Thursday 15th September
If I have one fault, (or one I am prepared to admit to) it is that I hate throwing things away. Not just those old photographs from long ago holidays, where you struggle to even recognise yourself in the photo, let alone the other people, but all my old things, my diaries, notebooks, old theatre programmes, postcards from exhibitions which I saw thirty years ago or more. Consequently I have trouble with storage, and now have two large and deep plastic containers with clip-tight lids in which I keep “my treasures” as Edward used to laughingly call them. I would have thought that writing the book would have helped to exorcise some of the ghosts from the past, but I find I am just as bound up in memories and reflections as I have ever been. Occasionally I decide to have a clear out, and with the best intentions in the world even sort things into two piles (the throw-out pile admittedly much smaller than the keep-it one), but at the end of the exercise the thought always comes to me, ‘Oh, I don’t know, what harm does it do, to retrace some of these old memories for a while longer.’ And so I just repack them and leave it for another day.
And in a way I am right; I am on my own now, I am not leaving this for anyone at all. It is just for me, and who knows when I am eighty, provided I live that long, I can still rifle through, and remember the holidays and the outings, the plays and exhibitions I went to. Because by then I will have precious little else I expect. Oh, I am not being maudlin’, as Grandma would call it, just realistic. I have had some good times, some very good times, but I expect them to be fewer and fewer as the years progress, and I don’t ever want to forget, so my little boxes of treasure will be my aide memoire, in years to come.
The other things I cannot bear to part with are my clothes and shoes. I see them all, neatly arranged in my wardrobe, the shoes all in pairs and lined up by colour, and though I know I probably won’t wear many of them again, I can’t quite bring myself to throw them away either. I have a friend Monica, who loves nothing better than de-cluttering, and is always encouraging me, and has even offered to come round and help. I daren’t let her in the house, I am sure I would have a nervous breakdown if she started to throw all my lovely things away. And would I have the strength to stop her.