The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Going the Way of All Flesh

Today is the completion day on Our Ma’s house sale.  I keep checking her bank account on-line to see if the money has arrived there or not, but I guess it will be the afternoon before it shows up.  I remember that when I bought my house in mid-Wales I had to ring the solicitor, half way over there in convoy with the furniture van, to check that the mortgage money had been transferred from the building society and that I could collect the house keys from the estate agents. 

The Husband seemed unmoved when we went to check that the house clearance was finished adequately on Tuesday.  He even said out loud “Goodbye and Good Riddance” which made me think that for years he has secretly regarded the house as a millstone around Our Ma’s neck that she couldn’t cope with, being too big, too unwieldy, and too invested with sentimental attachments.  Latterly, for fifteen years or more she always needed paid help with the garden and much of the housework, which was often not done as well as one might have liked to see it done, as the cleaner was only paid for two hours a week. 

I think this experience could be a warning to us all to downsize as ruthlessly as possible as one gets older.  Why have so much equity tied up in a house that is too large and cluttered with useless and worthless objects?  She could have managed easily in a one or two bedroom flat after her husband died in 1995, and had some considerable cash in the bank for more holidays or treats.  This is a sad thought, now everything she was hanging onto (along with what she perceived as being her independence and dignity) has been sold off, in the case of the bricks and mortar, or mostly discarded and thrown away, in the case of 90% of the contents.  We hope as much as this as possible will be used profitably by the recycling centre where it was delivered, but land fill will be the ultimate destination of quite a lot of it.

Crazy, isn't it, to pay for years for something to be dusted or vacuumed round only for it to be discarded and buried at the end?


  1. Sadly many older people (and some not so old) become very attached to their "things", probably because there are so many memories linked with them. In a way a life can be summed up in the things acquired and kept. What to hold onto and what to dispose of is always difficult - especially when married to a hoarder....

  2. Thankfully I am the only sister not married to a hoarder! If anything, I have been the one to acquire and treasure bits of things and hang onto them way past the point of their usefulness (although the sheds and the loft have rather a lot of The Husband's stuff in them, so perhaps he is as bad in a less visible way). We know that at some point within the next five years almost everything in Herts will have to go, though, beyond our best and most useful clothes and books and pots and pans, etc, as we already have a fully furnished and well equipped house in Wales to move into when we sell the Herts House.

    Of course one hopes to be able to hand things on to younger friends and rellies, but unless they are genuine antiques or valuable items one could sell, almost everything is surplus to requirement. Most people have got everything they want in the style they prefer and don't want to make room for old hand-me-downs.

    Latterly Our Ma had made the house effectively into a one-bedroomed flat as she virtually never went into the second and third bedrooms and found being outdoors too chilly even at the height of summer, so the garden was just something else to worry about caring for rather than to enjoy.

    If your DH had seen a three-bedroomed house cleared professionally and paid the £2,500 bill at the end of it you might have less of a hoarder on your hands, Perpetua!