Strange Things on the Shelf

Twas the night before Glastonbury, and all through the house… people are gone.  The cat lies mournfully with an entire bedroom to herself and my phone is alive with stressed messages from family, friends and colleagues. They are all preparing to dance in the fields of excess, with crowds, heatstroke, mud fever, cocktails, and far too much fun. It’s quiet and sensible here. What to do with all that ‘not going to Glastonbury’ free time?  Step out and admire the flowers? No, better than that. Let’s clean the cupboard under the sink.

Dust if you Must

That’s the title of an irritating poem, which insists that cleaning is a terrible waste of life.  But I needed to find the Baby Bio and the cupboard was bulging. Stuffed with random poisons for weeds and fleas, sprays for toilets, windows, hobs, sinks, shoes and a waxy version for coats. All sprinkled with escaped slug pellets.

Loads of bad things in there, mainly soap, poison and vinegar. Years ago Google pointed out that vinegar can kill weeds and clean things at the same time, so I bought lots. Then I forgot I had it, saw the google thing again, and bought more. So there is vinegar in several cupboards round here. Only buy vinegar if you can remember to use it.

I found the  Baby Bio too soon, gave up on the cupboard and went to save a house plant.

Why do we have house plants?

Because they make everything beautiful and give off oxygen in enormous amounts so the more house plants you have the more wondrous the air in your home will be.  But not if they look like this.

Dead house plant

Apparently house plants are also a source of stress and misery because so many of them do shrivel up as soon as they arrive from the lovely house plant shop.  Not here though. It was time to spray, feed, and revive all the dead plants lurking on shelves.

But What else is on the Shelf? 

What is going on around here?  Suddenly I had grown new eyes in this quiet empty house and I was staring at a shelf as if it has just appeared. 

An empty shelf is the start of Parkinson’s law. It fills up because it is there. It begins with beautiful trinkets encouraging visitors to think ‘Oh what tasteful beauty these people have.’ Then it degenerates into a seedy second hand shop display.

Whisky Beakers

Made out of stag’s horns so they are not just any old beakers.

A gift from Scotland. They carry bad/nice memories of sinking delicious whisky at 2am and laughing too loudly with the Scottish friends and their evil whisky collection. Whisky is not allowed in this house ever again, and the interesting stones guard the beakers to make sure they stay on the shelf.

Toy vehicles 

1. because it was a present and you don’t throw presents out.

Old toy vans

2 and 3 because we found them when somebody moved out, so they had to go somewhere.

4 Because it came back from Russia and nobody here is going to Russia again any time soon, so we have no chance to get another one.

5 because of Thunderbirds and Thunderbirds are Good.

Amazing matchbox

Also from Russia.  How exotic is that?  How many people do you know who have Russian matches? 

These were bought on a school trip in 1974 and might still work. But we don’t use them because that would be like burning the memories of the school trip.

A Dalek and some Aloe Vera

You must have Aloe Vera in case you accidentally go crazy with the Russian matches and burn yourself.

Dalek on the shelf

The Dalek came when Boots produced bubble bath in in Dalek shaped containers for Christmas. We all have fond, terrified memories of Daleks and it feels a bit alive. So throwing it away would be a like throwing a puppy away.

Japanese Cups, DVDs and Flea Treatment

CD’s and DVD’s  A relic from the time this was an entire shelf of CD’s.  Now whittled down to the very special ones that cannot be thrown away. So why is there an empty Ex Machina box up there?

A box of Japanese Cups

The box of Japanese cups is empty, because they made good egg cups, but is a useful reminder that one of us went to Japan once and it adds a touch of Japanese elegance to the display. 

It is a shame they are next to the cat flea stuff, which can’t live under the sink because it would get lost, except that we don’t use it much for fear of killing all the rest of the insects on the planet.  The vet says use it once a month but he has other motives.

Horses and other Animals

My grandmother made these. Getting her to make one for you when you were ten, and really needed one, was like getting blood out of a stone.

Paper Mache animals

When she died a couple of years later I took the lot, even the half finished ones, and hung on to them for half a century. The monkey is a bit scary and you can read old newspaper clippings on the bull if you have time.

Enough of the Shelf. Time to get out and have Fun.

This is the Newtown Roots Band

Newtown Roots Band.

There are dozens of us and we practice like crazy every week. We play complicated folk tunes from around the world and not all of us can keep up with everything, but we try. Here we are setting up for a rare public performance at a fair.

And this is our audience, sheltering from the rain.

Audience in the rain

It is a bit like Glastonbury. Wherever you go, people look at their phones a lot.

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