Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

Excuse#11 Garage clearance

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This morning was glorious. As I walked hubby to the car there was a heavy grass frost, much birdsong, and a powder blue sky smudged with candyfloss. On my circular route down the high street and back to the boat there were two brace of pheasants hanging outside one of the local pubs where last week there had been only one. I’m not brave enough to go in and ask about this. Does the gamekeeper only deliver Wednesdays? Does the pub order in advance? What is the correct plural of brace?

I started the writing morning by reading. Two articles pulled from magazines proved to be useful research. The one pulled from last week’s newspaper was less so and has been twisted into a fire-starter. Checking through some paperwork last night I found some handwritten ideas that had been put away and forgotten. They got me started this morning and I’ve ended the day 4000-words up. I feel content that everything is going okay, and hope this doesn’t make me sound complacent.

Aside from the writing front, the past week has focused on trying to find a path from the back to the front door of my parents’ garage. Since buying the house 35 years ago, it has never housed a car. Instead it has been the repository for assorted junk, usually my dad’s. As a child I remember it had its walls lined with shelves stacked with the lights retrieved from dead cars and half empty oil containers that would be used for treating the garden fence. There was a board on the wall with every conceivable tool within easy reach. This was when my dad was young and enthusiastic.

When I was in my mid-teens, Dad took over an antiques business from a friend as a hobby. He enjoyed it while he was making money and sulked when he wasn’t. In the 80s the antiques business was still booming and almost everything sold. With the recession of the early 90s, sales slowed down and the business has never recovered. Dad, unfortunately, didn’t adjust to the downturn.

We tidied the garage in 2006: boxed up similar objects, stuck labels on the boxes, and lined everything around the walls. Dad had a workspace where he could carry our repairs. The garage floor was clear for all of about 1- months before new boxes appeared and cluttered up the space in the middle. By the end of 2008, no one, not even a small child, could walk from one end of the garage to the other.

Since Dad’s brain injury helpful friends have continued to ferry him around to the odd antiques fair to help with his rehabilitation. It’s nearly three years since his hypoxic brain injury. There will be no improvement. The effects of aging are all too evident and he seems to be going backwards – less engaged, less talkative, with fewer periods of his old self. He sells maybe two things a month at a fair.

Despite the professionals’ advice to treat him as normal, to include him in conversation and ask his opinion, there is no way he will ever sell all of the clutter he has in the garage and he has no capacity to see this. And so this week, while he is away on holiday, we have been to the tip with old kitchen work surfaces kept ‘ just in case they come in useful’. We have cleared carrier bags full of carrier bags – all now to be reused rather than stuffed into boxes. We have dumped screwed up scraps of bubblewrap – too small to wrap a thimble. We have sorted, reordered and have an appointment lined up with an auctioneer who will hopefully take the boxes of assorted treasures (incomplete chess sets, moth eaten fur tippets, ceramics of indeterminate age but mostly chipped or cracked, decanters missing their stoppers) and turn them into something more useful.

On his return, Dad is unlikely to notice the difference and Mum might actually have space to store her ironing board.

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Written by Sarah Ann

November 30, 2011 at 4:28 pm

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