Today I went to the Historical House with my trusty backpack and a lot of boxes. Ugh!
It almost astonishes me that I now dislike so much a place I loved so much. But in the wake of the flood, our exile, the moth infestation, and our ultimate eviction, I really hate going up the stairs to the Historical Attic, smelling the curiously sour air, looking at the dusty wreckage of our former home and shuddering as I squash yet another brown insect between my fingers.
Our life as we knew it ended when the overhead pipe in the bathroom blew up. Naturally B.A.'s brain tumour and subsequent illnesses had already blighted our social lives, but the Deluge put a definitive end to all our jolly dinner parties, Sunday Lunches, and hopes that we'd be entertaining friends at the Historical House for many years to come.
Now, of course, I look forward to picking up the threads of our relationships and welcoming our friends to our new home. It's smaller and has no romantic antecedents--indeed, the neighbourhood has fallen on good times since it was first built for the proletariate--but the ceilings are higher and the garden is our very own. But I am desperate to keep all the junk and useless belongings that proliferated in the Historical Attic out of the new space.
Two of the worst chores in the old place were vacuuming and dusting. Both were absolutely necessary to keep the moths at bay, but unfortunately we own a lot of little tables and chairs and ornate little bookcases and other hard-to-dust objects. Eventually I discovered that the only effective way to hoover the sitting-room was to take everything except the sofa and a bookcase out of it, vacuum and then heave all the furniture back in.
This is one reason why I am not at all looking forward to transferring the old furniture here, and I am praying that the used furniture dealer we called will take most of it away.
But, oddly, my greatest dread is that all the books will end up lining the new place. It DOES astonish me that I could hate books--before I married I kept all my books in perfect order and afterwards I lobbied my parents to send them over the sea---but now I just think of how rarely we seem pick them up. Of course, we must have picked them up sometimes--at least twice a year I would have to give the library a thorough reordering--but we do most of our reading on the internet, and most of the books I read now come from public libraries. Most of our old books, therefore, are simply redundant--as well as dust traps and hiding places for insects.
And so going up to the Attic and looking at all the things we still have to pack and somehow cart to the new flat seriously depresses me. Naturally I am terrified of the moths tagging along, too.
After all my good intentions, when I loaded up my knapsack it was with one shoebox of wine glasses, my winter church dress, a cookbook, the photocopy of my 2017 tax return, and two cardigans. But I also carried away an occasional table. My fingers are crossed that we will keep only the nesting three. If the rickety leather-top table falls apart one more time when I move it to vacuum, I will kick it to pieces.
Here are some soothing minimalist and Japanese interiors to calm us all down.