Since the day Andy and I moved into the cottage over four years ago, the front room has been a dumping ground for removal boxes. The boxes have shifted about a bit, more added and some of them even unpacked, though not until much later. Boxes, especially when sealed for some time, can be memory sinks and I avoided them for the first couple of years.
When Joe moved in last year, we tidied it up a bit, so that he had space for his computer and model collection. But last month we tackled it properly. First we went through the attic and sorted that out. We had a jolly good clear out.
Eight boxes of books and many boxes of odds and ends went to charity shops. My record collection, which I've had since I was sixteen, is sacrosanct and not going anywhere.
Although just to get it out of the way, it now lives under the stairs. All of the boxes were sorted through, and many things went in the attic to be dealt with another time.
Then the other week at the local auction, we picked up this battered old bureau for almost nothing. Nobody wanted it and I paid the ridiculous price of £11 for it. We had no idea where it would go, but we did save it from the skip.
Brian-next-door helped me get it home the next day, in his trailer.
And then it found its way into the newly tidy front room. You can actually see the nice little fireplace now and I have a work bench almost ready for action. (I have several old sewing machines and some old filing drawers to tidy up, but that's another story).
Like the rest of the cottage, the walls are still in the parlous state they were when Andy died, after we'd stripped them down ready for renovation. There's no money to do anything with them at the moment,and the electrics need doing anyway. So they have to stay 'interesting' and 'rustic'. But we don't mind. It's home.
If I'm not around much, it's not necessarily because there is anything wrong. I'm still in the process of rebuilding my life and healing from the carnage of the last few years; working out what happens next, especially with my career. Whether Joe and I are able to stay here is still very much moot point, but at least we finally have an almost respectable front room - even if it is a little scruffy and eccentric by ordinary standards.