It’s been a bit of a mixed bag the last week or so.
Being on the Easter holidays, and so having real time to do more with Tiddler. We have hunted eggs, played in the garden, went on a horse tram, had picnics on the beach, done all manner of crafty creativeness. I said to Digger “ah, this will be what it is like when I don’t have to work any more”. Pavlov might have his dogs salivating at the ring of a bell, but switching off our usual timetable for the last two weeks makes me consider again how our ‘normal’ lives show a similar, if less physiological, reaction. It is now this time, so we must do this. Here is my day, these are the planned and expected activities to take place, in this particular sequence. How freeing it has been to be outside the loop temporarily. I have relished being my own glitch in my matrix.
We managed to get everything down from the loft and sorted through. I discovered old love notes, Tiddler’s baby clothes, memories from my student days. We know we cannot store or take everything with us. I have thrown things away. I have put things to one side to look through later. I’ve donated seemingly random possessions to local groups- cushions inners to a charitable craft project, books to a community library, old bed linen and duvets to the school textiles department. We took a load of junk to a car boot sale and came back with over £100 in our pockets.
Digger managed one day off over the whole fortnight. Weather is good, so making plenty of hay while the sun shines, and while the work is to be had in the last few months before we go. He has come to an arrangement with some acquaintances of his who are working without pay for him at the moment. In return, when we leave he will give them his customer list and facilitate the ‘transfer of goodwill’. He calculates their wages in lieu will be a quarter of what he hoped to raise. It is better than nothing, but not the lump sum we were hoping for. It makes me consider how unwilling we as a society are to put a financial value to something that is not a physical, material object. People will happily stump up the cash for something they can possess in a tangible form, but will, as happened in some cases, laugh in the face of a suggestion that introductions, loyalty and hard work are worth anything at all.
However, packing away after the car boot sale, I joked with Digger as he had told me not to bring Tiddler’s shoes. With little wear and tear, and a good named brand, I thought we might get a little something back if we could sell them given that they retail new for £32, though he insisted no-one would want them.
“How much did you get for them?” I asked. Digger flatly denied selling the shoes.
“Well I didn’t sell them, so it must have been you”.
Seems that Digger was not being particularly obtuse, but two pairs of Tiddlers shoes and a pair of wellies ‘walked’ off without payment. Those are the items I recall, but perhaps other things were stolen too in the hustle and bustle of the day. It filled me with an unexpected sadness. I’m not denying that I had made the decision to sell what might otherwise have been ‘sentimental’ items because we have to downsize our possessions, but now I felt tricked. I felt Tiddler’s personal space had been tarnished in some way, by someone else’s selfishness. I hope I am wrong, and they were taken due to real need, but it has shook my faith a little. It makes me consider too the wider implications of our forthcoming venture. We are lulled into a sense of security here, my home for ten years, as we are relatively safe, low crime rates, good community involvement. The standard gently mocking phrase about the locals here is that nobody bothers to lock their front doors, and will happily leave their keys in the ignition while they pop to the post office. I’ve never been that laissez faire, but we implicitly assume our personal safety. I need to not be the country bumpkin on tour, but yet I cannot fear the wider world for myself, or Digger, or particularly Tiddler, or this adventure will be over before it has begun.