Blogs

Hoarder of Merit

As a consequence of a loft clearout by yours truly, penning today’s blog was delayed somewhat. Despite this being a mucky task, I find it a cathartic experience cleaning the one part of the house that hasn’t got a lavender diffuser..

So this morning, after my marmite on toast and a strong cup of tea, I climbed the ladders I haven’t returned to my dad since I borrowed them in June, to commence the purging of loft clutter.

He hasn’t let me forget about the ladders, mind you, asking when I’d return them only last week.

Being a hoarder of items from a variety of memorable occasions sewn into my life tapestry, there was many pieces for my wife Karen and I to assess. Collected memorabilia included my first pay slip as a 16 year old (I got £123), an old pair of my granddad Jack’s gloves, paper cuttings from my junior cricket days, sporting keep sakes and my O Level history revision notes from 1979!

God only knows why the chuff I had conserved these revision notes for 37 years. I passed the exam, but I did all the other subjects and haven’t stored revision notes for those tests. It certainly wasn’t due to the aesthetic beauty of my writing at the time.

What I can’t understand is why I didn’t bin these journals on late 19th/early 20th century history on previous loft purges. I can only think last time I undertook this task, I thought that notes on the Poor Law, Gladstone, Disraeli and the fight for the right to vote would be required one day. Anyway, these study aids have now been finally consigned to my recycle bin, never to be seen again.

Similarly, I’m not really sure why I kept the leather gloves that were bequeathed to me on granddad Jack’s death in 1977. Unlike the history notes, though, I didn’t bin them. I did, though, try them on for size, having a real struggle getting the M&S medium sized hand warmers over my knuckles. For a fleeting moment, I got to know how OJ felt during his murder trial.

Also amongst the numerous boxes in the loft, I found medals for the cricket, football and snooker achievements that are oil painted onto my life canvas. Predominantly for cricket in my late teens, they were for team victories and a few individual achievements.

The snooker trophy was for being the beaten finalist of a works competition. A final I took part in when ‘three sheets to the wind’. When I broke to start the game and missed the frame of red balls, I knew it wasn’t going to go well, and it didn’t. But hey I won several games to get to the final, so there was nothing to be ashamed of.

Amongst the other stuff that had been in a various Strachan loft spaces in the last 40+ years, newspaper supplements of local papers in the 1970’s of Leeds United trophy wins, football programmes and cricket memorabilia saw the light of day. Not to mention experiencing the smell of lavender for the first time.

At the end of Karen and my journey through a cornucopia of memories, we were pleased to have successfully filled three bin bags of unwanted items. These will be despatched to the local tip during the week, along with the unrequired detritus of my garage, which includes dried out silicon tubes, grass seed from 2004 and bits of plastic from an unknown source.

The grass seed behaviour is intriguing as, in it’s impatience to be used, it appears to be sprouting shoots in it’s half full box. I best get rid before I have to get the lawn mower out.

It was a productive few hours, which resulted in the loft looking significantly tidier. Just as I was about to close the loft lid, Karen’s voice piped up from the foot of my dad’s ladder, asking:-

“Could you do me a favour and put this lavender diffuser in the loft before you close the lid, Gary?”

 

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