazines and comics I thought I’d thrown away ten years ago are still in the garage.
- I remember things that happened thirty years ago. I have thirty-year-old possessions.
- I’ve always liked standing with my hands behind my back.
- I need to “be more vocal during lessons.”