The house clearance has reached the bookcases. I have known people who say they never get rid of any of their books and feel that disposing of them is somehow diminishing: perhaps we need to keep the physical object in order to retain the information therein. While seeing the attraction of this approach – and with a mix of motives, of which intellectual snobbery is undoubtedly and unattractively one – I assert that keeping all the books one has read is simply impossible. Continue reading
It is remarkable how much stuff we have accumulated. Things we have been given, things we have bought, things we have inherited, things we have made. Old stuff and new stuff. Some of it well-loved and well-used; much of it incidental, trivial, superfluous, redundant. The contents of this house need winnowing.
We plan to move in September, from a house we will have lived in for 14 years. Before we came here, married life had seen us living in six different rented dwellings. We moved round the country and averaged two years in each. This house was purchased because we – certainly I – felt a strong need to stop and settle.
My parents, by contrast, bought a house soon after they married and lived in it for the rest of their life together. Visiting as an adult, I slept in the room which had been my childhood bedroom, its changing wallpaper marking the decades. Even now, if I wake in the depths of the night with odd, sleep-laden disorientation, that’s the room which first comes to mind. It is the ur-bedroom, from which all others are merely derivatives. Continue reading
On Wednesday 9th March the Junior Doctors begin another strike. I will be joining them on a picket line. I have never demonstrated against anything in my life before and I have never gone on strike. So part of me is astonished by my own behaviour.
I must declare a personal interest: our daughter is part way through her medical training and will, we hope, become a Junior Doctor in a few years’ time. So part of my response is that of a mother tiger – I feel my child is threatened.
But that’s not the only reason. I have reached a tipping point.
Harry Potter is a significant theme in our house. The children were at the perfect age. We read the books together at bed time, conducted intensely excited night-time forays to buy the later volumes at midnight publication, and we relished the films. I am not ashamed to admit – although perhaps I ought to be – that our house contains Harry Potter crockery, glassware, cross-stitch sampler and quite a lot of Lego.
As is obvious from these blogs, I also have a life-long love of good theatre, formed largely at Stratford, and – to my great joy – this is now shared to some extent at least by my family.
This means that the death of lovely Alan Rickman gave us pause. Continue reading
Recently, I found myself with an enforced absence from home. Fantasy holiday made real. I suppose a wet weekend in January, constrained by practicalities such as budget and my desire to keep the dog with me, is not to everyone’s taste but it translates well into my scale of pleasure and excitement. Continue reading
My parents are both dead. I loved them both and they were good parents; I was lucky in my relationships. My mum, in particular, had an ability to accept mortality and this was a great gift to my brother and me, helping us when we faced bereavement. Indeed, when dad and, later, mum died, my feelings included not only acceptance but even relief, alongside loss and sadness, Continue reading